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Sample records for ant pogonomyrmex badius

  1. 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

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

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2015-01-01

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

  3. Nest Relocation and Excavation in the Florida Harvester Ant, Pogonomyrmex badius

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2014-01-01

    The Florida harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex badius) excavates deep nests in the sandy soils of the Gulf and Atlantic coastal plains. Nest relocations of over 400 colonies in a north Florida coastal plains pine forest were tracked and mapped from 2010 to 2013. Individual colonies varied from one move in two years to four times a year, averaging about one per year. Almost all moves occurred between May and November peaking in July when more than 1% of the colonies moved per day. Move directions were random, and averaged 4 m, with few moves exceeding 10 m. Distance moved was not related to colony size. Over multiple moves, paths were random walks around the original nest location. Relocation is probably intrinsic to the life history of this species, and the causes of relocation remain obscure— the architecture of old and new nests was very similar, and neither the forest canopy nor the density or size of neighbors was correlated with relocation. Monitoring entire relocations (n = 20) showed that they were usually completed in 4 to 6 days. Moves were diurnal, peaking in the mornings and afternoons dipping during mid-day, and ceasing before sundown. Workers excavated the new nest continuously during the daytime throughout the move and beyond. A minority of workers carried seeds, charcoal and brood, with seeds being by far the most common burden. The proportion of burdened workers increased throughout the move. Measured from year to year, small colonies gained size and large ones lost it. Colonies moving more than once in two years lost more size than those moving less often, suggesting that moving may bear a fitness cost. Colony relocation is a dramatic and consistent feature of the life history of the Florida harvester ant, inviting inquiry into its proximal and ultimate causes. PMID:25409332

  4. Nest relocation and excavation in the Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius.

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2014-01-01

    The Florida harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex badius) excavates deep nests in the sandy soils of the Gulf and Atlantic coastal plains. Nest relocations of over 400 colonies in a north Florida coastal plains pine forest were tracked and mapped from 2010 to 2013. Individual colonies varied from one move in two years to four times a year, averaging about one per year. Almost all moves occurred between May and November peaking in July when more than 1% of the colonies moved per day. Move directions were random, and averaged 4 m, with few moves exceeding 10 m. Distance moved was not related to colony size. Over multiple moves, paths were random walks around the original nest location. Relocation is probably intrinsic to the life history of this species, and the causes of relocation remain obscure--the architecture of old and new nests was very similar, and neither the forest canopy nor the density or size of neighbors was correlated with relocation. Monitoring entire relocations (n = 20) showed that they were usually completed in 4 to 6 days. Moves were diurnal, peaking in the mornings and afternoons dipping during mid-day, and ceasing before sundown. Workers excavated the new nest continuously during the daytime throughout the move and beyond. A minority of workers carried seeds, charcoal and brood, with seeds being by far the most common burden. The proportion of burdened workers increased throughout the move. Measured from year to year, small colonies gained size and large ones lost it. Colonies moving more than once in two years lost more size than those moving less often, suggesting that moving may bear a fitness cost. Colony relocation is a dramatic and consistent feature of the life history of the Florida harvester ant, inviting inquiry into its proximal and ultimate causes.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

    During their approximately annual nest relocations, Florida harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex badius) excavate large and architecturally-distinct subterranean nests. Aspects of this process were studied by planting a harvester ant colony in the field in a soil column composed of layers of 12 different colors of sand. Quantifying the colors of excavated sand dumped on the surface by the ants revealed the progress of nest deepening to 2 m and enlargement to 8 L in volume. Most of the excavation was completed within about 2 weeks, but the nest was doubled in volume after a winter lull. After 7 months, we excavated the nest and mapped its structure, revealing colored sand deposited in non-host colored layers, especially in the upper 30 to 40 cm of the nest. In all, about 2.5% of the excavated sediment was deposited below ground, a fact of importance to sediment dating by optically-stimulated luminescence (OSL). Upward transport of excavated sand is carried out in stages, probably by different groups of ants, through deposition, re-transport, incorporation into the nest walls and floors and remobilization from these. This results in considerable mixing of sand from different depths, as indicated in the multiple sand colors even within single sand pellets brought to the surface. Just as sand is transported upward by stages, incoming seeds are transported downward to seed chambers. Foragers collect seeds and deposit them only in the topmost nest chambers from which a separate group of workers rapidly transports them downward in increments detectable as a "wave" of seeds that eventually ends in the seed chambers, 20 to 80 cm below the surface. The upward and downward transport is an example of task-partitioning in a series-parallel organization of work carried out by a highly redundant work force in which each worker usually completes only part of a multi-step process. PMID:26509900

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    During their approximately annual nest relocations, Florida harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex badius) excavate large and architecturally-distinct subterranean nests. Aspects of this process were studied by planting a harvester ant colony in the field in a soil column composed of layers of 12 different colors of sand. Quantifying the colors of excavated sand dumped on the surface by the ants revealed the progress of nest deepening to 2 m and enlargement to 8 L in volume. Most of the excavation was completed within about 2 weeks, but the nest was doubled in volume after a winter lull. After 7 months, we excavated the nest and mapped its structure, revealing colored sand deposited in non-host colored layers, especially in the upper 30 to 40 cm of the nest. In all, about 2.5% of the excavated sediment was deposited below ground, a fact of importance to sediment dating by optically-stimulated luminescence (OSL). Upward transport of excavated sand is carried out in stages, probably by different groups of ants, through deposition, re-transport, incorporation into the nest walls and floors and remobilization from these. This results in considerable mixing of sand from different depths, as indicated in the multiple sand colors even within single sand pellets brought to the surface. Just as sand is transported upward by stages, incoming seeds are transported downward to seed chambers. Foragers collect seeds and deposit them only in the topmost nest chambers from which a separate group of workers rapidly transports them downward in increments detectable as a "wave" of seeds that eventually ends in the seed chambers, 20 to 80 cm below the surface. The upward and downward transport is an example of task-partitioning in a series-parallel organization of work carried out by a highly redundant work force in which each worker usually completes only part of a multi-step process. PMID:26509900

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  8. Draft genome of the red harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus.

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R; Smith, Christopher D; Robertson, Hugh M; Helmkampf, Martin; Zimin, Aleksey; Yandell, Mark; Holt, Carson; Hu, Hao; Abouheif, Ehab; Benton, Richard; Cash, Elizabeth; Croset, Vincent; Currie, Cameron R; Elhaik, Eran; Elsik, Christine G; Favé, Marie-Julie; Fernandes, Vilaiwan; Gibson, Joshua D; Graur, Dan; Gronenberg, Wulfila; Grubbs, Kirk J; Hagen, Darren E; Viniegra, Ana Sofia Ibarraran; Johnson, Brian R; Johnson, Reed M; Khila, Abderrahman; Kim, Jay W; Mathis, Kaitlyn A; Munoz-Torres, Monica C; Murphy, Marguerite C; Mustard, Julie A; Nakamura, Rin; Niehuis, Oliver; Nigam, Surabhi; Overson, Rick P; Placek, Jennifer E; Rajakumar, Rajendhran; Reese, Justin T; Suen, Garret; Tao, Shu; Torres, Candice W; Tsutsui, Neil D; Viljakainen, Lumi; Wolschin, Florian; Gadau, Jürgen

    2011-04-01

    We report the draft genome sequence of the red harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus. The genome was sequenced using 454 pyrosequencing, and the current assembly and annotation were completed in less than 1 y. Analyses of conserved gene groups (more than 1,200 manually annotated genes to date) suggest a high-quality assembly and annotation comparable to recently sequenced insect genomes using Sanger sequencing. The red harvester ant is a model for studying reproductive division of labor, phenotypic plasticity, and sociogenomics. Although the genome of P. barbatus is similar to other sequenced hymenopterans (Apis mellifera and Nasonia vitripennis) in GC content and compositional organization, and possesses a complete CpG methylation toolkit, its predicted genomic CpG content differs markedly from the other hymenopterans. Gene networks involved in generating key differences between the queen and worker castes (e.g., wings and ovaries) show signatures of increased methylation and suggest that ants and bees may have independently co-opted the same gene regulatory mechanisms for reproductive division of labor. Gene family expansions (e.g., 344 functional odorant receptors) and pseudogene accumulation in chemoreception and P450 genes compared with A. mellifera and N. vitripennis are consistent with major life-history changes during the adaptive radiation of Pogonomyrmex spp., perhaps in parallel with the development of the North American deserts.

  9. A taxonomic revision of the seed-harvester ant genus Pogonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on Hispaniola.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Robert A; Cover, Stefan P

    2015-06-11

    We revise species of seed-harvester ants in the genus Pogonomyrmex (subfamily Myrmicinae) that occur on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Three species are recognized: P. aterrimus Wheeler (new status), P. saucius Wheeler and Mann, and P. schmitti Forel. Pogonomyrmex schmitti sublaevigatus Wheeler (= schmitti) and P. schmitti darlingtoni Wheeler (= aterrimus) are synonomized. We also describe the queen of P. aterrimus and P. saucius, and provide information on biology, distribution maps, and a key to workers and queens.

  10. Phylogeography of Pogonomyrmex barbatus and P. rugosus harvester ants with genetic and environmental caste determination

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Here we present a phylogeographic study of at least six reproductively isolated lineages of new world harvester ants within the Pogonomyrmex barbatus and P. rugosus species group. The genetic and geographic relationships within this clade are complex: four of the identified lineages are divided into...

  11. Harvester ant bioassay for assessing hazardous chemical waste sites. [Pogonomyrmex owhyeei

    SciTech Connect

    Gano, K.A.; Carlile, D.W.; Rogers, L.E.

    1985-05-01

    A technique was developed for using harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex owhyeei, in terrestrial bioassays. Procedures were developed for maintaining stock populations, handling ants, and exposing ants to toxic materials. Relative toxicities were determined by exposing ants to 10 different materials. These materials included three insecticides, Endrin, Aldrin, and Dieldrin; one herbicide, 2,4-D; three complex industrial waste residuals, wood preservative sludge, drilling fluid, and slop oil; and three heavy metals, copper zinc, and cadium. Ants were exposed in petri dishes containing soil amended with a particular toxicant. Under these test conditions, ants showed no sensitivity to the metals or 2,4-D. Ants were sensitive to the insecticides and oils in repeated tests, and relative toxicity remained consistent throughout. Aldrin was the most toxic material followed by Dieldrin, Endrin, wood preservative sludge, drilling fluid, and slop oil. 12 refs., 2 figs., 2 tabs.

  12. Evaluation of three techniques for the study of harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex spp.) diet.

    PubMed

    Pirk, Gabriela Inés; Lopez de Casenave, Javier; Marone, Luis

    2007-10-01

    The estimation of an ant's diet is crucial in many ecological studies. Different techniques, which involve different assumptions and field procedures, have been used to estimate the composition of harvester ant diet. In this study, three techniques are compared for the estimation of the diet of Pogonomyrmex rastratus (Mayr), Pogonomyrmex pronotalis (Santschi), and Pogonomyrmex inermis (Forel) in the central Monte desert, Argentina: (1) hand collection of items brought back to the nest by foragers, (2) collection of items with a semiautomated device with pitfall traps, and (3) collection of the discarded material accumulated in middens. The hand collection technique and the collection of middens provided the lowest and the highest number of items, respectively. Midden samples and pitfall traps contained a higher proportion of nonseed items, probably coming from sources other than ants, than hand-collected items. The three techniques provided similar estimations of species richness but a bias against small seeds was detected for P. pronotalis and P. inermis with the hand collection technique, possibly because of the difficulty of collecting small items by hand. The percentage of seed species in the diet obtained with different techniques was positively correlated in the great majority of colonies. Overall, despite their intrinsic differences, the three techniques proved consistent, which constitutes a robustness test for the estimations obtained. In comparative ecological studies, the awareness that results depend on the techniques and their assumptions is particularly important.

  13. 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

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

    PubMed

    Dosmann, Andy; 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

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

    PubMed

    Dosmann, Andy; 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.

  16. VARIABILITY IN SOILS AND VEGETATION ASSOCIATED WITH HARVESTER ANT (POGONOMYRMEX RUGOSUS) NESTS ON A CHIHUAHUAN DESERT WATERSHED

    EPA Science Inventory

    The effects of harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex rugosus) nests on the density and cover of spring annual plants and on soil characteristics were measured at three locations characterized by different soils and dominant vegetation on a desert watershed. There were few differences in ve...

  17. Hydrocarbons on harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) middens guide foragers to the nest.

    PubMed

    Sturgis, Shelby J; Greene, Michael J; Gordon, Deborah M

    2011-05-01

    Colony-specific cuticular hydrocarbons are used by social insects in nestmate recognition. Here, we showed that hydrocarbons found on the mound of Pogonomyrmex barbatus nests facilitate the return of foragers to the nest. Colony-specific hydrocarbons, which ants use to distinguish nestmates from non-nestmates, are found on the midden pebbles placed on the nest mound. Midden hydrocarbons occur in a concentration gradient, growing stronger near the nest entrance, which is in the center of a 1-2 m diameter nest mound. Foraging behavior was disrupted when the gradient of hydrocarbons was altered experimentally. When midden material was diluted with artificial pebbles lacking the colony-specific hydrocarbons, the speed of returning foragers decreased significantly. The chemical environment of the nest mound contributes to the regulation of foraging behavior in harvester ants.

  18. Mortality of the harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex owyheei) after exposure to /sup 137/Cs gamma radiation

    SciTech Connect

    Gano, K.A.

    1981-01-01

    Harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex owyheei Cole, irradiated with 3.5 kR to 268 kR of /sup 137/Cs gamma radiation, were maintained at simulated summer (27/sup 0/C) and winter (7/sup 0/C) temperature regimes. After thirty days, the cool series was warmed to 27/sup 0/C and observed for mortality along with the warm series.Though mortality was delayed in the cool series, each series reached 50% mortality at similar rates. Because the harvester ant is extremely tolerant to radiation and experimental rates used far exceed possible environmental exposure, it is unlikely that ant colonies dwelling among low-level nuclear waste storage sites will be deleteriously affected by radiation. This species has the capability of tunneling to a depth well within the range of some buried waste. Since these harvester ants are potential transporters of buried waste, they should be considered as a biotic factor in radioactive waste management operations in semi-arid regions.

  19. Mortality of the harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex owyheei) after exposure to /sup 137/Cs gamma radiation

    SciTech Connect

    Gano, K.A.

    1981-01-01

    Harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex owyheei Cole, irradiated with 3.5 kR to 268 kR of /sup 137/Cs gamma radiation, were maintained at simulated summer (27/sup 0/C) and winter (7/sup 0/C) temperature regimes. After thirty days, the cool series was warmed to 27/sup 0/C and observed for mortality along with the warm series. Though mortality was delayed in the cool series, each series reached 50% mortality at similar rates. Because the harvester ant is extremely tolerant to radiation and experimental rates used far exceed possible environmental exposure, it is unlikely that ant colonies dwelling among low-level nuclear waste storage sites will be deleteriously affected by radiation. This species has the capability of tunneling to a depth well within the range of some buried waste. Since these harvester ants are potential transporters of buried waste, they should be considered as a biotic factor in radioactive waste management operations in semi-arid regions.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  1. Notes on spider (Theridiidae, Salticidae) predation of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex salinus Olsen (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae), and a possible parasitoid fly (Chloropidae)

    SciTech Connect

    Clark, W.H. Univ. of Idaho, Moscow ); Blom, P.E. )

    1992-12-01

    Spiders are known predators of ants. Pressure exerted by consistent spider predation can alter the behavior of ant colonies (MacKay 1982) and may be a selective pressure contributing to the seed-harvesting behavior of Pogonomyrmex (MacKay and MacKay 1984). The authors observed the spider Euryopis formosa Banks (Araneae: Theridiidae) capture and transport workers of the harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex salinus Olsen [Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Myrmicinae]) in southeastern Idaho. Additional observations revealed a crab spider of the genus Xysticus preying on P. salinus and the presence of a chloropid fly (Incertella) that may have been parasitizing the moribund prey subdued by the spider.

  2. The foundress's dilemma: group selection for cooperation among queens of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex californicus.

    PubMed

    Shaffer, Zachary; Sasaki, Takao; Haney, Brian; Janssen, Marco; Pratt, Stephen C; Fewell, Jennifer H

    2016-01-01

    The evolution of cooperation is a fundamental problem in biology, especially for non-relatives, where indirect fitness benefits cannot counter within-group inequalities. Multilevel selection models show how cooperation can evolve if it generates a group-level advantage, even when cooperators are disadvantaged within their group. This allows the possibility of group selection, but few examples have been described in nature. Here we show that group selection can explain the evolution of cooperative nest founding in the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus. Through most of this species' range, colonies are founded by single queens, but in some populations nests are instead founded by cooperative groups of unrelated queens. In mixed groups of cooperative and single-founding queens, we found that aggressive individuals had a survival advantage within their nest, but foundress groups with such non-cooperators died out more often than those with only cooperative members. An agent-based model shows that the between-group advantage of the cooperative phenotype drives it to fixation, despite its within-group disadvantage, but only when population density is high enough to make between-group competition intense. Field data show higher nest density in a population where cooperative founding is common, consistent with greater density driving the evolution of cooperative foundation through group selection. PMID:27465430

  3. Gene expression and variation in social aggression by queens of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus.

    PubMed

    Helmkampf, Martin; Mikheyev, Alexander S; Kang, Yun; Fewell, Jennifer; Gadau, Jürgen

    2016-08-01

    A key requirement for social cooperation is the mitigation and/or social regulation of aggression towards other group members. Populations of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus show the alternate social phenotypes of queens founding nests alone (haplometrosis) or in groups of unrelated yet cooperative individuals (pleometrosis). Pleometrotic queens display an associated reduction in aggression. To understand the proximate drivers behind this variation, we placed foundresses of the two populations into social environments with queens from the same or the alternate population, and measured their behaviour and head gene expression profiles. A proportion of queens from both populations behaved aggressively, but haplometrotic queens were significantly more likely to perform aggressive acts, and conflict escalated more frequently in pairs of haplometrotic queens. Whole-head RNA sequencing revealed variation in gene expression patterns, with the two populations showing moderate differentiation in overall transcriptional profile, suggesting that genetic differences underlie the two founding strategies. The largest detected difference, however, was associated with aggression, regardless of queen founding type. Several modules of coregulated genes, involved in metabolism, immune system and neuronal function, were found to be upregulated in highly aggressive queens. Conversely, nonaggressive queens exhibited a striking pattern of upregulation in chemosensory genes. Our results highlight that the social phenotypes of cooperative vs. solitary nest founding tap into a set of gene regulatory networks that seem to govern aggression level. We also present a number of highly connected hub genes associated with aggression, providing opportunity to further study the genetic underpinnings of social conflict and tolerance.

  4. The foundress's dilemma: group selection for cooperation among queens of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex californicus.

    PubMed

    Shaffer, Zachary; Sasaki, Takao; Haney, Brian; Janssen, Marco; Pratt, Stephen C; Fewell, Jennifer H

    2016-07-28

    The evolution of cooperation is a fundamental problem in biology, especially for non-relatives, where indirect fitness benefits cannot counter within-group inequalities. Multilevel selection models show how cooperation can evolve if it generates a group-level advantage, even when cooperators are disadvantaged within their group. This allows the possibility of group selection, but few examples have been described in nature. Here we show that group selection can explain the evolution of cooperative nest founding in the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus. Through most of this species' range, colonies are founded by single queens, but in some populations nests are instead founded by cooperative groups of unrelated queens. In mixed groups of cooperative and single-founding queens, we found that aggressive individuals had a survival advantage within their nest, but foundress groups with such non-cooperators died out more often than those with only cooperative members. An agent-based model shows that the between-group advantage of the cooperative phenotype drives it to fixation, despite its within-group disadvantage, but only when population density is high enough to make between-group competition intense. Field data show higher nest density in a population where cooperative founding is common, consistent with greater density driving the evolution of cooperative foundation through group selection.

  5. Individual variation of (S)-4-methyl-3-heptanone in heads of braconid wasp, Leiophron uniformis, and Pogonomyrmex ants indicates costs of semiochemical production

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    (S)-4-methyl-3-heptanone is known as an alarm pheromone released from the mandibular glands in heads of red harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex spp.). Using GC-MS, we found that both sexes of the braconid wasp Leiophron uniformis, which is a parasitoid of plant bug pests of agricultural crops, contain 2-6 ...

  6. Seed Selection by the Harvester Ant Pogonomyrmex rugosus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Coastal Sage Scrub: Interactions With Invasive Plant Species.

    PubMed

    Briggs, C M; Redak, R A

    2016-08-01

    Harvester ants can be the dominant seed predators on plants by collecting and eating seeds and are known to influence plant communities. Harvester ants are abundant in coastal sage scrub (CSS), and CSS is frequently invaded by several exotic plant species. This study used observations of foraging and cafeteria-style experiments to test for seed species selection by the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex rugosus Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in CSS. Analysis of foraging behavior showed that P. rugosus carried seeds of exotic Erodium cicutarium (L.) and exotic Brassica tournefortii (Gouan) on 85 and 15% of return trips to the nest (respectively), and only a very few ants carried the native seeds found within the study areas. When compared with the availability of seeds in the field, P. rugosus selected exotic E. cicutarium and avoided both native Encelia farinosa (Torrey & A. Gray) and exotic B. tournefortii. Foraging by P. rugosus had no major effect on the seed bank in the field. Cafeteria-style experiments confirmed that P. rugosus selected E. cicutarium over other available seeds. Native Eriogonum fasciculatum (Bentham) seeds were even less selected than E. farinosa and B. tournefortii.

  7. Division of labor is associated with age-independent changes in ovarian activity in Pogonomyrmex californicus harvester ants.

    PubMed

    Dolezal, Adam G; Johnson, Joshua; Hölldobler, Bert; Amdam, Gro V

    2013-04-01

    An age-independent division of labor can develop in both the reproductive (queen) and non-reproductive (worker) castes of Pogonomyrmex californicus harvester ants, and individuals develop biases for in-nest activities or external foraging. Additionally, ant ovaries normally atrophy in foragers compared to nest-biased workers (nurses). However, it is not clear whether these ovarian changes are due to changes in behavior or age, since foragers are typically older individuals. Here, we clarify this relationship in P. californicus queens and workers by comparing ovarian activity in same-aged ants that exhibit divergent behavioral biases. We found that foraging individuals had significantly reduced ovarian activity compared to their nest-biased counterparts, thereby linking changes in the ants' reproductive system to social task performance rather than to age. The general finding that ovarian physiology is associated with social insect behaviors is consistent with the hypothesis that reproductive physiology may have played an important role in the evolution of social insect behavior.

  8. Seed Selection by the Harvester Ant Pogonomyrmex rugosus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Coastal Sage Scrub: Interactions With Invasive Plant Species.

    PubMed

    Briggs, C M; Redak, R A

    2016-08-01

    Harvester ants can be the dominant seed predators on plants by collecting and eating seeds and are known to influence plant communities. Harvester ants are abundant in coastal sage scrub (CSS), and CSS is frequently invaded by several exotic plant species. This study used observations of foraging and cafeteria-style experiments to test for seed species selection by the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex rugosus Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in CSS. Analysis of foraging behavior showed that P. rugosus carried seeds of exotic Erodium cicutarium (L.) and exotic Brassica tournefortii (Gouan) on 85 and 15% of return trips to the nest (respectively), and only a very few ants carried the native seeds found within the study areas. When compared with the availability of seeds in the field, P. rugosus selected exotic E. cicutarium and avoided both native Encelia farinosa (Torrey & A. Gray) and exotic B. tournefortii. Foraging by P. rugosus had no major effect on the seed bank in the field. Cafeteria-style experiments confirmed that P. rugosus selected E. cicutarium over other available seeds. Native Eriogonum fasciculatum (Bentham) seeds were even less selected than E. farinosa and B. tournefortii. PMID:27257121

  9. Phylogeography of Pogonomyrmex barbatus and P. rugosus harvester ants with genetic and environmental caste determination

    PubMed Central

    Mott, Brendon M; Gadau, Jürgen; Anderson, Kirk E

    2015-01-01

    We present a phylogeographic study of at least six reproductively isolated lineages of new world harvester ants within the Pogonomyrmex barbatus and P. rugosus species group. The genetic and geographic relationships within this clade are complex: Four of the identified lineages show genetic caste determination (GCD) and are divided into two pairs. Each pair has evolved under a mutualistic system that necessitates sympatry. These paired lineages are dependent upon one another because their GCD requires interlineage matings for the production of F1 hybrid workers, and intralineage matings are required to produce queens. This GCD system maintains genetic isolation among these interdependent lineages, while simultaneously requiring co-expansion and emigration as their distributions have changed over time. It has also been demonstrated that three of these four GCD lineages have undergone historical hybridization, but the narrower sampling range of previous studies has left questions on the hybrid parentage, breadth, and age of these groups. Thus, reconstructing the phylogenetic and geographic history of this group allows us to evaluate past insights and hypotheses and to plan future inquiries in a more complete historical biogeographic context. Using mitochondrial DNA sequences sampled across most of the morphospecies’ ranges in the U.S.A. and Mexico, we conducted a detailed phylogeographic study. Remarkably, our results indicate that one of the GCD lineage pairs has experienced a dramatic range expansion, despite the genetic load and fitness costs of the GCD system. Our analyses also reveal a complex pattern of vicariance and dispersal in Pogonomyrmex harvester ants that is largely concordant with models of late Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene range shifts among various arid-adapted taxa in North America. PMID:26306168

  10. Phylogeography of Pogonomyrmex barbatus and P. rugosus harvester ants with genetic and environmental caste determination.

    PubMed

    Mott, Brendon M; Gadau, Jürgen; Anderson, Kirk E

    2015-07-01

    We present a phylogeographic study of at least six reproductively isolated lineages of new world harvester ants within the Pogonomyrmex barbatus and P. rugosus species group. The genetic and geographic relationships within this clade are complex: Four of the identified lineages show genetic caste determination (GCD) and are divided into two pairs. Each pair has evolved under a mutualistic system that necessitates sympatry. These paired lineages are dependent upon one another because their GCD requires interlineage matings for the production of F1 hybrid workers, and intralineage matings are required to produce queens. This GCD system maintains genetic isolation among these interdependent lineages, while simultaneously requiring co-expansion and emigration as their distributions have changed over time. It has also been demonstrated that three of these four GCD lineages have undergone historical hybridization, but the narrower sampling range of previous studies has left questions on the hybrid parentage, breadth, and age of these groups. Thus, reconstructing the phylogenetic and geographic history of this group allows us to evaluate past insights and hypotheses and to plan future inquiries in a more complete historical biogeographic context. Using mitochondrial DNA sequences sampled across most of the morphospecies' ranges in the U.S.A. and Mexico, we conducted a detailed phylogeographic study. Remarkably, our results indicate that one of the GCD lineage pairs has experienced a dramatic range expansion, despite the genetic load and fitness costs of the GCD system. Our analyses also reveal a complex pattern of vicariance and dispersal in Pogonomyrmex harvester ants that is largely concordant with models of late Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene range shifts among various arid-adapted taxa in North America.

  11. The cost of being queen: investment across Pogonomyrmex harvester ant gynes that differ in degree of claustrality.

    PubMed

    Enzmann, Brittany L; Gibbs, Allen G; Nonacs, Peter

    2014-11-01

    The role of the ant colony largely consists of non-reproductive tasks, such as foraging, tending brood, and defense. However, workers are vitally linked to reproduction through their provisioning of sexual offspring, which are produced annually to mate and initiate new colonies. Gynes (future queens) have size-associated variation in colony founding strategy (claustrality), with each strategy requiring different energetic investments from their natal colony. We compared the per capita production cost required for semi-claustral, facultative, and claustral gynes across four species of Pogonomyrmex harvester ants. We found that the claustral founding strategy is markedly expensive, costing approximately 70% more energy than that of the semi-claustral strategy. Relative to males, claustral gynes also had the largest differential investment and smallest size variation. We applied these investment costs to a model by Brown and Bonhoeffer (2003) that predicts founding strategy based on investment cost and foraging survivorship. The model predicts that non-claustral foundresses must survive the foraging period with a probability of 30-36% in order for a foraging strategy to be selectively favored. These results highlight the importance of incorporating resource investment at the colony level when investigating the evolution of colony founding strategies in ants. PMID:25111688

  12. The cost of being queen: investment across Pogonomyrmex harvester ant gynes that differ in degree of claustrality.

    PubMed

    Enzmann, Brittany L; Gibbs, Allen G; Nonacs, Peter

    2014-11-01

    The role of the ant colony largely consists of non-reproductive tasks, such as foraging, tending brood, and defense. However, workers are vitally linked to reproduction through their provisioning of sexual offspring, which are produced annually to mate and initiate new colonies. Gynes (future queens) have size-associated variation in colony founding strategy (claustrality), with each strategy requiring different energetic investments from their natal colony. We compared the per capita production cost required for semi-claustral, facultative, and claustral gynes across four species of Pogonomyrmex harvester ants. We found that the claustral founding strategy is markedly expensive, costing approximately 70% more energy than that of the semi-claustral strategy. Relative to males, claustral gynes also had the largest differential investment and smallest size variation. We applied these investment costs to a model by Brown and Bonhoeffer (2003) that predicts founding strategy based on investment cost and foraging survivorship. The model predicts that non-claustral foundresses must survive the foraging period with a probability of 30-36% in order for a foraging strategy to be selectively favored. These results highlight the importance of incorporating resource investment at the colony level when investigating the evolution of colony founding strategies in ants.

  13. Solitary foraging in the ancestral South American ant, Pogonomyrmex vermiculatus. Is it due to constraints in the production or perception of trail pheromones?

    PubMed

    Torres-Contreras, Hugo; Olivares-Donoso, Ruby; Niemeyer, Hermann M

    2007-02-01

    Several North American species of Pogonomyrmex harvester ants exhibit group foraging, whereas South American species are exclusively solitary foragers. The composition of the secretions of the poison and Dufour glands in the South American species, Pogonomyrmex vermiculatus, were analyzed, and the secretions and their components were tested as trail pheromones in laboratory bioassays. The major compounds in the poison gland were the alkylpyrazines, 2,5-dimethylpyrazine, 2,3,5-trimethylpyrazine, and 3-ethyl-2,5-dimethylpyrazine. The Dufour gland contained five alkanes, from tridecane to heptadecane, with pentadecane being most abundant. In behavioral bioassays, poison gland extracts and the mixture of pyrazines produced a trail pheromone effect, whereas the Dufour gland extracts and the alkanes had no effect on ant locomotion. We conclude that group foraging in P. vermiculatus does not arise from the inability to produce or detect possible pheromones, but rather, from physiological and/or ecological factors. PMID:17187299

  14. A taxonomic revision of South American species of the seed-harvester ant genus Pogonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Part I.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Robert A

    2015-01-01

    South American species in the seed-harvester ant genus Pogonomyrmex (subfamily Myrmicinae) are interesting biologically because of their numerous queen phenotypes and life histories. This paper provides a taxonomic revision and reviews the natural history for 21 South American species of Pogonomyrmex so that we can better study their rich and interesting ecology, life history, and evolution. Species treated herein comprise all South American species-groups except for the brevibarbis and rastratus-groups. The following taxa are raised to species: pencosensis Forel 1914 and serpens Santschi 1922. The following new synonomies are proposed: bruchi Forel 1913 is synonomized under coarctatus Mayr 1868 and cunicularius carnivora Santschi 1925 under serpens Santschi 1922. The following new species is described: tinogasta. This paper redescribes workers of all species, and I describe queens and diagnose males for the following species: bispinosus (ergatoid queen, male), inermis (queen, male), laticeps (male), lobatus (queen, male), micans (queen), naegelii (ergatoid queen), pencosensis (ergatoid queen), serpens (ergatoid queen), tinogasta (brachypterous queen), and uruguayensis (queen, male). A neotype was designated for the untraceable or possibly lost type of P. bispinosus, and a holotype or lectotype was designated from syntypes for all other previously described taxa in order to provide a single name-bearing specimen and to facilitate future taxonomic studies. Of the 21 species treated herein, five species have ergatoid (wingless) queens (bispinosus, cunicularius, pencosensis, serpens, mayri), two have brachypterous (short-winged) queens (mendozanus, tinogasta), and two have dimorphic queens (winged and ergatoid in naegelii, brachypterous and ergatoid in laticeps). I also provide keys for workers and queens (in English and Spanish), photographs of all castes, distribution maps, and a summary of known biology. PMID:26624334

  15. A taxonomic revision of South American species of the seed-harvester ant genus Pogonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Part I.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Robert A

    2015-10-13

    South American species in the seed-harvester ant genus Pogonomyrmex (subfamily Myrmicinae) are interesting biologically because of their numerous queen phenotypes and life histories. This paper provides a taxonomic revision and reviews the natural history for 21 South American species of Pogonomyrmex so that we can better study their rich and interesting ecology, life history, and evolution. Species treated herein comprise all South American species-groups except for the brevibarbis and rastratus-groups. The following taxa are raised to species: pencosensis Forel 1914 and serpens Santschi 1922. The following new synonomies are proposed: bruchi Forel 1913 is synonomized under coarctatus Mayr 1868 and cunicularius carnivora Santschi 1925 under serpens Santschi 1922. The following new species is described: tinogasta. This paper redescribes workers of all species, and I describe queens and diagnose males for the following species: bispinosus (ergatoid queen, male), inermis (queen, male), laticeps (male), lobatus (queen, male), micans (queen), naegelii (ergatoid queen), pencosensis (ergatoid queen), serpens (ergatoid queen), tinogasta (brachypterous queen), and uruguayensis (queen, male). A neotype was designated for the untraceable or possibly lost type of P. bispinosus, and a holotype or lectotype was designated from syntypes for all other previously described taxa in order to provide a single name-bearing specimen and to facilitate future taxonomic studies. Of the 21 species treated herein, five species have ergatoid (wingless) queens (bispinosus, cunicularius, pencosensis, serpens, mayri), two have brachypterous (short-winged) queens (mendozanus, tinogasta), and two have dimorphic queens (winged and ergatoid in naegelii, brachypterous and ergatoid in laticeps). I also provide keys for workers and queens (in English and Spanish), photographs of all castes, distribution maps, and a summary of known biology.

  16. The foundress’s dilemma: group selection for cooperation among queens of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex californicus

    PubMed Central

    Shaffer, Zachary; Sasaki, Takao; Haney, Brian; Janssen, Marco; Pratt, Stephen C.; Fewell, Jennifer H.

    2016-01-01

    The evolution of cooperation is a fundamental problem in biology, especially for non-relatives, where indirect fitness benefits cannot counter within-group inequalities. Multilevel selection models show how cooperation can evolve if it generates a group-level advantage, even when cooperators are disadvantaged within their group. This allows the possibility of group selection, but few examples have been described in nature. Here we show that group selection can explain the evolution of cooperative nest founding in the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus. Through most of this species’ range, colonies are founded by single queens, but in some populations nests are instead founded by cooperative groups of unrelated queens. In mixed groups of cooperative and single-founding queens, we found that aggressive individuals had a survival advantage within their nest, but foundress groups with such non-cooperators died out more often than those with only cooperative members. An agent-based model shows that the between-group advantage of the cooperative phenotype drives it to fixation, despite its within-group disadvantage, but only when population density is high enough to make between-group competition intense. Field data show higher nest density in a population where cooperative founding is common, consistent with greater density driving the evolution of cooperative foundation through group selection. PMID:27465430

  17. Standard energy metabolism of a desert harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex rugosus: Effects of temperature, body mass, group size, and humidity

    SciTech Connect

    Lighton, J.R.B.; Bartholomew, G.A. )

    1988-07-01

    Pogonomyrmex rugosus is an important seed predator in the Mojave Desert of the southwestern United States. Its standard rate of O{sub 2} consumption (Vo{sub 2}) varied significantly with temperature. The ratio of the Vo{sub 2} values at 10{degree}C increments in body temperature, Q{sub 10}, also varied with temperature; methods of calculating Vo{sub 2} from temperature with a shifting Q{sub 10} are described. Vo{sub 2} also varied with body mass. Vo{sub 2} was inversely related to relative humidity and was independent of group size. The rise in Vo{sub 2} at low relative humidities was caused by increased activity and resulted in higher rates of net water loss. The primary metabolic adaptation to xeric conditions in P. rugosus appears to be a lower-than-predicted metabolic rate.

  18. Ant community composition across a gradient of disturbed military landscapes at Fort Benning, Georgia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2008-01-01

    Military training, soil texture, and ground cover influence ant communities at Fort Benning, a military installation in west-central Georgia. We sampled 81,237 ground-dwelling ants (47 species in 20 genera) with pitfall traps at 40 sites on a continuum from nearly pristine forest to highly disturbed training areas. We also measured 15 environmental variables related to vegetation and soil. Sites disturbed by military training had fewer trees, less canopy cover, more bare ground, and more compact soils with shallower A-horizons than comparable undisturbed sites. Pheidole bicarinata, Dorymyrmex smithi, and Pogonomyrmex badius dominated the most highly disturbed sites. Competitively submissive myrmicines, such as Aphaenogaster and Crematogaster, and formicines, such as Camponotus and Formica, were abundant in the undisturbed sites. Solenopsis invicta occurred in all but the least disturbed sites. Ant community composition was a useful indicator of disturbance at Fort Benning.

  19. Florida Harvester Ant Nest Architecture, Nest Relocation and Soil Carbon Dioxide Gradients

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2013-01-01

    Colonies of the Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius, excavate species-typical subterranean nests up the 3 m deep with characteristic vertical distribution of chamber area/shape, spacing between levels and vertical arrangement of the ants by age and brood stage. Colonies excavate and occupy a new nest about once a year, and doing so requires that they have information about the depth below ground. Careful excavation and mapping of vacated and new nests revealed that there was no significant difference between the old and new nests in any measure of nest size, shape or arrangement. Colonies essentially built a replicate of the just-vacated nest (although details differed), and they did so in less than a week. The reason for nest relocation is not apparent. Tschinkel noted that the vertical distribution of chamber area, worker age and brood type was strongly correlated to the soil carbon dioxide gradient, and proposed that this gradient serves as a template for nest excavation and vertical distribution. To test this hypothesis, the carbon dioxide gradient of colonies that were just beginning to excavate a new nest was eliminated by boring 6 vent holes around the forming nest, allowing the soil CO2 to diffuse into the atmosphere and eliminating the gradient. Sadly, neither the nest architecture nor the vertical ant distribution of vented nests differed from either unvented control or from their own vacated nest. In a stronger test, workers excavated a new nest under a reversed carbon dioxide gradient (high concentration near the surface, low below). Even under these conditions, the new and old nests did not differ significantly, showing that the soil carbon dioxide gradient does not serve as a template for nest construction or vertical worker distribution. The possible importance of soil CO2 gradients for soil-dwelling animals is discussed. PMID:23555829

  20. Florida harvester ant nest architecture, nest relocation and soil carbon dioxide gradients.

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2013-01-01

    Colonies of the Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius, excavate species-typical subterranean nests up the 3 m deep with characteristic vertical distribution of chamber area/shape, spacing between levels and vertical arrangement of the ants by age and brood stage. Colonies excavate and occupy a new nest about once a year, and doing so requires that they have information about the depth below ground. Careful excavation and mapping of vacated and new nests revealed that there was no significant difference between the old and new nests in any measure of nest size, shape or arrangement. Colonies essentially built a replicate of the just-vacated nest (although details differed), and they did so in less than a week. The reason for nest relocation is not apparent. Tschinkel noted that the vertical distribution of chamber area, worker age and brood type was strongly correlated to the soil carbon dioxide gradient, and proposed that this gradient serves as a template for nest excavation and vertical distribution. To test this hypothesis, the carbon dioxide gradient of colonies that were just beginning to excavate a new nest was eliminated by boring 6 vent holes around the forming nest, allowing the soil CO2 to diffuse into the atmosphere and eliminating the gradient. Sadly, neither the nest architecture nor the vertical ant distribution of vented nests differed from either unvented control or from their own vacated nest. In a stronger test, workers excavated a new nest under a reversed carbon dioxide gradient (high concentration near the surface, low below). Even under these conditions, the new and old nests did not differ significantly, showing that the soil carbon dioxide gradient does not serve as a template for nest construction or vertical worker distribution. The possible importance of soil CO2 gradients for soil-dwelling animals is discussed.

  1. Landscape position moderates how ant nests affect hydrology and soil chemistry across a Chihuahuan Desert watershed

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ants moderate the supply of critical resources such as water and nutrients in desert environments by changing the physical arrangement of soils during nest construction. We measured water infiltration and soil physical and chemical properties on and off the nests of two ant species (Pogonomyrmex rug...

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

    PubMed

    Schmasow, Matthew S; Robertson, Ian C

    2016-08-01

    Selective foraging by granivores can have important consequences for the structure and composition of plant communities, and potentially severe consequences for rare plant species. To understand how granivore foraging behavior affects common and rare plant species, diet selection should be viewed relative to the availability of alternative seed options, and with consideration of the individual attributes of those seeds (e.g., morphology, nutrient content). We examined the foraging decisions of Owyhee harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex salinus (Olsen), in semiarid grassland dominated by two species of grass, Poa secunda and Bromus tectorum, and two species of mustard, Sisymbrium altissimum and Lepidium papilliferum The latter is a rare plant endemic to southwestern Idaho, and its seeds are readily consumed by P. salinus We examined the diets of P. salinus colonies in June and July over three years and compared these values to the weekly availability of seeds on the ground in a 3-12 -m radius around individual ant colonies. Small-seeded species (P. secunda, S. altissimum, and L. papilliferum) were usually overrepresented in the diet of ants relative to their availability, whereas the large seeds of B. tectorum were largely avoided despite being abundant and nutritious. The reduced travel time associated with carrying small seeds may overshadow differences in nutritional content among seed types, except in times when small seeds are in short supply. Lepidium papilliferum appears particularly vulnerable to seed predation, likely in part because it grows in dense patches that are easily exploited by foragers. PMID:27357161

  3. 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...

  4. Horned lizards (Phrynosoma) incapacitate dangerous ant prey with mucus.

    PubMed

    Sherbrooke, Wade C; Schwenk, Kurt

    2008-10-01

    Horned lizards (Iguanidae, Phrynosomatinae, Phrynosoma) are morphologically specialized reptiles characterized by squat, tank-like bodies, short limbs, blunt snouts, spines and cranial horns, among other traits. They are unusual among lizards in the degree to which they specialize on a diet of ants, but exceptional in the number of pugnacious, highly venomous, stinging ants they consume, especially harvester ants (genus Pogonomyrmex). Like other iguanian lizards, they capture insect prey on the tongue, but unlike other lizards, they neither bite nor chew dangerous prey before swallowing. Instead, they employ a unique kinematic pattern in which prey capture, transport and swallowing are combined. Nevertheless, horned lizards consume dozens of harvester ants without harm. We show that their derived feeding kinematics are associated with unique, mucus-secreting pharyngeal papillae that apparently serve to immobilize and incapacitate dangerous ants as they are swallowed by compacting them and binding them in mucus strands. Radially branched esophageal folds provide additional mucus-secreting surfaces the ants pass through as they are swallowed. Ants extracted from fresh-killed horned lizard stomachs are curled ventrally into balls and bound in mucus. We conclude that the pharyngeal papillae, in association with a unique form of hyolingual prey transport and swallowing, are horned lizard adaptations related to a diet of dangerous prey. Harvester ant defensive weapons, along with horned lizard adaptations against such weapons, suggest a long-term, predator-prey, co-evolutionary arms race between Phrynosoma and Pogonomyrmex.

  5. Harvester ant bioassay for assessing hazardous chemical waste sites

    SciTech Connect

    Gano, K.A.; Carlile, D.W.; Rogers, L.E.

    1984-12-01

    A technique was developed for using harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex owhyeei, in terrestrial bioassays. Procedures were developed for maintaining stock populations, handling ants, and exposing ants to toxic materials. Relative toxicities were determined by exposing ants to 10 different materials. These materials included three insecticides, Endrin, Aldrin, and Dieldrin; one herbicide, 2,4-D; three oil-like compounds, wood preservative, drilling fluid, and slop oil; and three heavy metals, copper, zinc, and cadmium. Ants were exposed in petri dishes containing soil amended with a particular toxicant. Under these test conditions, ants showed no sensitivity to the metals or 2,4-D. Ants were sensitive to the insecticides and oils in repeated tests, and relative toxicity remained consistent throughout. Aldrin was the most toxic material, followed by Dieldrin, Endrin, wood preservative, drilling fluid, and slop oil. 10 refs., 2 figs., 2 tabs.

  6. Variations of arsenic species content in edible Boletus badius growing at polluted sites over four years.

    PubMed

    Mleczek, Mirosław; Niedzielski, Przemysław; Rzymski, Piotr; Siwulski, Marek; Gąsecka, Monika; Kozak, Lidia

    2016-07-01

    The content of arsenic (As) in mushrooms can vary depending on the concentration level of this metalloid in the soil/substrate. The present study evaluated the content of arsenic in Boletus badius fruiting bodies collected from polluted and non-polluted sites in relation to the content of this element in overgrown substrate. It was found that mushrooms from the arsenic-polluted sites contained mean concentrations from 49 to 450 mg As kg(-1) dry matter (d.m.), with the greatest content found for specimens growing in close proximity of sludge deposits (490±20 mg As kg(-1)d.m.). The mean content of total arsenic in mushrooms from clean sites ranged from 0.03 to 0.37 mg kg(-1) It was found that B. badius could tolerate arsenic in soil substrate at concentrations of up to 2500 mg kg(-1), at least. In different years of investigation, shifts in particular arsenic forms, as well as a general increase in the accumulation of organic arsenic content, were observed. The results of this study clearly indicate that B. badius should not be collected for culinary purposes from any sites that may be affected by pollution. PMID:27070346

  7. Composition and antioxidant properties of wild mushrooms Boletus edulis and Xerocomus badius prepared for consumption.

    PubMed

    Jaworska, Grażyna; Pogoń, Krystyna; Skrzypczak, Aleksandra; Bernaś, Emilia

    2015-12-01

    Wild edible mushrooms Boletus edulis and Xerocomus badius were prepared for consumption by braising with 10 % canola oil (half of the batch was blanched prior to braising). Fresh X.badius had comparable to B.edulis amounts of proximate components and higher levels of most B-group vitamins and antioxidants. Analyzed mushrooms prepared for consumption fulfilled 7-14 % RDA of vitamin B1 for healthy adults and 15-35, 18-37 and 1 % RDA of B2, B3 and B3 respectively. Prepared for consumption mushrooms were rich in antioxidants containing in 100 g dry weight 164,601 mg total polyphenols, 19-87 mg total flavonoids, 22.1-27.4 mg L-ascorbic acid, 0.531-1.031 mg β-carotene, 0.325-0.456 mg lycopene and 38.64-44.49 mg total tocopherols and presented high antioxidant activity against ABTS (4.9-36.5 mmol TE), against DPPH (7.8-21.3 mmol TE) and in FRAP assay (15.0-28.1 mmol Fe(2+)). Mushrooms prepared for consumption with blanching prior to culinary treatment showed lower antioxidant properties and vitamin content in comparison to mushrooms braised raw.

  8. Genome Sequences of Polyomaviruses from the Wild-Living Red Colobus (Piliocolobus badius) and Western Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus)

    PubMed Central

    Ben Salem, Nicole; Leendertz, Fabian H.

    2016-01-01

    We identified with PCR and sequencing the full genomes of the recently discovered Pan troglodytes verus polyomavirus 8 and Piliocolobus badius polyomavirus 2 in a western chimpanzee and a western red colobus free-ranging in Taï National Park of Côte d’Ivoire. PMID:27738028

  9. Optimization of Cultural Conditions for Antioxidant Exopolysaccharides from Xerocomus badius Grown in Shrimp Byproduct

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Xiujun; Yan, Peisheng; Liu, Xin; Wang, Jianbing; Yu, Jiajia

    2016-01-01

    To optimize the production conditions for exopolysaccharides with higher antioxidant activities from Xerocomus badius cultured in shrimp byproduct medium, Plackett-Burman design, path of steepest ascent, and response surface methodology were explored. Based on the results of Plackett-Burman design and path of steepest ascent, a Box-Behnken design was applied to optimization and the regression models. The optimal cultural condition for high yield and antioxidant activity of the exopolysaccharides was determined to be 10.347% of solid-to-liquid ratio, a 4.322% content of bran powder, and a 1.217% concentration of glacial acetic acid. Culturing with the optimal cultural conditions resulted in an exopolysaccharides yield of 4.588 ± 0.346 g/L and a total antioxidant activity of 2.956 ± 0.105 U/mg. These values are consistent with the values predicted by the corresponding regression models (RSD < 5%). PMID:26998481

  10. Substantial production of drosophilin A methyl ether (tetrachloro-1,4-dimethoxybenzene) by the lignicolous basidiomycete Phellinus badius in the heartwood of mesquite (Prosopis juliflora) trees.

    PubMed

    Garvie, Laurence A J; Wilkens, Barry; Groy, Thomas L; Glaeser, Jessie A

    2015-04-01

    Toxic organohalogen pollutants produced as by-products of industrial processes, such as chloroform and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, also have significant natural sources. A substantial terrestrial source of halogenated organics originates from fungal decay of wood and leaf litter. Here we show that the lignicolous basidiomycete Phellinus badius deposits up to 30,000 mg of the halogenated metabolite drosophilin A methyl ether (DAME, tetrachloro-1,4-dimethoxybenzene) per kilogram of decayed heartwood in the mesquite Prosopis juliflora. DAME occurs as clusters of glassy crystals up to 1 mm long within the decayed heartwood. In addition, the Phellinus badius basidiocarps contain an average of 24,000 mg DAME/kg dried fruiting body, testifying to the significant translocation and accumulation of Cl accompanied by DAME biosynthesis. The high DAME concentrations attest to the substantial Cl content of the heartwood, which averages near 5,000 ppm, with Cl/K near 1:1, consistent with an inorganic chloride precursor. Phellinus badius has a circumglobal distribution in the tropics and subtropics, where it is widely distributed on hardwoods and commonly associated with decay of mesquite. There is the potential for extensive DAME formation within decayed heartwood worldwide given the extensive range of Phellinus badius and its propensity to form DAME within mesquites. Further, DAME production is not limited to Phellinus badius but occurs in a range of lignicolous basidiomycetes, suggesting a significant natural reservoir for this chloroaromatic with potential environmental implications.

  11. Substantial production of drosophilin A methyl ether (tetrachloro-1,4-dimethoxybenzene) by the lignicolous basidiomycete Phellinus badius in the heartwood of mesquite ( Prosopis juliflora) trees

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garvie, Laurence A. J.; Wilkens, Barry; Groy, Thomas L.; Glaeser, Jessie A.

    2015-04-01

    Toxic organohalogen pollutants produced as by-products of industrial processes, such as chloroform and polychlorinated dibenzo- p-dioxins, also have significant natural sources. A substantial terrestrial source of halogenated organics originates from fungal decay of wood and leaf litter. Here we show that the lignicolous basidiomycete Phellinus badius deposits up to 30,000 mg of the halogenated metabolite drosophilin A methyl ether (DAME, tetrachloro-1,4-dimethoxybenzene) per kilogram of decayed heartwood in the mesquite Prosopis juliflora. DAME occurs as clusters of glassy crystals up to 1 mm long within the decayed heartwood. In addition, the Phellinus badius basidiocarps contain an average of 24,000 mg DAME/kg dried fruiting body, testifying to the significant translocation and accumulation of Cl accompanied by DAME biosynthesis. The high DAME concentrations attest to the substantial Cl content of the heartwood, which averages near 5,000 ppm, with Cl/K near 1:1, consistent with an inorganic chloride precursor. Phellinus badius has a circumglobal distribution in the tropics and subtropics, where it is widely distributed on hardwoods and commonly associated with decay of mesquite. There is the potential for extensive DAME formation within decayed heartwood worldwide given the extensive range of Phellinus badius and its propensity to form DAME within mesquites. Further, DAME production is not limited to Phellinus badius but occurs in a range of lignicolous basidiomycetes, suggesting a significant natural reservoir for this chloroaromatic with potential environmental implications.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

    Variation in foraging behavior may indicate differences in food availability and allow assessment of restoration actions. Ants are prominent bioindicators used in assessing ecological responses to disturbance. However, behavioral data have been poorly incorporated as an index. The foraging performance of red harvester ants was quantified in order to evaluate the success of a restoration ecology experiment in the tropical dry forest of Sierra de Huautla, Morelos, in central Mexico. Foraging performance by granivorous, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, ants was diminished after 6 and 8 years of cattle grazing and wood harvest were excluded as part of a restoration experiment in a highly degraded biome. Despite investing more time in foraging, ant colonies in exclusion plots showed lower foraging success and acquired less seed biomass than colonies in control plots. In line with the predictions of optimal foraging theory, in restored plots where ant foraging performance was poor, ants harvested a higher diversity of seeds. Reduced foraging success and increased harvest of non-preferred foods in exclusion plots were likely due to the growth of herbaceous vegetation, which impedes travel by foragers. Moreover, by 8 years of exclusion, 37% of nests in exclusion plots had disappeared compared to 0% of nests in control plots. Ants' foraging success and behavior were sensitive to changes in habitat quality due to the plant successional process triggered by a restoration intervention. This study spotlights on the utility of animal foraging behavior in the evaluation of habitat restoration programs. PMID:27252407

  14. Content of selected elements in Boletus badius fruiting bodies growing in extremely polluted wastes.

    PubMed

    Mleczek, Mirosław; Siwulski, Marek; Mikołajczak, Patrycja; Gąsecka, Monika; Sobieralski, Krzysztof; Szymańczyk, Mateusz; Goliński, Piotr

    2015-01-01

    The aim of the study was to analyse levels of 17 trace elements and 5 major minerals in 11 Boletus badius fruiting bodies able to grow in extremely polluted waste (flotation tailings) and polluted soil in southern Poland. The presented data widen the limited literature data about the abilities of wild-growing mushroom species to grow on heavily contaminated substrates. Content of elements in waste, soil and mushrooms was analysed by flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS) and cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometry (CVAAS - Hg). The industrial areas differed greatly as regards the content of elements in flotation tailings and soil; therefore differences in Ag, Ba, Cd, Co, Fe, Mo, Ni, Pb, Ca, K, Mg, Na and P accumulation in mushrooms were observed. The highest contents of elements in mushrooms were observed for: As, Al, Cu and Zn (86 ± 28, 549 ± 116, 341 ± 59 and 506 ± 40 mg kg(-1) dry matter, respectively). Calculated bioconcentration factor (BCF) values were higher than 1 for Al (15.1-16.9), Fe (10.6-24.4) and Hg (10.2-16.4) only. The main value of the presented results is the fact that one of the common wild-growing mushroom species was able to grow on flotation tailings containing over 22 g kg(-1) of As and, additionally, effective accumulation of other elements was observed. In view of the high content of the majority of analysed elements in fruiting bodies, edible mushrooms from such polluted areas are nonconsumable. PMID:25901855

  15. 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)

  16. A new ant genus from southern Argentina and southern Chile, Patagonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Johnson, Robert A; Moreau, Corrie S

    2016-01-01

    The ant genus Pogonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae) comprises 71 described species that occur in North America, South America, and Hispaniola, and it is the nominal genus in the recently established tribe Pogonomyrmecini. A molecular phylogeny using 3,647 base pairs from fragments of one mitochondrial gene (cytochrome oxidase I) and five nuclear genes (long-wavelength rhodopsin, elongation factor 1α F1, elongation factor 1α F2, wingless, rudimentary) inferred that Pogonomymrex was not monophyletic. The vast majority of species belonged to a monophyletic clade (Pogonomyrmex sensu stricto), whereas species in the Po. angustus-group formed a second lineage outside of Pogonomyrmex and Hylomyrma, the latter being the only other genus in the tribe. To maintain monophyly of Pogonomyrmex, we create the genus Patagonomyrmex gen. n., which consists of the three angustus-group species (Patagonomyrmex angustus comb. n., Patagonomyrmex laevigatus comb. n., and Patagonomyrmex odoratus comb. n.) that are sister to all other pogonomyrmecines. The genus is restricted to southern Argentina and southern and southcentral Chile. Workers are characterized by: (1) poorly-developed psammophore that consists of short to medium-length hairs scattered over the ventral surface of the head, (2) anterior clypeal margin strongly convex in full-face view, (3) clypeus strongly convex in profile, (4) superior and inferior propodeal spines long, (5) dorsal surface of promesonotum smooth and shiny, lacking rugae or if rugae present, then interrugae strongly granulate-punctate, (6) anteroventral margin of peduncle of the petiole with a small, acuminate spine, and (7) palp formula 5,4. We also provide information on biology, distribution maps, and a key to workers, queens, and males in English and Spanish. PMID:27470783

  17. How patrollers set foraging direction in harvester ants.

    PubMed

    Greene, Michael J; Gordon, Deborah M

    2007-12-01

    Recruitment to food or nest sites is well known in ants; the recruiting ants lay a chemical trail that other ants follow to the target site, or they walk with other ants to the target site. Here we report that a different process determines foraging direction in the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus. Each day, the colony chooses from among up to eight distinct foraging trails; colonies use different trails on different days. Here we show that the patrollers regulate the direction taken by foragers each day by depositing Dufour's secretions onto a sector of the nest mound about 20 cm long and leading to the beginning of a foraging trail. The patrollers do not recruit foragers all the way to food sources, which may be up to 20 m away. Fewer foragers traveled along a trail if patrollers had no access to the sector of the nest mound leading to that trail. Adding Dufour's gland extract to patroller-free sectors of the nest mound rescued foraging in that direction, while poison gland extract did not. We also found that in the absence of patrollers, most foragers used the direction they had used on the previous day. Thus, the colony's 30-50 patrollers act as gatekeepers for thousands of foragers and choose a foraging direction, but they do not recruit and lead foragers all the way to a food source. PMID:18171176

  18. Prevalence and genetic diversity of simian immunodeficiency virus infection in wild-living red colobus monkeys (Piliocolobus badius badius) from the Taï forest, Côte d'Ivoire SIVwrc in wild-living western red colobus monkeys.

    PubMed

    Locatelli, Sabrina; Liegeois, Florian; Lafay, Bénédicte; Roeder, Amy D; Bruford, Michael W; Formenty, Pierre; Noë, Ronald; Delaporte, Eric; Peeters, Martine

    2008-01-01

    Numerous African primates are infected with simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs). It is now well established that the clade of SIVs infecting west-central African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) and western gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) represent the progenitors of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), whereas HIV-2 results from different cross-species transmissions of SIVsmm from sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys atys). We present here the first molecular epidemiological survey of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVwrc) in wild-living western red colobus monkeys (Piliocolobus badius badius) which are frequently hunted by the human population and represent a favourite prey of western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus). We collected faecal samples (n=88) and we assessed individual discrimination by microsatellite analyses and visual observation. We tested the inferred 53 adult individuals belonging to two neighbouring habituated groups for presence of SIVwrc infection by viral RNA (vRNA) detection. We amplified viral polymerase (pol) (650 bp) and/or envelope (env) (570 bp) sequences in 14 individuals, resulting in a minimal prevalence of 26% among the individuals sampled, possibly reaching 50% when considering the relatively low sensitivity of viral RNA detection in faecal samples. With a few exceptions, phylogenetic analysis of pol and env sequences revealed a low degree of intragroup genetic diversity and a general viral clustering related to the social group of origin. However, we found a higher intergroup diversity. Behavioural and demographic data collected previously from these communities indicate that red colobus monkeys live in promiscuous multi-male societies, where females leave their natal group at the sub-adult stage of their lives and where extra-group copulations or male immigration have been rarely observed. The phylogenetic data we obtained seem to reflect these behavioural characteristics. Overall, our results indicate that

  19. Ant Tower

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mlot, Nathan; Shinotsuka, Sho; Hu, David

    2010-11-01

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

  20. Strategies for enhancing the production of penicillin G acylase from Bacillus badius: influence of phenyl acetic acid dosage.

    PubMed

    Rajendran, Karthikeyan; Mahadevan, Surianarayanan; Jeyaprakash, Rajendhran; Paramasamy, Gunasekaran; Mandal, Asit Baran

    2013-11-01

    Bacillus badius isolated from soil has been identified as potential producer of penicillin G acylase (PGA). In the present study, batch experiments performed at optimized inoculum size, temperature, pH, and agitation yielded a maximum PGA of 9.5 U/ml in shake flask. The experiments conducted in bioreactor with different oxygen flow rates revealed that 0.66 vvm oxygen flow rate could be sufficient for the maximum PGA activity of 12.7 U/ml. From a detailed investigation on the strategies of the addition of phenyl acetic acid (PAA) for increasing the production of PGA, it was found that the controlled addition of 10 ml of 0.1 % (w/v) PAA once in every 2 h from 6th hour of growth showed the maximum PGA activity of 32 U/ml. Thus, our studies for the first time showed that at concentration above 0.1 % (w/v) PAA, the PGA production decreased. This selective condition paves the way for less costly bioprocess for the production of PGA. PMID:23949729

  1. Ecosystem engineering of harvester ants: effects on vegetation in a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gosselin, Elyce N; Holbrook, Joseph D.; Huggler, Katey; Brown, Emily; Vierling, Kerri T.; Arkle, Robert; Pilliod, David

    2016-01-01

    Harvester ants are influential in many ecosystems because they distribute and consume seeds, remove vegetation, and redistribute soil particles and nutrients. Understanding the interaction between harvester ants and plant communities is important for management and restoration efforts, particularly in systems altered by fire and invasive species such as the sagebrush-steppe. Our objective was to evaluate how vegetation cover changed as a function of distance from Owyhee harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex salinus) nests within a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem. We sampled 105 harvester ant nests within southern Idaho, USA, that occurred in different habitats: annual grassland, perennial grassland, and native shrubland. The influence of Owyhee harvester ants on vegetation was larger at the edge of ant nests, but the relationship was inconsistent among plant species. Percent cover was positively associated with distance from harvester ant nests for plant species that were considered undesirable food sources and were densely distributed. However, percent cover was negatively associated with distance-from-nests for patchily distributed and desirable plant species. For some plant species, there was no change in cover associated with distance-from-nests. Total vegetation cover was associated with distance-from-nests in the shrubland habitat but not in the 2 grasslands. The dominant plant species in the shrubland habitat was a densely distributed shrub (winterfat, Krascheninnikovia lanata) that was defoliated by harvester ants. Our results suggest that Owyhee harvester ants increase spatial heterogeneity in plant communities through plant clearing, but the direction and magnitude of effect will likely be contingent on the dominant vegetation groups. This information may inform future management and plant restoration efforts in sagebrush-steppe by directly considering the islands of influence associated with harvester ant engineering.

  2. Transition of vegetation states positively affects harvester ants in the Great Basin, United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Holbrook, Joseph D.; Pilliod, David; Arkle, Robert; Rachlow, Janet L.; Vierling, Kerri T.; Wiest, Michelle M.

    2016-01-01

    Invasions by non-native plants can alter ecosystems such that new ecological states are reached, but less is known about how these transitions influence animal populations. Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) ecosystems are experiencing state changes because of fire and invasion by exotic annual grasses. Our goal was to study the effects of these state changes on the Owyhee and western harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex salinusOlsen and P. occidentalis Cresson, respectively). We sampled 358 1-ha plots across the northern Great Basin, which captured unburned and burned conditions across 1 −≥31 years postfire. Our results indicated an immediate and consistent change in vegetation states from shrubland to grassland between 1 and 31 years postfire. Harvester ant occupancy was unrelated to time since fire, whereas we observed a positive effect of fire on nest density. Similarly, we discovered that fire and invasion by exotic annuals were weak predictors of harvester ant occupancy but strong predictors of nest density. Occupancy of harvester ants was more likely in areas with finer-textured soils, low precipitation, abundant native forbs, and low shrub cover. Nest density was higher in arid locations that recently burned and exhibited abundant exotic annual and perennial (exotic and native) grasses. Finally, we discovered that burned areas that received postfire restoration had minimal influence on harvester ant occupancy or nest density compared with burned and untreated areas. These results suggest that fire-induced state changes from native shrublands to grasslands dominated by non-native grasses have a positive effect on density of harvester ants (but not occupancy), and that postfire restoration does not appear to positively or negatively affect harvester ants. Although wildfire and invasion by exotic annual grasses may negatively affect other species, harvester ants may indeed be one of the few winners among a myriad of losers linked to vegetation state changes within

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-03-01

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

  7. 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)

  8. 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

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Gordon, Deborah M

    2013-06-01

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

  11. The ant raft

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mlot, Nathan; Hu, David; Equabai, Solomon

    2009-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Greenfield, Gary; Machado, Penousal

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Greenfield, Gary; Machado, Penousal

    2015-01-01

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

  14. Acoustic communication by ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hickling, Robert

    2002-05-01

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

  15. Ant-nest ichnofossils in honeycomb calcretes, Neogene Ogallala Formation, High Plains region of western Kansas, U.S.A.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, J.J.; Platt, B.F.; Ludvigson, Greg A.; Thomasson, J.R.

    2011-01-01

    Two new ant-nest trace fossils are described from calcic sandy paleosols of the Neogene Ogallala Formation in western Kansas. The ichnofossils are preserved within and below calcrete beds weathering in positive relief as carbonate-filled casts or as cavities in negative relief. Daimoniobarax ichnogenus nov. is established for burrow systems composed of vertically tiered, horizontally oriented pancake-shaped chambers connected by predominantly vertical and cylindrical shafts ~. 0.8. cm in diameter. Ichnospecies of Daimoniobarax are differentiated based on differences in the plan view outline of chambers, shaft orientation, and junctions between chambers and shafts.Daimoniobarax nephroides ichnospecies nov. is composed of an ~. 24-76. cm long vertical sequence of distinctly lobed chambers (~. 2-20. cm wide and ~. 1. cm high) arranged along sinuous to helical shafts. Chamber shape in plan view ranges from small teardrops to larger kidney- and U-shaped forms. Shafts intersect at chamber edges such that chambers appear to bud from the central shafts. Daimoniobarax nephroides is most similar to the nests of extant seed-harvester ants of the New World genus Pogonomyrmex. Such ants are specialized granivores and prefer sandy soils in arid to semi-arid grassland and desert regions.Daimoniobarax tschinkeli ichnospecies nov. is ~. 30-80. cm in vertical extent. Chambers (~. 2-30. cm wide and ~. 1. cm high) are circular to elongate or pseudopodial in plan view. Vertical shafts are straight to slightly sinuous and intersect most often toward the center of the chambers. The generalized architecture of D. tschinkeli is similar to that of the nests or nest portions of several extant ant genera, though it does not closely resemble any known modern nest.Ant ichnofossils provide valuable information on hidden biodiversity, paleohydrologic regimes, paleopedogenic processes, and paleoclimate during the time of nest occupation. Depth-related changes in chamber size and vertical spacing

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Social groups balance flexibility and robustness in their collective response to environmental changes using feedback between behavioural processes that operate at different timescales. Here we examine how behavioural processes operating at two timescales regulate the foraging activity of colonies of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, allowing them to balance their response to food availability and predation. Previous work showed that the rate at which foragers return to the nest with food influences the rate at which foragers leave the nest. To investigate how interactions inside the nest link the rates of returning and outgoing foragers, we observed outgoing foragers inside the nest in field colonies using a novel observation method. We found that the interaction rate experienced by outgoing foragers inside the nest corresponded to forager return rate, and that the interactions of outgoing foragers were spatially clustered. Activation of a forager occurred on the timescale of seconds: a forager left the nest 3–8 s after a substantial increase in interactions with returning foragers. The availability of outgoing foragers to become activated was adjusted on the timescale of minutes: when forager return was interrupted for more than 4–5 min, available foragers waiting near the nest entrance went deeper into the nest. Thus, forager activation and forager availability both increased with the rate at which foragers returned to the nest. This process was checked by negative feedback between forager activation and forager availability. Regulation of foraging activation on the timescale of seconds provides flexibility in response to fluctuations in food abundance, whereas regulation of forager availability on the timescale of minutes provides robustness in response to sustained disturbance such as predation. PMID:24031094

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-07-01

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

  18. Does an ecological advantage produce the asymmetric lineage ratio in a harvester ant population?

    PubMed

    Gordon, Deborah M; Pilko, Anna; De Bortoli, Nicolas; Ingram, Krista K

    2013-11-01

    In dependent-lineage harvester ant populations, two lineages interbreed but are genetically distinct. The offspring of a male and queen of the same lineage are female reproductives; the offspring of a male and queen of different lineages are workers. Geographic surveys have shown asymmetries in the ratio of the two lineages in many harvester ant populations, which may be maintained by an ecological advantage to one of the lineages. Using census data from a long-term study of a dependent-lineage population of the red harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, we identified the lineage of 130 colonies sampled in 1997-1999, ranging in age from 1 to 19 years when collected, and 268 colonies sampled in 2010, ranging in age from 1 to 28 years when collected. The ratio of lineages in the study population is similar across an 11-year interval, 0.59 J2 in 1999 and 0.66 J2 in 2010. The rare lineage, J1, had a slightly but significantly higher number of mates of the opposite lineage than the common lineage, J2, and, using data from previous work on reproductive output, higher male production. Mature colonies of the two lineages did not differ in nest mound size, foraging activity, or the propensity to relocate their nests. There were no strong differences in the relative recruitment or survivorship of the two lineages. Our results show no ecological advantage for either lineage, indicating that differences between the lineages in sex ratio allocation may be sufficient to maintain the current asymmetry of the lineage ratio in this population.

  19. The first mesozoic ants.

    PubMed

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

    1967-09-01

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

  20. Field techniques for sampling ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  1. Genetic caste determination in harvester ants: possible origin and maintenance by cyto-nuclear epistasis.

    PubMed

    Linksvayer, Timothy A; Wade, Michael J; Gordon, Deborah M

    2006-09-01

    While reproductive caste in eusocial insects is usually determined by environmental factors, in some populations of the harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex barbatus and P. rugosus, caste has been shown to have a strong genetic component. This system of genetic caste determination (GCD) is characterized by between-caste nuclear variation and high levels of mitochondrial haplotype variation between alternative maternal lineages. Two previous genetic models, involving a single nuclear caste-determining locus or interactions between two nuclear loci, respectively, have been proposed to explain the GCD system. We propose a new model based on interactions between nuclear and mitochondrial genes that can better explain the co-maintenance of distinct nuclear and mitochondrial lineages. In our model, females with coevolved cyto-nuclear gene complexes, derived from intra-lineage mating, develop into gynes, while females with disrupted cyto-nuclear complexes, derived from inter-lineage mating, develop into workers. Both haplodiploidy and inbreeding facilitate the buildup of such coevolved cyto-nuclear complexes within lineages. In addition, the opportunity for both intra-lineage and inter-lineage mating in polyandrous populations facilitates the accumulation of gyne-biasing genes. This model may also help to explain the evolution of workerless social, parasites. We discuss similarities of GCD and cytoplasmic male sterility in plants and how worker production of males would affect the stability of GCD. Finally, we propose experiments and observations that might help resolve the origin and maintenance of this unusual system of caste determination. PMID:16995617

  2. Sick ants become unsociable.

    PubMed

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

    2012-02-01

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

  3. Sick ants become unsociable.

    PubMed

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

    2012-02-01

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

  4. Fire Ant Bites

    MedlinePlus

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

  5. Ant traffic rules.

    PubMed

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

    2010-07-15

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

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  8. Fungus-growing ants.

    PubMed

    Weber, N A

    1966-08-01

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

  9. 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

  10. Alate susceptibility in ants.

    PubMed

    Ho, Eddie K H; Frederickson, Megan E

    2014-11-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. Ant-based computing.

    PubMed

    Michael, Loizos

    2009-01-01

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

  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. 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.

  16. Army ants: an evolutionary bestseller?

    PubMed

    Berghoff, Stefanie M

    2003-09-01

    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.

  17. Fire Ant Allergy

    MedlinePlus

    ... In extreme cases, a rapid fall in blood pressure may result in shock and loss of consciousness. Symptoms of anaphylaxis require emergency medical treatment. Given the severity of a potential reaction, an accurate diagnosis for fire ant allergy is key to being prepared for ...

  18. 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…

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Potiwat, Rutcharin; Sitcharungsi, Raweerat

    2015-12-01

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

  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. 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

  3. Distributed nestmate recognition in ants.

    PubMed

    Esponda, Fernando; Gordon, Deborah M

    2015-05-01

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

  4. Mechanics of fire ant aggregations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tennenbaum, Michael; Liu, Zhongyang; Hu, David; Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto

    2016-01-01

    Fire ants link their bodies to form aggregations; these can adopt a variety of structures, they can drip and spread, or withstand applied loads. Here, by using oscillatory rheology, we show that fire ant aggregations are viscoelastic. We find that, at the lowest ant densities probed and in the linear regime, the elastic and viscous moduli are essentially identical over the spanned frequency range, which highlights the absence of a dominant mode of structural relaxation. As ant density increases, the elastic modulus rises, which we interpret by alluding to ant crowding and subsequent jamming. When deformed beyond the linear regime, the aggregation flows, exhibiting shear-thinning behaviour with a stress load that is comparable to the maximum load the aggregation can withstand before individual ants are torn apart. Our findings illustrate the rich, collective mechanical behaviour that can arise in aggregations of active, interacting building blocks.

  5. Mechanics of fire ant aggregations.

    PubMed

    Tennenbaum, Michael; Liu, Zhongyang; Hu, David; Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto

    2016-01-01

    Fire ants link their bodies to form aggregations; these can adopt a variety of structures, they can drip and spread, or withstand applied loads. Here, by using oscillatory rheology, we show that fire ant aggregations are viscoelastic. We find that, at the lowest ant densities probed and in the linear regime, the elastic and viscous moduli are essentially identical over the spanned frequency range, which highlights the absence of a dominant mode of structural relaxation. As ant density increases, the elastic modulus rises, which we interpret by alluding to ant crowding and subsequent jamming. When deformed beyond the linear regime, the aggregation flows, exhibiting shear-thinning behaviour with a stress load that is comparable to the maximum load the aggregation can withstand before individual ants are torn apart. Our findings illustrate the rich, collective mechanical behaviour that can arise in aggregations of active, interacting building blocks. PMID:26501413

  6. Parasitoid secretions provoke ant warfare.

    PubMed

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

    2002-05-30

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-05-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

    Social insect colonies operate without central control or any global assessment of what needs to be done by workers. Colony organization arises from the responses of individuals to local cues. Red harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) regulate foraging using interactions between returning and outgoing foragers. The rate at which foragers return with seeds, a measure of food availability, sets the rate at which outgoing foragers leave the nest on foraging trips. We used mimics to test whether outgoing foragers inside the nest respond to the odor of food, oleic acid, the odor of the forager itself, cuticular hydrocarbons, or a combination of both with increased foraging activity. We compared foraging activity, the rate at which foragers passed a line on a trail, before and after the addition of mimics. The combination of both odors, those of food and of foragers, is required to stimulate foraging. The addition of blank mimics, mimics coated with food odor alone, or mimics coated with forager odor alone did not increase foraging activity. We compared the rates at which foragers inside the nest interacted with other ants, blank mimics, and mimics coated with a combination of food and forager odor. Foragers inside the nest interacted more with mimics coated with combined forager/seed odors than with blank mimics, and these interactions had the same effect as those with other foragers. Outgoing foragers inside the nest entrance are stimulated to leave the nest in search of food by interacting with foragers returning with seeds. By using the combined odors of forager cuticular hydrocarbons and of seeds, the colony captures precise information, on the timescale of seconds, about the current availability of food.

  11. 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...

  12. Inter-genomic sexual conflict drives antagonistic coevolution in harvester ants.

    PubMed

    Herrmann, Michael; Cahan, Sara Helms

    2014-12-22

    The reproductive interests of males and females are not always aligned, leading to sexual conflict over parental investment, rate of reproduction and mate choice. Traits that increase the genetic interests of one sex often occur at the expense of the other, selecting for counter-adaptations leading to antagonistic coevolution. Reproductive conflict is not limited to intraspecific interactions; interspecific hybridization can produce pronounced sexual conflict between males and females of different species, but it is unclear whether such conflict can drive sexually antagonistic coevolution between reproductively isolated genomes. We tested for hybridization-driven sexually antagonistic adaptations in queens and males of the socially hybridogenetic 'J' lineages of Pogonomyrmex harvester ants, whose mating system promotes hybridization in queens but selects against it in males. We conducted no-choice mating assays to compare patterns of mating behaviour and sperm transfer between inter- and intra-lineage pairings. There was no evidence for mate discrimination on the basis of pair type, and the total quantity of sperm transferred did not differ between intra- and inter-lineage pairs; however, further dissection of the sperm transfer process into distinct mechanistic components revealed significant, and opposing, cryptic manipulation of copulatory investment by both sexes. Males of both lineages increased their rate of sperm transfer to high-fitness intra-lineage mates, with a stronger response in the rarer lineage for whom mating mistakes are the most likely. By contrast, the total duration of copulation for intra-lineage mating pairs was significantly shorter than for inter-lineage crosses, suggesting that queens respond to prevent excessive sperm loading by prematurely terminating copulation. These findings demonstrate that sexual conflict can lead to antagonistic coevolution in both intra-genomic and inter-genomic contexts. Indeed, the resolution of sexual conflict

  13. Inter-genomic sexual conflict drives antagonistic coevolution in harvester ants

    PubMed Central

    Herrmann, Michael; Cahan, Sara Helms

    2014-01-01

    The reproductive interests of males and females are not always aligned, leading to sexual conflict over parental investment, rate of reproduction and mate choice. Traits that increase the genetic interests of one sex often occur at the expense of the other, selecting for counter-adaptations leading to antagonistic coevolution. Reproductive conflict is not limited to intraspecific interactions; interspecific hybridization can produce pronounced sexual conflict between males and females of different species, but it is unclear whether such conflict can drive sexually antagonistic coevolution between reproductively isolated genomes. We tested for hybridization-driven sexually antagonistic adaptations in queens and males of the socially hybridogenetic ‘J’ lineages of Pogonomyrmex harvester ants, whose mating system promotes hybridization in queens but selects against it in males. We conducted no-choice mating assays to compare patterns of mating behaviour and sperm transfer between inter- and intra-lineage pairings. There was no evidence for mate discrimination on the basis of pair type, and the total quantity of sperm transferred did not differ between intra- and inter-lineage pairs; however, further dissection of the sperm transfer process into distinct mechanistic components revealed significant, and opposing, cryptic manipulation of copulatory investment by both sexes. Males of both lineages increased their rate of sperm transfer to high-fitness intra-lineage mates, with a stronger response in the rarer lineage for whom mating mistakes are the most likely. By contrast, the total duration of copulation for intra-lineage mating pairs was significantly shorter than for inter-lineage crosses, suggesting that queens respond to prevent excessive sperm loading by prematurely terminating copulation. These findings demonstrate that sexual conflict can lead to antagonistic coevolution in both intra-genomic and inter-genomic contexts. Indeed, the resolution of sexual

  14. Communal nutrition in ants.

    PubMed

    Dussutour, Audrey; Simpson, Stephen J

    2009-05-12

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

  15. Autonomy in ants and humans.

    PubMed

    Carpendale, Jeremy I M; Frayn, Michael

    2016-01-01

    Drawing lessons regarding the consequences of ultrasociality in ants and humans depends crucially on recognizing differences as well as similarities in the way that species are social. We focus on Gowdy & Krall's use of the concept of autonomy to explicate essential differences in the ways in which ants and humans are social. PMID:27562193

  16. 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.

  17. Dominance Hierarchies in Leptothorax Ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cole, Blaine J.

    1981-04-01

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

  18. Ant navigation: reading geometrical signposts.

    PubMed

    Collett, Thomas S; Waxman, David

    2005-03-01

    Ants often travel along complex pheromone trail systems between their nest and foraging areas. A new and surprising discovery is that Pharaoh's ants can work out from the geometry of individual branch points on the trail whether they are heading towards or away from the nest. PMID:15753029

  19. AntR-mediated bidirectional activation of antA and antR, anthranilate degradative genes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

    PubMed

    Kim, Soo-Kyoung; Im, Su-Jin; Yeom, Doo-Hwan; Lee, Joon-Hee

    2012-08-15

    Bidirectional activation of transcription is a peculiar regulation mode of gene expression. In this study, we show that genes involved in the metabolism of anthranilate, a precursor of biosynthesis of tryptophan and Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) are regulated by this bidirectional activation of transcription. Anthranilate is degraded by anthranilate dioxygenase complex encoded by antABC operon, and AntR, a LysR-type regulator encoded by antR activates the transcription of antABC operon in the presence of anthranilate. In P. aeruginosa, antABC and antR are divergently located and AntR binds to the intergenic region between antA and antR to activate the antABC transcription. In this study, we determined the transcriptional start site of the antA promoter (antA(p)) and AntR-responsive elements (AREs) in P. aeruginosa. The upstream deletion analysis of antA(p) and in vitro gel shift assay with purified AntR showed that there are two AREs at -194 to -148 and -88 to -47 regions. We also found that AntR activates antR promoter (antR(p)) in the opposite direction and both AREs are important in the bidirectional activation of antA(p) and antR(p). Two AREs have different binding affinities to AntR and the strength of transcriptional activation was dramatically asymmetric depending on the direction. We suggest that the different affinities of two AREs may explain the asymmetry of the bidirectional activation by AntR. PMID:22609066

  20. FORMIDABEL: The Belgian Ants Database

    PubMed Central

    Brosens, Dimitri; Vankerkhoven, François; Ignace, David; Wegnez, Philippe; Noé, Nicolas; Heughebaert, André; Bortels, Jeannine; Dekoninck, Wouter

    2013-01-01

    Abstract FORMIDABEL is a database of Belgian Ants containing more than 27.000 occurrence records. These records originate from collections, field sampling and literature. The database gives information on 76 native and 9 introduced ant species found in Belgium. The collection records originated mainly from the ants collection in Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), the ‘Gaspar’ Ants collection in Gembloux and the zoological collection of the University of Liège (ULG). The oldest occurrences date back from May 1866, the most recent refer to August 2012. FORMIDABEL is a work in progress and the database is updated twice a year. The latest version of the dataset is publicly and freely accessible through this url: http://ipt.biodiversity.be/resource.do?r=formidabel. The dataset is also retrievable via the GBIF data portal through this link: http://data.gbif.org/datasets/resource/14697 A dedicated geo-portal, developed by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform is accessible at: http://www.formicidae-atlas.be Purpose: FORMIDABEL is a joint cooperation of the Flemish ants working group “Polyergus” (http://formicidae.be) and the Wallonian ants working group “FourmisWalBru” (http://fourmiswalbru.be). The original database was created in 2002 in the context of the preliminary red data book of Flemish Ants (Dekoninck et al. 2003). Later, in 2005, data from the Southern part of Belgium; Wallonia and Brussels were added. In 2012 this dataset was again updated for the creation of the first Belgian Ants Atlas (Figure 1) (Dekoninck et al. 2012). The main purpose of this atlas was to generate maps for all outdoor-living ant species in Belgium using an overlay of the standard Belgian ecoregions. By using this overlay for most species, we can discern a clear and often restricted distribution pattern in Belgium, mainly based on vegetation and soil types. PMID:23794918

  1. Dynamics of fire ant aggregations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tennenbaum, Michael; Hu, David; Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto

    Fire ant aggregations are an inherently active system. Each ant harvests its own energy and can convert it into motion. The motion of individual ants contributes non-trivially to the bulk material properties of the aggregation. We have measured some of these properties using plate-plate rheology, where the response to an applied external force or deformation is measured. In this talk, we will present data pertaining to the aggregation behavior in the absence of any external force. We quantify the aggregation dynamics by monitoring the rotation of the top plate and by measuring the normal force. We then compare the results with visualizations of 2D aggregations.

  2. Do ants make direct comparisons?

    PubMed

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

    2009-07-22

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

  3. Trap-mulching Argentine ants.

    PubMed

    Silverman, Jules; Sorenson, Clyde E; Waldvogel, Michael G

    2006-10-01

    Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), management is constrained, in large part, by polydomy where nestmates are distributed extensively across urban landscapes, particularly within mulch. Management with trap-mulching is a novel approach derived from trap-cropping where ants are repelled from a broad domain of nest sites to smaller defined areas, which are subsequently treated with insecticide. This concept was field-tested with mulch surrounding ornamental trees replaced with a narrow band of pine (Pinus spp.) needle mulch (trap) within a much larger patch of repellent aromatic cedar (Juniperus spp.) mulch. After ants reestablished around the trees, the pine needle mulch band was treated with 0.06% fipronil (Termidor). Poor results were obtained when the trap extended from the tree trunk to the edge of the mulched area. When the trap was applied as a circular band around the tree trunk reductions in the number of foraging ants were recorded through 14 d compared with an untreated mulch control, but not for longer periods. Reductions in the number of ant nests within mulch were no different between the trap mulch and any of the other treatments. We conclude that trap-mulching offers limited benefits, and that successful management of Argentine ants will require implementation of complementary or perhaps alternative strategies.

  4. Do ants make direct comparisons?

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  5. Measuring activity in ant colonies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noda, C.; Fernández, J.; Pérez-Penichet, C.; Altshuler, E.

    2006-12-01

    Ants, as paradigm of social insects, have become a recurrent example of efficient problem solvers via self-organization. In spite of the simple behavior of each individual, the colony as a whole displays "swarm intelligence:" the organization of ant trails for foraging is a typical output of it. But conventional techniques of observation can hardly record the amount of data needed to get a detailed understanding of self-organization of ant swarms in the wild. Here we are presenting a measurement system intended to monitor ant activity in the field comprising massive data acquisition and high sensitivity. A central role is played by an infrared sensor devised specifically to monitor relevant parameters to the activity of ants through the exits of the nest, although other sensors detecting temperature and luminosity are added to the system. We study the characteristics of the activity sensor and its performance in the field. Finally, we present massive data measured at one exit of a nest of Atta insularis, an ant endemic to Cuba, to illustrate the potential of our system.

  6. Monoculture of Leafcutter Ant Gardens

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  7. Macroevolutionary assembly of ant/plant symbioses: Pseudomyrmex ants and their ant-housing plants in the Neotropics.

    PubMed

    Chomicki, Guillaume; Ward, Philip S; Renner, Susanne S

    2015-11-22

    Symbioses include some of the clearest cases of coevolution, but their origin, loss or reassembly with different partners can rarely be inferred. Here we use ant/plant symbioses involving three plant clades to investigate the evolution of symbioses. We generated phylogenies for the big-eyed arboreal ants (Pseudomyrmecinae), including 72% of their 286 species, as well as for five of their plant host groups, in each case sampling more than 61% of the species. We show that the ant-housing Vachellia (Mimosoideae) clade and its ants co-diversified for the past 5 Ma, with some species additionally colonized by younger plant-nesting ant species, some parasitic. An apparent co-radiation of ants and Tachigali (Caesalpinioideae) was followed by waves of colonization by the same ant clade, and subsequent occupation by a younger ant group. Wide crown and stem age differences between the ant-housing genus Triplaris (Polygonaceae) and its obligate ant inhabitants, and stochastic trait mapping, indicate that its domatium evolved earlier than the ants now occupying it, suggesting previous symbioses that dissolved. Parasitic ant species evolved from generalists, not from mutualists, and are younger than the mutualistic systems they parasitize. Our study illuminates the macroevolutionary assembly of ant/plant symbioses, which has been highly dynamic, even in very specialized systems. PMID:26582029

  8. Macroevolutionary assembly of ant/plant symbioses: Pseudomyrmex ants and their ant-housing plants in the Neotropics.

    PubMed

    Chomicki, Guillaume; Ward, Philip S; Renner, Susanne S

    2015-11-22

    Symbioses include some of the clearest cases of coevolution, but their origin, loss or reassembly with different partners can rarely be inferred. Here we use ant/plant symbioses involving three plant clades to investigate the evolution of symbioses. We generated phylogenies for the big-eyed arboreal ants (Pseudomyrmecinae), including 72% of their 286 species, as well as for five of their plant host groups, in each case sampling more than 61% of the species. We show that the ant-housing Vachellia (Mimosoideae) clade and its ants co-diversified for the past 5 Ma, with some species additionally colonized by younger plant-nesting ant species, some parasitic. An apparent co-radiation of ants and Tachigali (Caesalpinioideae) was followed by waves of colonization by the same ant clade, and subsequent occupation by a younger ant group. Wide crown and stem age differences between the ant-housing genus Triplaris (Polygonaceae) and its obligate ant inhabitants, and stochastic trait mapping, indicate that its domatium evolved earlier than the ants now occupying it, suggesting previous symbioses that dissolved. Parasitic ant species evolved from generalists, not from mutualists, and are younger than the mutualistic systems they parasitize. Our study illuminates the macroevolutionary assembly of ant/plant symbioses, which has been highly dynamic, even in very specialized systems.

  9. How ants drop out: ant abundance on tropical mountains.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. Ants medicate to fight disease.

    PubMed

    Bos, Nick; Sundström, Liselotte; Fuchs, Siiri; Freitak, Dalial

    2015-11-01

    Parasites are ubiquitous, and the ability to defend against these is of paramount importance. One way to fight diseases is self-medication, which occurs when an organism consumes biologically active compounds to clear, inhibit, or alleviate disease symptoms. Here, we show for the first time that ants selectively consume harmful substances (reactive oxygen species, ROS) upon exposure to a fungal pathogen, yet avoid these in the absence of infection. This increased intake of ROS, while harmful to healthy ants, leads to higher survival of exposed ants. The fact that ingestion of this substance carries a fitness cost in the absence of pathogens rules out compensatory diet choice as the mechanism, and provides evidence that social insects medicate themselves against fungal infection, using a substance that carries a fitness cost to uninfected individuals.

  13. Myrmecotrophy: Plants fed by ants.

    PubMed

    Beattie, A

    1989-06-01

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

  14. Ant opsins: sequences from the Saharan silver ant and the carpenter ant.

    PubMed

    Popp, M P; Grisshammer, R; Hargrave, P A; Smith, W C

    1996-03-01

    cDNA clones encoding opsins from compound eyes of carpenter ant, Camponotus abdominalis, and Saharan silver ant, Cataglyphis bombycina, were isolated from cDNA libraries. The opsin cDNAs from each species code for deduced proteins with 378 amino acids which are 92% identical. Of the 30 amino acid differences between the two proteins, 13 are non-conservative. Eight of these non-conservative substitutions are within the membrane spanning domain. The presence of a potential Schiff-base counterion in helix III in both species suggests that these opsins are the protein moiety of the visible range pigments. When compared to all known opsins, these opsins are most similar to the opsin from preying mantis (76% identity at the amino acid level). Phyletic comparisons group the two ant opsins with the other arthropod long wavelength opsins.

  15. Ant opsins: sequences from the Saharan silver ant and the carpenter ant.

    PubMed

    Popp, M P; Grisshammer, R; Hargrave, P A; Smith, W C

    1996-03-01

    cDNA clones encoding opsins from compound eyes of carpenter ant, Camponotus abdominalis, and Saharan silver ant, Cataglyphis bombycina, were isolated from cDNA libraries. The opsin cDNAs from each species code for deduced proteins with 378 amino acids which are 92% identical. Of the 30 amino acid differences between the two proteins, 13 are non-conservative. Eight of these non-conservative substitutions are within the membrane spanning domain. The presence of a potential Schiff-base counterion in helix III in both species suggests that these opsins are the protein moiety of the visible range pigments. When compared to all known opsins, these opsins are most similar to the opsin from preying mantis (76% identity at the amino acid level). Phyletic comparisons group the two ant opsins with the other arthropod long wavelength opsins. PMID:9372150

  16. Biological control of red imported fire ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Two species of Imported Fire Ants (IFA), the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, and the Black Imported Fire Ant, S. richteri Forel, were introduced into the United States in the early 1900s and currently inhabit over 320 million acres in the southern United States and Puerto Rico. Red ...

  17. Using Ants To Investigate the Environment.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hagevik, Rita A.

    2003-01-01

    Describes three inquiry-based activities designed for students to begin to understand complex environmental relationships in their own backyard. Includes investigations of ants, which allow students to establish a baseline survey of ant fauna, test the importance of ants in nutrient cycling and soil structure maintenances, and increase student…

  18. Using Ants to Investigate the Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hagevik, Rita A.

    2005-01-01

    The best place for students to begin to understand complex environmental relationships is in their own back yards. Doing investigations of ants allows students to establish a baseline survey of ant fauna, test the importance of ants in nutrient cycling and soil structure maintenance, and increase their understanding of the environment and their…

  19. Raves & rants about invasive crazy ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Crazy ants” is a name that refers to various species of ants that are characterized by erratic, scurrying, or running, behavior when disturbed. Two of these species, the yellow crazy ant and the Caribbean or Rasberry [sic] crazy ant, are invasive with extremely large populations that inundate lands...

  20. Ants, Wasps, and Bees (Hymenoptera)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  1. Ant Ecdysteroid Extraction and Radioimmunoassay

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ecdysteroids are a group of steroid compounds present in many plant and invertebrate species. In arthropods, they function primarily as hormones involved in the regulation of molting. This protocol describes how to extract ecdysteroid hormones from ant specimens and subsequently quantify circulating...

  2. Optimal cue integration in ants.

    PubMed

    Wystrach, Antoine; Mangan, Michael; Webb, Barbara

    2015-10-01

    In situations with redundant or competing sensory information, humans have been shown to perform cue integration, weighting different cues according to their certainty in a quantifiably optimal manner. Ants have been shown to merge the directional information available from their path integration (PI) and visual memory, but as yet it is not clear that they do so in a way that reflects the relative certainty of the cues. In this study, we manipulate the variance of the PI home vector by allowing ants (Cataglyphis velox) to run different distances and testing their directional choice when the PI vector direction is put in competition with visual memory. Ants show progressively stronger weighting of their PI direction as PI length increases. The weighting is quantitatively predicted by modelling the expected directional variance of home vectors of different lengths and assuming optimal cue integration. However, a subsequent experiment suggests ants may not actually compute an internal estimate of the PI certainty, but are using the PI home vector length as a proxy.

  3. Evolutional Ant Colony Method Using PSO

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morii, Nobuto; Aiyoshi, Eitarou

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

  4. Tournaments and slavery in a desert ant.

    PubMed

    Hölldobler, B

    1976-05-28

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

  5. Methods for Casting Subterranean Ant Nests

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2010-01-01

    The study of subterranean ant nests has been impeded by the difficulty of rendering their structures in visible form. Here, several different casting materials are shown to make perfect casts of the underground nests of ants. Each material (dental plaster, paraffin wax, aluminum, zinc) has advantages and limitations, which are discussed. Some of the materials allow the recovery of the ants entombed in the casts, allowing a census of the ants to be connected with features of their nest architecture. The necessary equipment and procedures are described in the hope that more researchers will study this very important aspect of ant natural history. PMID:20673073

  6. Quantifying ant activity using vibration measurements.

    PubMed

    Oberst, Sebastian; Baro, Enrique Nava; Lai, Joseph C S; Evans, Theodore A

    2014-01-01

    Ant behaviour is of great interest due to their sociality. Ant behaviour is typically observed visually, however there are many circumstances where visual observation is not possible. It may be possible to assess ant behaviour using vibration signals produced by their physical movement. We demonstrate through a series of bioassays with different stimuli that the level of activity of meat ants (Iridomyrmex purpureus) can be quantified using vibrations, corresponding to observations with video. We found that ants exposed to physical shaking produced the highest average vibration amplitudes followed by ants with stones to drag, then ants with neighbours, illuminated ants and ants in darkness. In addition, we devised a novel method based on wavelet decomposition to separate the vibration signal owing to the initial ant behaviour from the substrate response, which will allow signals recorded from different substrates to be compared directly. Our results indicate the potential to use vibration signals to classify some ant behaviours in situations where visual observation could be difficult.

  7. Circumvention of prey defense by a predator: ant lion vs. ant.

    PubMed Central

    Eisner, T; Baldwin, I T; Conner, J

    1993-01-01

    The pit-dwelling ant lion Myrmeleon carolinus, although topically sensitive to formic acid, is able to prey on formic acid-spraying ants (Camponotus floridanus). It kills the ants without inducing them to spray, and it sucks out the ant's body contents without puncturing the acid sac. Ordinarily, when Camponotus is attacked it retaliates by simultaneously biting and spraying, but it usually refrains from spraying until it has secured a grip with the mandibles. When Myrmeleon pulls Camponotus into the sand at the bottom of the pit, the ant is seemingly unable to grasp the ant lion and it is killed without being induced to spray. When feeding on the ant, the ant lion sucks up the contents of the nutrient-laden crop. How the ant lion differentiates between crop and acid sac, managing to spare the latter while rupturing the former, remains unknown. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 4 PMID:11607414

  8. 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.

  9. Team swimming in ant spermatozoa.

    PubMed

    Pearcy, Morgan; Delescaille, Noémie; Lybaert, Pascale; Aron, Serge

    2014-06-01

    In species where females mate promiscuously, competition between ejaculates from different males to fertilize the ova is an important selective force shaping many aspects of male reproductive traits, such as sperm number, sperm length and sperm-sperm interactions. In eusocial Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants), males die shortly after mating and their reproductive success is ultimately limited by the amount of sperm stored in the queen's spermatheca. Multiple mating by queens is expected to impose intense selective pressure on males to optimize the transfer of sperm to the storage organ. Here, we report a remarkable case of cooperation between spermatozoa in the desert ant Cataglyphis savignyi. Males ejaculate bundles of 50-100 spermatozoa. Sperm bundles swim on average 51% faster than solitary sperm cells. Team swimming is expected to increase the amount of sperm stored in the queen spermatheca and, ultimately, enhance male posthumous fitness. PMID:24919705

  10. Team swimming in ant spermatozoa.

    PubMed

    Pearcy, Morgan; Delescaille, Noémie; Lybaert, Pascale; Aron, Serge

    2014-06-01

    In species where females mate promiscuously, competition between ejaculates from different males to fertilize the ova is an important selective force shaping many aspects of male reproductive traits, such as sperm number, sperm length and sperm-sperm interactions. In eusocial Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants), males die shortly after mating and their reproductive success is ultimately limited by the amount of sperm stored in the queen's spermatheca. Multiple mating by queens is expected to impose intense selective pressure on males to optimize the transfer of sperm to the storage organ. Here, we report a remarkable case of cooperation between spermatozoa in the desert ant Cataglyphis savignyi. Males ejaculate bundles of 50-100 spermatozoa. Sperm bundles swim on average 51% faster than solitary sperm cells. Team swimming is expected to increase the amount of sperm stored in the queen spermatheca and, ultimately, enhance male posthumous fitness.

  11. Team swimming in ant spermatozoa

    PubMed Central

    Pearcy, Morgan; Delescaille, Noémie; Lybaert, Pascale; Aron, Serge

    2014-01-01

    In species where females mate promiscuously, competition between ejaculates from different males to fertilize the ova is an important selective force shaping many aspects of male reproductive traits, such as sperm number, sperm length and sperm–sperm interactions. In eusocial Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants), males die shortly after mating and their reproductive success is ultimately limited by the amount of sperm stored in the queen's spermatheca. Multiple mating by queens is expected to impose intense selective pressure on males to optimize the transfer of sperm to the storage organ. Here, we report a remarkable case of cooperation between spermatozoa in the desert ant Cataglyphis savignyi. Males ejaculate bundles of 50–100 spermatozoa. Sperm bundles swim on average 51% faster than solitary sperm cells. Team swimming is expected to increase the amount of sperm stored in the queen spermatheca and, ultimately, enhance male posthumous fitness. PMID:24919705

  12. Revolutionizing Remote Exploration with ANTS

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2002-05-01

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

  13. Fire ant-detecting canines: a complementary method in detecting red imported fire ants.

    PubMed

    Lin, Hui-Min; Chi, Wei-Lien; Lin, Chung-Chi; Tseng, Yu-Ching; Chen, Wang-Ting; Kung, Yu-Ling; Lien, Yi-Yang; Chen, Yang-Yuan

    2011-02-01

    In this investigation, detection dogs are trained and used in identifying red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, and their nests. The methodology could assist in reducing the frequency and scope of chemical treatments for red imported fire ant management and thus reduce labor costs and chemical use as well as improve control and quarantine efficiency. Three dogs previously trained for customs quarantine were retrained to detect the scents of red imported fire ants. After passing tests involving different numbers of live red imported fire ants and three other ant species--Crematogaster rogenhoferi Mayr, Paratrechina longicornis Latreille, and Pheidole megacephala F.--placed in containers, ajoint field survey for red imported fire ant nests by detection dogs and bait traps was conducted to demonstrate their use as a supplement to conventional detection methods. The most significant findings in this report are (1) with 10 or more red imported fire ants in scent containers, the dogs had >98% chance in tracing the red imported fire ant. Upon the introduction of other ant species, the dogs still achieved on average, a 93% correct red imported fire ant indication rate. Moreover, the dogs demonstrated great competence in pinpointing emerging and smaller red imported fire ant nests in red imported fire ant-infested areas that had been previously confirmed by bait trap stations. (2) Along with the bait trap method, we also discovered that approximately 90% of red imported fire ants foraged within a distance of 14 m away from their nests. The results prove detection dogs to be most effective for red imported fire ant control in areas that have been previously treated with pesticides and therefore containing a low density of remaining red imported fire ant nests. Furthermore, as a complement to other red imported fire ant monitoring methods, this strategy will significantly increase the efficacy of red imported fire ant control in cases of individual mount treatment.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  15. Blind and myopic ants in heterogeneous networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hwang, S.; Lee, D.-S.; Kahng, B.

    2014-11-01

    The diffusion processes on complex networks may be described by different Laplacian matrices due to heterogeneous connectivity. Here we investigate the random walks of blind ants and myopic ants on heterogeneous networks: While a myopic ant hops to a neighbor node every step, a blind ant may stay or hop with probabilities that depend on node connectivity. By analyzing the trajectories of blind ants, we show that the asymptotic behaviors of both random walks are related by rescaling time and probability with node connectivity. Using this result, we show how the small eigenvalues of the Laplacian matrices generating the two random walks are related. As an application, we show how the return-to-origin probability of a myopic ant can be used to compute the scaling behaviors of the Edwards-Wilkinson model, a representative model of load balancing on networks.

  16. 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...

  17. Symbiont recruitment versus ant-symbiont co-evolution in the attine ant-microbe symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Mueller, Ulrich G

    2012-06-01

    The symbiosis between fungus-farming ants (Attini, Formicidae), their cultivated fungi, garden-infecting Escovopsis pathogens, and Pseudonocardia bacteria on the ant integument has been popularized as an example of ant-Escovopsis-Pseudonocardia co-evolution. Recent research could not verify earlier conclusions regarding antibiotic-secreting, integumental Pseudonocardia that co-evolve to specifically suppress Escovopsis disease in an ancient co-evolutionary arms-race. Rather than long-term association with a single, co-evolving Pseudonocardia strain, attine ants accumulate complex, dynamic biofilms on their integument and in their gardens. Emerging views are that the integumental biofilms protect the ants primarily against ant diseases, whereas garden biofilms protect primarily against garden diseases; attine ants selectively recruit ('screen in') microbes into their biofilms; and the biofilms of ants and gardens serve diverse functions beyond disease-suppression.

  18. An Efficient Ant-Based Edge Detector

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aydın, Doğan

    An efficient ant-based edge detector is presented. It is based on the distribution of ants on an image, ants try to find possible edges by using a state transition function based on 5x5 edge structures. Visual comparisons show that the proposed method gives finer details and thinner edges at lesser computational times when compared to earlier ant-based approaches. When compared to standard edge detectors, it shows robustness to Gaussian and Salt & Pepper noise and provides finer details than others with same parameter set in both clear and noisy images.

  19. Path integration in desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis.

    PubMed

    Müller, M; Wehner, R

    1988-07-01

    Foraging desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis, continually keep track of their own posotions relative to home- i.e., integrate their tortuous outbound routes and return home along straight (inbound) routes. By experimentally manipulating the ants' outbound trajectories we show that the ants solve this path integration problem not by performing a true vector summation (as a human navigator does) but by employing a computationally simple approximation. This approximation is characterized by small, but systematic, navigational errors that helped us elucidate the ant's way of computing its mean home vector.

  20. Major evolutionary transitions in ant agriculture

    PubMed Central

    Schultz, Ted R.; Brady, Seán G.

    2008-01-01

    Agriculture is a specialized form of symbiosis that is known to have evolved in only four animal groups: humans, bark beetles, termites, and ants. Here, we reconstruct the major evolutionary transitions that produced the five distinct agricultural systems of the fungus-growing ants, the most well studied of the nonhuman agriculturalists. We do so with reference to the first fossil-calibrated, multiple-gene, molecular phylogeny that incorporates the full range of taxonomic diversity within the fungus-growing ant tribe Attini. Our analyses indicate that the original form of ant agriculture, the cultivation of a diverse subset of fungal species in the tribe Leucocoprineae, evolved ≈50 million years ago in the Neotropics, coincident with the early Eocene climatic optimum. During the past 30 million years, three known ant agricultural systems, each involving a phylogenetically distinct set of derived fungal cultivars, have separately arisen from the original agricultural system. One of these derived systems subsequently gave rise to the fifth known system of agriculture, in which a single fungal species is cultivated by leaf-cutter ants. Leaf-cutter ants evolved remarkably recently (≈8–12 million years ago) to become the dominant herbivores of the New World tropics. Our analyses identify relict, extant attine ant species that occupy phylogenetic positions that are transitional between the agricultural systems. Intensive study of those species holds particular promise for clarifying the sequential accretion of ecological and behavioral characters that produced each of the major ant agricultural systems. PMID:18362345

  1. Plants in Your Ants: Using Ant Mounds to Test Basic Ecological Principles

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zettler, Jennifer A.; Collier, Alexander; Leidersdorf, Bil; Sanou, Missa Patrick

    2010-01-01

    Urban students often have limited access to field sites for ecological studies. Ubiquitous ants and their mounds can be used to study and test ecology-based questions. We describe how soil collected from ant mounds can be used to investigate how biotic factors (ants) can affect abiotic factors in the soil that can, in turn, influence plant growth.

  2. ANT2-defective fibroblasts exhibit normal mitochondrial bioenergetics

    PubMed Central

    Prabhu, Dolly; Goldstein, Amy C.; El-Khoury, Riyad; Rak, Malgorzata; Edmunds, Lia; Rustin, Pierre; Vockley, Jerry; Schiff, Manuel

    2015-01-01

    Adenine nucleotide translocase 2 (ANT2) transports glycolytic ATP across the inner mitochondrial membrane. Patients with ANT2 deletion were recently reported. We aimed at characterizing mitochondrial functions in ANT2-defective fibroblasts. In spite of ANT2 expression in fibroblasts, we observed no difference between ANT2-defective and control fibroblasts for mitochondrial respiration, respiratory chain activities, mitochondrial membrane potential and intracellular ATP levels. This indicates that ANT2 insufficiency does not alter fibroblast basal mitochondrial bioenergetics. PMID:26000237

  3. Spectacular Batesian mimicry in ants.

    PubMed

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

    2004-10-01

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

  4. Spectacular Batesian mimicry in ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2004-10-01

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

  5. Ant aggression and evolutionary stability in plant-ant and plant-pollinator mutualistic interactions.

    PubMed

    Oña, L; Lachmann, M

    2011-03-01

    Mutualistic partners derive a benefit from their interaction, but this benefit can come at a cost. This is the case for plant-ant and plant-pollinator mutualistic associations. In exchange for protection from herbivores provided by the resident ants, plants supply various kinds of resources or nests to the ants. Most ant-myrmecophyte mutualisms are horizontally transmitted, and therefore, partners share an interest in growth but not in reproduction. This lack of alignment in fitness interests between plants and ants drives a conflict between them: ants can attack pollinators that cross-fertilize the host plants. Using a mathematical model, we define a threshold in ant aggressiveness determining pollinator survival or elimination on the host plant. In our model we observed that, all else being equal, facultative interactions result in pollinator extinction for lower levels of ant aggressiveness than obligatory interactions. We propose that the capacity to discriminate pollinators from herbivores should not often evolve in ants, and when it does it will be when the plants exhibit limited dispersal in an environment that is not seed saturated so that each seed produced can effectively generate a new offspring or if ants acquire an extra benefit from pollination (e.g. if ants eat fruit). We suggest specific mutualism examples where these hypotheses can be tested empirically.

  6. 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.

  7. Urban Pest Management of Ants in California

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Keeping pace with the dynamic and evolving landscape of invasive ants in California presents a formidable challenge to the pest management industry. Pest management professionals (PMPs) are on the frontlines when it comes to battling these exotic ant pests, and are often the first ones to intercept ...

  8. Neuropeptidomics of the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus.

    PubMed

    Schmitt, Franziska; Vanselow, Jens T; Schlosser, Andreas; Kahnt, Jörg; Rössler, Wolfgang; Wegener, Christian

    2015-03-01

    Ants show a rich behavioral repertoire and a highly complex organization, which have been attracting behavioral and sociobiological researchers for a long time. The neuronal underpinnings of ant behavior and social organization are, however, much less understood. Neuropeptides are key signals that orchestrate animal behavior and physiology, and it is thus feasible to assume that they play an important role also for the social constitution of ants. Despite the availability of different ant genomes and in silico prediction of ant neuropeptides, a comprehensive biochemical survey of the neuropeptidergic communication possibilities of ants is missing. We therefore combined different mass spectrometric methods to characterize the neuropeptidome of the adult carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus. We also characterized the local neuropeptide complement in different parts of the nervous and neuroendocrine system, including the antennal and optic lobes. Our analysis identifies 39 neuropeptides encoded by different prepropeptide genes, and in silico predicts new prepropeptide genes encoding CAPA peptides, CNMamide as well as homologues of the honey bee IDLSRFYGHFNT- and ITGQGNRIF-containing peptides. Our data provides basic information about the identity and localization of neuropeptides that is required to anatomically and functionally address the role and significance of neuropeptides in ant behavior and physiology.

  9. Ants cushion applied stress by active rearrangements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Zhongyang; Hyatt, John; Mlot, Nathan; Gerov, Michael; Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto; Hu, David

    2013-11-01

    Fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, link their bodies together to form waterproof rafts, which in turn drip, spread, and coagulate, demonstrating properties of an active material that can change state from a liquid to a solid. This soft-matter phase transition is important when the raft interacts with environmental forces such as raindrops and crashing waves. We study this active behavior through plate-on-plate rheology on the ants, extracting the active components by comparison with the rheological behavior of a collection of dead ants. In controlled shear tests, both and live and dead ants show properties of a non-Newtonian fluid, specifically, shear-thinning behavior. In oscillatory tests, live ants exhibit a rare behavior in which their storage modulus (G') and loss modulus (G'') have approximately the same value over three orders magnitudes of frequency and two orders of magnitude of strain, indicating the ants are neither fluid nor solid. In comparison, dead ants are more solid-like, with a storage modulus twice as large as their loss modulus. This striking active behavior arises from rearrangement of their bodies and storage and dissipation of energy with the ants' muscles.

  10. Neuropeptidomics of the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus.

    PubMed

    Schmitt, Franziska; Vanselow, Jens T; Schlosser, Andreas; Kahnt, Jörg; Rössler, Wolfgang; Wegener, Christian

    2015-03-01

    Ants show a rich behavioral repertoire and a highly complex organization, which have been attracting behavioral and sociobiological researchers for a long time. The neuronal underpinnings of ant behavior and social organization are, however, much less understood. Neuropeptides are key signals that orchestrate animal behavior and physiology, and it is thus feasible to assume that they play an important role also for the social constitution of ants. Despite the availability of different ant genomes and in silico prediction of ant neuropeptides, a comprehensive biochemical survey of the neuropeptidergic communication possibilities of ants is missing. We therefore combined different mass spectrometric methods to characterize the neuropeptidome of the adult carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus. We also characterized the local neuropeptide complement in different parts of the nervous and neuroendocrine system, including the antennal and optic lobes. Our analysis identifies 39 neuropeptides encoded by different prepropeptide genes, and in silico predicts new prepropeptide genes encoding CAPA peptides, CNMamide as well as homologues of the honey bee IDLSRFYGHFNT- and ITGQGNRIF-containing peptides. Our data provides basic information about the identity and localization of neuropeptides that is required to anatomically and functionally address the role and significance of neuropeptides in ant behavior and physiology. PMID:25641051

  11. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms.

    PubMed

    Touchard, Axel; Aili, Samira R; Fox, Eduardo Gonçalves Paterson; Escoubas, Pierre; Orivel, Jérôme; Nicholson, Graham M; Dejean, Alain

    2016-01-01

    Ants (Formicidae) represent a taxonomically diverse group of hymenopterans with over 13,000 extant species, the majority of which inject or spray secretions from a venom gland. The evolutionary success of ants is mostly due to their unique eusociality that has permitted them to develop complex collaborative strategies, partly involving their venom secretions, to defend their nest against predators, microbial pathogens, ant competitors, and to hunt prey. Activities of ant venom include paralytic, cytolytic, haemolytic, allergenic, pro-inflammatory, insecticidal, antimicrobial, and pain-producing pharmacologic activities, while non-toxic functions include roles in chemical communication involving trail and sex pheromones, deterrents, and aggregators. While these diverse activities in ant venoms have until now been largely understudied due to the small venom yield from ants, modern analytical and venomic techniques are beginning to reveal the diversity of toxin structure and function. As such, ant venoms are distinct from other venomous animals, not only rich in linear, dimeric and disulfide-bonded peptides and bioactive proteins, but also other volatile and non-volatile compounds such as alkaloids and hydrocarbons. The present review details the unique structures and pharmacologies of known ant venom proteinaceous and alkaloidal toxins and their potential as a source of novel bioinsecticides and therapeutic agents. PMID:26805882

  12. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms

    PubMed Central

    Touchard, Axel; Aili, Samira R.; Fox, Eduardo Gonçalves Paterson; Escoubas, Pierre; Orivel, Jérôme; Nicholson, Graham M.; Dejean, Alain

    2016-01-01

    Ants (Formicidae) represent a taxonomically diverse group of hymenopterans with over 13,000 extant species, the majority of which inject or spray secretions from a venom gland. The evolutionary success of ants is mostly due to their unique eusociality that has permitted them to develop complex collaborative strategies, partly involving their venom secretions, to defend their nest against predators, microbial pathogens, ant competitors, and to hunt prey. Activities of ant venom include paralytic, cytolytic, haemolytic, allergenic, pro-inflammatory, insecticidal, antimicrobial, and pain-producing pharmacologic activities, while non-toxic functions include roles in chemical communication involving trail and sex pheromones, deterrents, and aggregators. While these diverse activities in ant venoms have until now been largely understudied due to the small venom yield from ants, modern analytical and venomic techniques are beginning to reveal the diversity of toxin structure and function. As such, ant venoms are distinct from other venomous animals, not only rich in linear, dimeric and disulfide-bonded peptides and bioactive proteins, but also other volatile and non-volatile compounds such as alkaloids and hydrocarbons. The present review details the unique structures and pharmacologies of known ant venom proteinaceous and alkaloidal toxins and their potential as a source of novel bioinsecticides and therapeutic agents. PMID:26805882

  13. 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.

  14. Cryptococcus neoformans carried by Odontomachus bauri ants.

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

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

  15. Microtubules viewed as molecular ant colonies.

    PubMed

    Tabony, James

    2006-10-01

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

  16. Uncovering the complexity of ant foraging trails.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

    The common garden ant Lasius niger use both trail pheromones and memory of past visits to navigate to and from food sources. In a recent paper we demonstrated a synergistic effect between route memory and trail pheromones: the presence of trail pheromones results in experienced ants walking straighter and faster. We also found that experienced ants leaving a pheromone trail deposit less pheromone. Here we focus on another finding of the experiment: the presence of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs), which are used as home range markers by ants, also affects pheromone deposition behavior. When walking on a trail on which CHCs are present but trail pheromones are not, experienced foragers deposit less pheromone on the outward journey than on the return journey. The regulatory mechanisms ants use during foraging and recruitment behavior is subtle and complex, affected by multiple interacting factors such as route memory, travel direction and the presence trail pheromone and home-range markings. PMID:22482017

  17. Cryptococcus neoformans carried by Odontomachus bauri ants.

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

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

  18. Spatiotemporal chemotactic model for ant foraging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  19. Diaspore trait preferences of dispersing ants.

    PubMed

    Reifenrath, Kerstin; Becker, Christine; Poethke, Hans Joachim

    2012-09-01

    Elaiosomes of myrmecochorous plant seeds are known to enhance the attraction of diaspore-dispersing ants by serving as a nutritional reward. However, it remained unclear which (nutritional) compounds affect diaspore preferences of ants. We hypothesized that apart from elaiosome/seed-size ratio, volume, and physical surface of diaspores, the quantity and the composition of fatty acids, amino acids, and sugars strongly influence the diaspore preferences of different species. Chemical (nutritional) profiles as well as structural properties of seeds with and without elaiosomes were analyzed and correlated with observed seed choice behavior of ants. Cafeteria experiments in the field confirmed the enhanced attractiveness of elaiosome-bearing seeds for all three ant species tested (Lasius fuliginosus, Myrmica ruginodis, and Temnothorax nylanderi), although seeds lacking elaiosomes also were transported. In multiple-choice cafeteria experiments with simultaneously offered diaspores of 16 plant species with and without elaiosome and with highly varying structural and chemical properties, all three ant species showed distinct preferences for certain diaspore species. Correlation analyses confirmed that the presence of an elaiosome represents the crucial factor that favors ant diaspore dispersal. In addition, the composition and the content of free amino acids, and to varying degrees fatty acids, were found to significantly affect preferences of each ant species, whereas the effect of single fatty acids acting as chemical triggers for diaspore transport by ants, as supposed by several studies, was not confirmed. In conclusion, although at least some diaspore species lacking elaiosomes attract ants for diaspore removal services by presenting nutritional seed coats, the production of elaiosomes seems to provide a worthwhile investment. Elaiosomes ensure rapid diaspore detection and removal due to chemical cue compounds and by offering a highly nutritional food supply, probably

  20. FDTD-ANT User Manual

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zimmerman, Martin L.

    1995-01-01

    This manual explains the theory and operation of the finite-difference time domain code FDTD-ANT developed by Analex Corporation at the NASA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. This code can be used for solving electromagnetic problems that are electrically small or medium (on the order of 1 to 50 cubic wavelengths). Calculated parameters include transmission line impedance, relative effective permittivity, antenna input impedance, and far-field patterns in both the time and frequency domains. The maximum problem size may be adjusted according to the computer used. This code has been run on the DEC VAX and 486 PC's and on workstations such as the Sun Sparc and the IBM RS/6000.

  1. Ant-Based Cyber Security

    SciTech Connect

    Haack, Jereme N.; Fink, Glenn A.; Maiden, Wendy M.; McKinnon, Archibald D.; Templeton, Steven J.; Fulp, Errin W.

    2011-07-12

    We describe a swarming-agent-based, mixed-initiative approach to infrastructure defense where teams of humans and software agents defend cooperating organizations in tandem by sharing insights and solutions without violating proprietary boundaries. The system places human administrators at the appropriate level where they provide system guidance while lower-level agents carry out tasks humans are unable to perform quickly enough to mitigate today’s security threats. Cooperative Infrastructure Defense (CID) uses our ant-based approach to enable dialogue between humans and agents to foster a collaborative problem-solving environment, increase human situational awareness and influence using visualization and shared control. We discuss theoretical implementation characteristics along with results from recent proof-of-concept implementations.

  2. Spatial patterns in ant colonies.

    PubMed

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

    2002-07-23

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

  3. Differential Recruitment of Camponotus femoratus (Fabricius) Ants in Response to Ant Garden Herbivory.

    PubMed

    Vicente, R E; Dáttilo, W; Izzo, T J

    2014-12-01

    Although several studies have shown that ants can recognize chemical cues from their host plants in ant-plant systems, it is poorly demonstrated in ant gardens (AGs). In this interaction, ant species constantly interact with various epiphyte species. Therefore, it is possible to expect a convergence of chemical signals released by plants that could be acting to ensure that ants are able to recognize and defend epiphyte species frequently associated with AGs. In this study, it was hypothesized that ants recognize and differentiate among chemical stimuli released by AG epiphytes and non-AG epiphytes. We experimentally simulated leaf herbivore damage on three epiphyte species restricted to AGs and a locally abundant understory herb, Piper hispidum, in order to quantify the number of recruited Camponotus femoratus (Fabricius) defenders. When exposed to the AG epiphytes Peperomia macrostachya and Codonanthe uleana leaves, it was observed that the recruitment of C. femoratus workers was, on average, respectively 556% and 246% higher than control. However, the number of ants recruited by the AG epiphyte Markea longiflora or by the non-AG plant did not differ from paper pieces. This indicated that ants could discern between chemicals released by different plants, suggesting that ants can select better plants. These results can be explained by evolutionary process acting on both ants' capability in discerning plants' chemical compounds (innate attraction) or by ants' learning based on the epiphyte frequency in AGs (individual experience). To disentangle an innate behavior, a product of classical coevolutionary process, from an ant's learned behavior, is a complicated but important subject to understand in the evolution of ant-plant mutualisms.

  4. Extrafloral nectar fuels ant life in deserts

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Interactions mediated by extrafloral nectary (EFN)-bearing plants that reward ants with a sweet liquid secretion are well documented in temperate and tropical habitats. However, their distribution and abundance in deserts are poorly known. In this study, we test the predictions that biotic interactions between EFN plants and ants are abundant and common also in arid communities and that EFNs are only functional when new vegetative and reproductive structures are developing. In a seasonal desert of northwestern Argentina, we surveyed the richness and phenology of EFN plants and their associated ants and examined the patterns in ant–plant interaction networks. We found that 25 ant species and 11 EFN-bearing plant species were linked together through 96 pairs of associations. Plants bearing EFNs were abundant, representing ca. 19 % of the species encountered in transects and 24 % of the plant cover. Most ant species sampled (ca. 77 %) fed on EF nectar. Interactions showed a marked seasonal pattern: EFN secretion was directly related to plant phenology and correlated with the time of highest ant ground activity. Our results reveal that EFN-mediated interactions are ecologically relevant components of deserts, and that EFN-bearing plants are crucial for the survival of desert ant communities. PMID:25381258

  5. How to be an ant on figs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-05-01

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

  6. Regulation of ants' foraging to resource productivity.

    PubMed Central

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

    2003-01-01

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

  7. Modeling the dynamics of ant colony optimization.

    PubMed

    Merkle, Daniel; Middendorf, Martin

    2002-01-01

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

  8. Ant navigation: resetting the path integrator.

    PubMed

    Knaden, Markus; Wehner, Rüdiger

    2006-01-01

    Desert ants use path integration as their predominant system of long-distance navigation, but they also make use of route-defining and nest-defining visual landmarks. Such landmark-gained information might override the information provided by the path integrator, but nevertheless the path integrator keeps running. Here we show that only cues that are associated with the ant being inside the nest are able to reset the path integrator to zero state. Ants were captured at a feeder, i.e. without having run off their home vector, and were forced to enter the nest. On their next outbound run their walking direction differed by 180 degrees from that of ants that had also been captured at the feeder but instead of having been forced to enter the interior of the nest were released at its entrance. Whereas these latter ants still ran off their home vector pointing in the feeder-nest direction (and by this departed from the nest in a direction opposite to the feeder direction) the former ants had reset their home vector to zero state, and had therefore been able to reload their learned feeder vector, and consequently departed from the nest in the feeder direction. Owing to its egocentric nature the path-integrator is error prone. Hence, it is a suitable strategy to reset the path integrator if the ant has appeared at its final goal, the nest. Otherwise during consecutive foraging runs navigational errors would steadily increase.

  9. Extensional Rheology of Fire Ant Aggregates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Franklin, Scott; Kern, Matthew; Phonekeo, Sulisay; Hu, David

    We explore the extensional rheology and self-healing of fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) aggregations, mechanically entangled ensembles used to form rafts, bivouacs or bridges. Macroscopic experiments create quasi-two dimensional piles and measure the force required to impose a constant end-velocity. This force fluctuates, reminiscent of similar experiments on geometrically cohesive granular materials. Heterogeneous chains develop, with isolated ants often the sole link between top and bottom. Finally, the maximum pile strength scales sub-linearly with the number of ants, with the maximum force per ant decreasing as the pile grows. We reproduce these behaviors with a simple model that represents ants feet as discs connected by a spring (the ''leg''). Discs move randomly, and stick to one another when in contact. Discs in contact un-stick at random with a probability that decreases as the spring (leg) is stretched, modeling an ant's tendency to hold on longer when stretched. Simulations qualitatively reproduces the fluctuating force, chain formation and sublinear scaling of maximum force with particle number and give insight into underlying mechanisms that govern the ants' behaviors. Funded in part by NSF DMR #1133722.

  10. Regulation of ants' foraging to resource productivity.

    PubMed

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

    2003-08-01

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

  11. Pheromone disruption of Argentine ant trail integrity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Suckling, D.M.; Peck, R.W.; Manning, L.M.; Stringer, L.D.; Cappadonna, J.; El-Sayed, A. M.

    2008-01-01

    Disruption of Argentine ant trail following and reduced ability to forage (measured by bait location success) was achieved after presentation of an oversupply of trail pheromone, (Z)-9-hexadecenal. Experiments tested single pheromone point sources and dispersion of a formulation in small field plots. Ant walking behavior was recorded and digitized by using video tracking, before and after presentation of trail pheromone. Ants showed changes in three parameters within seconds of treatment: (1) Ants on trails normally showed a unimodal frequency distribution of walking track angles, but this pattern disappeared after presentation of the trail pheromone; (2) ants showed initial high trail integrity on a range of untreated substrates from painted walls to wooden or concrete floors, but this was significantly reduced following presentation of a point source of pheromone; (3) the number of ants in the pheromone-treated area increased over time, as recruitment apparently exceeded departures. To test trail disruption in small outdoor plots, the trail pheromone was formulated with carnuba wax-coated quartz laboratory sand (1 g quartz sand/0.2 g wax/1 mg pheromone). The pheromone formulation, with a half-life of 30 h, was applied by rotary spreader at four rates (0, 2.5, 7.5, and 25 mg pheromone/m2) to 1- and 4-m2 plots in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. Ant counts at bait cards in treated plots were significantly reduced compared to controls on the day of treatment, and there was a significant reduction in ant foraging for 2 days. These results show that trail pheromone disruption of Argentine ants is possible, but a much more durable formulation is needed before nest-level impacts can be expected. ?? 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

  12. Pheromone disruption of Argentine ant trail integrity.

    PubMed

    Suckling, D M; Peck, R W; Manning, L M; Stringer, L D; Cappadonna, J; El-Sayed, A M

    2008-12-01

    Disruption of Argentine ant trail following and reduced ability to forage (measured by bait location success) was achieved after presentation of an oversupply of trail pheromone, (Z)-9-hexadecenal. Experiments tested single pheromone point sources and dispersion of a formulation in small field plots. Ant walking behavior was recorded and digitized by using video tracking, before and after presentation of trail pheromone. Ants showed changes in three parameters within seconds of treatment: (1) Ants on trails normally showed a unimodal frequency distribution of walking track angles, but this pattern disappeared after presentation of the trail pheromone; (2) ants showed initial high trail integrity on a range of untreated substrates from painted walls to wooden or concrete floors, but this was significantly reduced following presentation of a point source of pheromone; (3) the number of ants in the pheromone-treated area increased over time, as recruitment apparently exceeded departures. To test trail disruption in small outdoor plots, the trail pheromone was formulated with carnuba wax-coated quartz laboratory sand (1 g quartz sand/0.2 g wax/1 mg pheromone). The pheromone formulation, with a half-life of 30 h, was applied by rotary spreader at four rates (0, 2.5, 7.5, and 25 mg pheromone/m(2)) to 1- and 4-m(2) plots in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. Ant counts at bait cards in treated plots were significantly reduced compared to controls on the day of treatment, and there was a significant reduction in ant foraging for 2 days. These results show that trail pheromone disruption of Argentine ants is possible, but a much more durable formulation is needed before nest-level impacts can be expected. PMID:19034574

  13. 9 CFR 381.71 - Condemnation on ante mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Condemnation on ante mortem inspection... INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION POULTRY PRODUCTS INSPECTION REGULATIONS Ante Mortem Inspection § 381.71 Condemnation on ante mortem inspection. (a) Birds plainly showing on ante mortem inspection any disease...

  14. 9 CFR 354.121 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Ante-mortem inspection. 354.121 Section 354.121 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE... Procedures; Ante-Mortem Inspections § 354.121 Ante-mortem inspection. An ante-mortem inspection of...

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

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Corbara, Bruno

    2014-11-01

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

  16. Multitasking in a plant-ant interaction: how does Acacia myrtifolia manage both ants and pollinators?

    PubMed

    Martínez-Bauer, Angélica E; Martínez, Gerardo Cerón; Murphy, Daniel J; Burd, Martin

    2015-06-01

    Plant associations with protective ants are widespread among angiosperms, but carry the risk that ants will deter pollinators as well as herbivores. Such conflict, and adaptations to ameliorate or prevent the conflict, have been documented in African and neotropical acacias. Ant-acacia associations occur in Australia, but little is known of their ecology. Moreover, recent phylogenetic evidence indicates that Australian acacias are only distantly related to African and American acacias, providing an intercontinental natural experiment in the management of ant-pollinator conflict. We examined four populations of Acacia myrtifolia over a 400-km environmental gradient in southeastern Australia using ant and pollinator exclusion as well as direct observation of ants and pollinators to assess the potential for ant-pollinator conflict to affect seed set. Native bees were the only group of floral visitors whose visitation rates were a significant predictor of fruiting success, although beetles and wasps may play an important role as "insurance" pollinators. We found no increase in pollinator visitation or fruiting success following ant exclusion, even with large sample sizes and effective exclusion. Because ants are facultative visitors to A. myrtifolia plants, their presence may be insufficient to interfere greatly with floral visitors. It is also likely that the morphological location of extrafloral nectaries tends to draw ants away from reproductive parts, although we commonly observed ants on inflorescences, so the spatial separation is not strict. A. myrtifolia appears to maintain a generalized mutualism over a wide geographic range without the need for elaborate adaptations to resolve ant-pollinator conflict. PMID:25571873

  17. Multitasking in a plant-ant interaction: how does Acacia myrtifolia manage both ants and pollinators?

    PubMed

    Martínez-Bauer, Angélica E; Martínez, Gerardo Cerón; Murphy, Daniel J; Burd, Martin

    2015-06-01

    Plant associations with protective ants are widespread among angiosperms, but carry the risk that ants will deter pollinators as well as herbivores. Such conflict, and adaptations to ameliorate or prevent the conflict, have been documented in African and neotropical acacias. Ant-acacia associations occur in Australia, but little is known of their ecology. Moreover, recent phylogenetic evidence indicates that Australian acacias are only distantly related to African and American acacias, providing an intercontinental natural experiment in the management of ant-pollinator conflict. We examined four populations of Acacia myrtifolia over a 400-km environmental gradient in southeastern Australia using ant and pollinator exclusion as well as direct observation of ants and pollinators to assess the potential for ant-pollinator conflict to affect seed set. Native bees were the only group of floral visitors whose visitation rates were a significant predictor of fruiting success, although beetles and wasps may play an important role as "insurance" pollinators. We found no increase in pollinator visitation or fruiting success following ant exclusion, even with large sample sizes and effective exclusion. Because ants are facultative visitors to A. myrtifolia plants, their presence may be insufficient to interfere greatly with floral visitors. It is also likely that the morphological location of extrafloral nectaries tends to draw ants away from reproductive parts, although we commonly observed ants on inflorescences, so the spatial separation is not strict. A. myrtifolia appears to maintain a generalized mutualism over a wide geographic range without the need for elaborate adaptations to resolve ant-pollinator conflict.

  18. Evidence that insect herbivores are deterred by ant pheromones.

    PubMed

    Offenberg, Joachim; Nielsen, Mogens Gissel; MacIntosh, Donald J; Havanon, Sopon; Aksornkoae, Sanit

    2004-12-01

    It is well documented that ants can protect plants against insect herbivores, but the underlying mechanisms remain almost undocumented. We propose and test the pheromone avoidance hypothesis--an indirect mechanism where insect herbivores are repelled not only by ants but also by ant pheromones. Herbivores subjected to ant predation will experience a selective advantage if they evolve mechanisms enabling them to avoid feeding within ant territories. Such a mechanism could be based on the ability to detect and evade ant pheromones. Field observations and data from the literature showed that the ant Oecophylla smaragdina distributes persistent pheromones throughout its territory. In addition, a laboratory test showed that the beetle Rhyparida wallacei, which this ant preys on, was reluctant to feed on leaves sampled within ant territories compared with leaves sampled outside territories. Thus, this study provides an example of an ant-herbivore system conforming to the pheromone avoidance hypothesis.

  19. Evidence that insect herbivores are deterred by ant pheromones.

    PubMed

    Offenberg, Joachim; Nielsen, Mogens Gissel; MacIntosh, Donald J; Havanon, Sopon; Aksornkoae, Sanit

    2004-12-01

    It is well documented that ants can protect plants against insect herbivores, but the underlying mechanisms remain almost undocumented. We propose and test the pheromone avoidance hypothesis--an indirect mechanism where insect herbivores are repelled not only by ants but also by ant pheromones. Herbivores subjected to ant predation will experience a selective advantage if they evolve mechanisms enabling them to avoid feeding within ant territories. Such a mechanism could be based on the ability to detect and evade ant pheromones. Field observations and data from the literature showed that the ant Oecophylla smaragdina distributes persistent pheromones throughout its territory. In addition, a laboratory test showed that the beetle Rhyparida wallacei, which this ant preys on, was reluctant to feed on leaves sampled within ant territories compared with leaves sampled outside territories. Thus, this study provides an example of an ant-herbivore system conforming to the pheromone avoidance hypothesis. PMID:15801596

  20. Dynamics and elasticity of fire ant aggregations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto; Tennenbaum, Michael; Liu, Zhongyang; Hu, David

    2015-03-01

    Fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, form aggregations that are able to drip and spread like simple liquids, but that can also store energy and maintain a shape like elastic solids. They are an active material where the constituent particles constantly transform chemical energy into work. We find that fire ant aggregations shear thin and exhibit a stress cutoff below which they are able to oppose the applied stress. In the linear regime, the dynamics is fractal-like with both storage and shear moduli that overlap for over three orders of magnitude and that are power law with frequency. This dynamic behavior, characteristic of polymer gels and the gelation point, gives way to a predominantly elastic regime at higher ant densities. In comparison, dead ants are always solid-like.

  1. Structure and formation of ant transportation networks

    PubMed Central

    Latty, Tanya; Ramsch, Kai; Ito, Kentaro; Nakagaki, Toshiyuki; Sumpter, David J. T.; Middendorf, Martin; Beekman, Madeleine

    2011-01-01

    Many biological systems use extensive networks for the transport of resources and information. Ants are no exception. How do biological systems achieve efficient transportation networks in the absence of centralized control and without global knowledge of the environment? Here, we address this question by studying the formation and properties of inter-nest transportation networks in the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). We find that the formation of inter-nest networks depends on the number of ants involved in the construction process. When the number of ants is sufficient and networks do form, they tend to have short total length but a low level of robustness. These networks are topologically similar to either minimum spanning trees or Steiner networks. The process of network formation involves an initial construction of multiple links followed by a pruning process that reduces the number of trails. Our study thus illuminates the conditions under and the process by which minimal biological transport networks can be constructed. PMID:21288958

  2. Detection and dispersal of explosives by ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McFee, John E.; Achal, Steve; Faust, Anthony A.; Puckrin, Eldon; House, Andrew; Reynolds, Damon; McDougall, William; Asquini, Adam

    2009-05-01

    The ability of animals to detect explosives is well documented. Mammalian systems, insects and even single celled organisms have all been studied and in a few cases employed to detect explosives. This paper will describe the potential ability of ants to detect, disperse and possibly neutralize bulk explosives. In spring 2008 a team of DRDC and Itres scientists conducted experiments on detecting surface-laid and buried landmines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and their components. Measurements were made using state-of-the-art short wave and thermal infrared hyperspectral imagers mounted on a personnel lift. During one of the early morning measurement sessions, a wispy, long linear trail was seen to emanate several meters from piles of explosives that were situated on the ground. Upon close visual inspection, it was observed that ants had found the piles of explosives and were carrying it to their ant hill, a distance of almost 20 meters from the piles. Initial analysis of the hyperspectral images clearly revealed the trail to the ant hill of explosives, despite being present in quantities not visible to the unaided eye. This paper details these observations and discusses them in the context of landmine and IED detection and neutralization. Possible reasons for such behaviour are presented. A number of questions regarding the behaviour, many pertinent to the use of ants in a counter-landmine/IED role, are presented and possible methods of answering them are discussed. Anecdotal evidence from deminers of detection and destruction of explosives by ants are presented.

  3. Entangled active matter: From cells to ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, D. L.; Phonekeo, S.; Altshuler, E.; Brochard-Wyart, F.

    2016-07-01

    Both cells and ants belong to the broad field of active matter, a novel class of non-equilibrium materials composed of many interacting units that individually consume energy and collectively generate motion or mechanical stresses. However cells and ants differ from fish and birds in that they can support static loads. This is because cells and ants can be entangled, so that individual units are bound by transient links. Entanglement gives cells and ants a set of remarkable properties usually not found together, such as the ability to flow like a fluid, spring back like an elastic solid, and self-heal. In this review, we present the biology, mechanics and dynamics of both entangled cells and ants. We apply concepts from soft matter physics and wetting to characterize these systems as well as to point out their differences, which arise from their differences in size. We hope that our viewpoints will spur further investigations into cells and ants as active materials, and inspire the fabrication of synthetic active matter.

  4. Congestion and communication in confined ant traffic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-03-01

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

  5. Visual scene perception in navigating wood ants.

    PubMed

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

    2013-04-22

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

  6. Antarctic Tephra Database (AntT)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kurbatov, A.; Dunbar, N. W.; Iverson, N. A.; Gerbi, C. C.; Yates, M. G.; Kalteyer, D.; McIntosh, W. C.

    2014-12-01

    Modern paleoclimate research is heavily dependent on establishing accurate timing related to rapid shifts in Earth's climate system. The ability to correlate these events at local, and ideally at the intercontinental scales, allows assessment, for example, of phasing or changes in atmospheric circulation. Tephra-producing volcanic eruptions are geologically instantaneous events that are largely independent of climate. We have developed a tephrochronological framework for paleoclimate research in Antarctic in a user friendly, freely accessible online Antarctic tephra (AntT) database (http://cci.um.maine.edu/AntT/). Information about volcanic events, including physical and geochemical characteristics of volcanic products collected from multiple data sources, are integrated into the AntT database.The AntT project establishes a new centralized data repository for Antarctic tephrochronology, which is needed for precise correlation of records between Antarctic ice cores (e.g. WAIS Divide, RICE, Talos Dome, ITASE) and global paleoclimate archives. The AntT will help climatologists, paleoclimatologists, atmospheric chemists, geochemists, climate modelers synchronize paleoclimate archives using volcanic products that establishing timing of climate events in different geographic areas, climate-forcing mechanisms, natural threshold levels in the climate system. All these disciplines will benefit from accurate reconstructions of the temporal and spatial distribution of past rapid climate change events in continental, atmospheric, marine and polar realms. Research is funded by NSF grants: ANT-1142007 and 1142069.

  7. Toxic industrial deposit remediation by ant activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jilkova, Veronika; Frouz, Jan

    2016-04-01

    Toxic industrial deposits are often contaminated by heavy metals and the substrates have low pH values. In such systems, soil development is thus slowed down by high toxicity and acidic conditions which are unfavourable to soil fauna. Ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) are considered tolerant to heavy metal pollution and are known to increase organic matter content and microbial activity in their nests. Here, we focused on soil remediation caused by three ant species (Formica sanguinea, Lasius niger, and Tetramorium sp.) in an ore-washery sedimentation basin near Chvaletice (Czech Republic). Soil samples were taken from the centre of ant nests and from the nest surroundings (>3 m from nests). Samples were then analyzed for microbial activity and biomass and contents of organic matter and nutrients. As a result, ant species that most influenced soil properties was F. sanguinea as there were higher microbial activity and total nitrogen and ammonia contents in ant nests than in the surrounding soil. We expected such a result because F. sanguinea builds conspicuous large nests and is a carnivorous species that brings substantial amounts of nitrogen in insect prey to their nests. Effects of the other two ant species might be lower because of smaller nests and different feeding habits as they rely mainly on honeydew from aphids or on plant seeds that do not contain much nutrients.

  8. Ant semiochemicals limit apterous aphid dispersal.

    PubMed

    Oliver, Thomas H; Mashanova, Alla; Leather, Simon R; Cook, James M; Jansen, Vincent A A

    2007-12-22

    Some organisms can manipulate the nervous systems of others or alter their physiology in order to obtain benefit. Ants are known to limit alate aphid dispersal by physically removing wings and also through chemical manipulation of the alate developmental pathway. This results in reduced dispersal and higher local densities of aphids, which benefit ants in terms of increased honeydew and prey availability. Here, we show that the walking movement of mutualistic apterous aphids is also reduced by ant semiochemicals. Aphids walk slower and their dispersal from an unsuitable patch is hampered by ants. If aphid walking dispersal has evolved as a means of natural enemy escape, then ant chemicals may act as a signal indicating protection; hence, reduced dispersal could be adaptive for aphids. If, however, dispersal is primarily a means to reduce competition or to maintain persistent metapopulations, then manipulation by ants could be detrimental. Such manipulation strategies, common in host-parasite and predator-prey interactions, may be more common in mutualism than expected. PMID:17925280

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-07-01

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

  10. 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

  11. Bacterial associates of arboreal ants and their putative functions in an obligate ant-plant mutualism.

    PubMed

    Eilmus, Sascha; Heil, Martin

    2009-07-01

    Bacterial communities are highly diverse and have great ecological importance. In the present study, we used an in silico analysis of terminal restriction fragments (tRF) to characterize the bacterial community of the plant ant Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus. This species is an obligate inhabitant of Acacia myrmecophytes and feeds exclusively on plant-derived food sources. Ants are the dominant insect group in tropical rain forests. Associations of ants with microbes, which contribute particularly to the ants' nitrogen nutrition, could allow these insects to live on mostly or entirely plant-based diets and could thus contribute to the explanation of the high abundances that are reached by tropical ants. We found tRF patterns representing at least 30 prokaryotic taxa, of which the Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Planctomycetes, Proteobacteria, and Spirochaetes comprised 93%. Because most bacterial taxa were found in all ant-derived samples studied and because the bacteria detected on the ants' host plant revealed little overlap with this community, we regard our results as reliably representing the bacterial community that is associated with P. ferrugineus. Genera with a likely function as ant symbionts were Burkholderia, Pantoea, Weissella, and several members of the Enterobacteriaceae. The presence of these and various other groups was confirmed via independent PCR and cultivation approaches. Many of the bacteria that we detected belong to purportedly N-fixing taxa. Bacteria may represent important further partners in ant-plant mutualisms, and their influences on ant nutrition can contribute to the extraordinary abundance and evolutionary success of tropical arboreal ants. PMID:19447959

  12. Ant interactions with soil organisms and associated semiochemicals.

    PubMed

    Vander Meer, Robert

    2012-06-01

    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 source of semiochemical antimicrobial compounds targeting general or specific deleterious microbes. The extremely diverse variety of semiochemicals and their sources with antimicrobial activity or potential activity is highlighted. The leaf-cutting ants and fire ant provide the most researched species, in part because they cause significant economic damage. The leaf-cutting ant is particularly interesting because researchers have uncovered unexpected interactions between leaf-cutting ant fungal farm, parasitic fungi, bacteria, yeasts, and ant defensive semiochemicals. These complex relationships highlight the multidimensional aspects of ants and the soil environment in which they live. PMID:22653568

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-04-01

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

  15. Ecology of a fig ant-plant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harrison, Rhett D.

    2014-05-01

    Mutualistic interactions are embedded in networks of interactions that affect the benefits accruing to the mutualistic partners. Figs and their pollinating wasps are engaged in an obligate mutualism in which the fig is dependent on the fig pollinator for pollination services and the pollinator is dependent on fig ovules for brood sites. This mutualism is exploited by non-pollinating fig wasps that utilise the same ovules, but do not provide a pollination service. Most non-pollinating wasps oviposit from outside the inflorescence (syconium), where they are vulnerable to ant predation. Ficus schwarzii is exposed to high densities of non-pollinating wasps, but Philidris sp. ants patrolling the syconia prevent them from ovipositing. Philidris rarely catch wasps, but the fig encourages the patrolling by providing a reward through extra-floral nectaries on the surface of syconia. Moreover, the reward is apparently only produced during the phase when parasitoids are ovipositing. An ant-exclusion experiment demonstrated that, in the absence of ants, syconia were heavily attacked and many aborted as a consequence. Philidris was normally rare on the figs during the receptive phase or at the time of day when wasp offspring are emerging, so predation on pollinators was limited. However, Myrmicaria sp. ants, which only occurred on three trees, preyed substantially on pollinating as well as non-pollinating wasps. F. schwarzii occurs in small clusters of trees and has an exceptionally rapid crop turnover. These factors appear to promote high densities of non-pollinating wasps and, as a consequence, may have led to both a high incidence of ants on trees and increased selective pressure on fig traits that increase the payoffs of the fig-ant interaction for the fig. The fig receives no direct benefit from the reward it provides, but protects pollinating wasps that will disperse its pollen.

  16. The descent of ant: field-measured performance of gliding ants.

    PubMed

    Munk, Yonatan; Yanoviak, Stephen P; Koehl, M A R; Dudley, Robert

    2015-05-01

    Gliding ants avoid predatory attacks and potentially mortal consequences of dislodgement from rainforest canopy substrates by directing their aerial descent towards nearby tree trunks. The ecologically relevant measure of performance for gliding ants is the ratio of net horizontal to vertical distance traveled over the course of a gliding trajectory, or glide index. To study variation in glide index, we measured three-dimensional trajectories of Cephalotes atratus ants gliding in natural rainforest habitats. We determined that righting phase duration, glide angle, and path directness all significantly influence variation in glide index. Unsuccessful landing attempts result in the ant bouncing off its target and being forced to make a second landing attempt. Our results indicate that ants are not passive gliders and that they exert active control over the aerodynamic forces they experience during their descent, despite their apparent lack of specialized control surfaces. PMID:25788722

  17. The descent of ant: field-measured performance of gliding ants.

    PubMed

    Munk, Yonatan; Yanoviak, Stephen P; Koehl, M A R; Dudley, Robert

    2015-05-01

    Gliding ants avoid predatory attacks and potentially mortal consequences of dislodgement from rainforest canopy substrates by directing their aerial descent towards nearby tree trunks. The ecologically relevant measure of performance for gliding ants is the ratio of net horizontal to vertical distance traveled over the course of a gliding trajectory, or glide index. To study variation in glide index, we measured three-dimensional trajectories of Cephalotes atratus ants gliding in natural rainforest habitats. We determined that righting phase duration, glide angle, and path directness all significantly influence variation in glide index. Unsuccessful landing attempts result in the ant bouncing off its target and being forced to make a second landing attempt. Our results indicate that ants are not passive gliders and that they exert active control over the aerodynamic forces they experience during their descent, despite their apparent lack of specialized control surfaces.

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

    PubMed

    Liu, Liqiang; Dai, Yuntao; Gao, Jinyu

    2014-01-01

    Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains is a major research direction for ant colony optimization algorithm. In this paper, we propose a distribution model of ant colony foraging, through analysis of the relationship between the position distribution and food source in the process of ant colony foraging. We design a continuous domain optimization algorithm based on the model and give the form of solution for the algorithm, the distribution model of pheromone, the update rules of ant colony position, and the processing method of constraint condition. Algorithm performance against a set of test trials was unconstrained optimization test functions and a set of optimization test functions, and test results of other algorithms are compared and analyzed to verify the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm. PMID:24955402

  19. Path integration in desert ants, Cataglyphis: how to make a homing ant run away from home.

    PubMed

    Andel, David; Wehner, Rüdiger

    2004-07-22

    Path integration is an ant's lifeline on any of its foraging journeys. It results in a homebound global vector that continually informs the animal about its position relative to its starting point. Here, we use a particular (repeated training and displacement) paradigm, in which homebound ants are made to follow a familiar landmark route repeatedly from the feeder to the nest, even after they have arrived at the nest. The results show that during the repeated landmark-guided home runs the ant's path integrator runs continually, so that the current state of the homebound vector increasingly exceeds the reference state. The dramatic result is that the homing ants run away from home. This finding implies that the ants do not rely on cartographic information about the locations of nest and feeder (e.g. that the nest is always south of the feeder), but just behave according to what the state of their egocentric path integrator tells them.

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

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Liqiang; Dai, Yuntao

    2014-01-01

    Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains is a major research direction for ant colony optimization algorithm. In this paper, we propose a distribution model of ant colony foraging, through analysis of the relationship between the position distribution and food source in the process of ant colony foraging. We design a continuous domain optimization algorithm based on the model and give the form of solution for the algorithm, the distribution model of pheromone, the update rules of ant colony position, and the processing method of constraint condition. Algorithm performance against a set of test trials was unconstrained optimization test functions and a set of optimization test functions, and test results of other algorithms are compared and analyzed to verify the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm. PMID:24955402

  1. Statistical Mechanics of Collective Transport by Ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pinkoviezky, Itai; Gelblum, Aviram; Fonio, Ehud; Ghosh, Abhijit; Gov, Nir; Feinerman, Ofer

    Collective decisions and cooperation within groups are essential for the survival of many species. Conflicts within the group must be suppressed but conformism may render the system unresponsive to new information. Collective transport by ants is therefore an ideal model system to study how animal groups optimize these opposing requirements. We combine experiments and theory to characterize the collective transport. The ants are modeled as binary Ising spins, representing the two roles ants can perform during transport. It turns out that the ants poise themselves collectively near a critical point where the response to a newly attached ant is maximized. We identify the size as being proportional to an inverse effective temperature and thus the system can exhibit a mesoscopic transition between order and disorder by manipulating the size. Constraining the cargo with a string makes the system behave as a strongly non-linear pendulum. Theoretically we predict that a Hopf bifurcation occurs at a critical size followed by a global bifurcation where full swings emerge. Remarkably, these theoretical predictions were verified experimentally.

  2. Early ant trajectories: spatial behaviour before behaviourism.

    PubMed

    Wehner, Rüdiger

    2016-04-01

    In the beginning of the twentieth century, when Jacques Loeb's and John Watson's mechanistic view of life started to dominate animal physiology and behavioural biology, several scientists with different academic backgrounds got engaged in studying the wayfinding behaviour of ants. Largely unaffected by the scientific spirit of the time, they worked independently of each other in different countries: in Algeria, Tunisia, Spain, Switzerland and the United States of America. In the current literature on spatial cognition these early ant researchers--Victor Cornetz, Felix Santschi, Charles Turner and Rudolf Brun--are barely mentioned. Moreover, it is virtually unknown that the great neuroanatomist Santiago Ramón y Cajal had also worked on spatial orientation in ants. This general neglect is certainly due to the fact that nearly all these ant researchers were scientific loners, who did their idiosyncratic investigations outside the realm of comparative physiology, neurobiology and the behavioural sciences of the time, and published their results in French, German, and Spanish at rather inaccessible places. Even though one might argue that much of their work resulted in mainly anecdotal evidence, the conceptual approaches of these early ant researchers preempt much of the present-day discussions on spatial representation in animals. PMID:26898725

  3. Ant odometry in the third dimension.

    PubMed

    Wohlgemuth, S; Ronacher, B; Wehner, R

    2001-06-14

    Desert ants (Cataglyphis) are renowned for their ability to perform large-scale foraging excursions and then return to the nest by path integration. They do so by integrating courses steered and the distances travelled into a continually updated home vector. Whereas the angular orientation is based on skylight cues, how the ants gauge the distances travelled has remained largely unclear. Furthermore, almost all studies on path integration in Cataglyphis, as well as in spiders, rodents, and humans, have aimed at understanding how the animals compute homebound courses in the horizontal plane. Here, we investigate for the first time how an animal's odometer operates when a path integration task has to be accomplished that includes a vertical component. We trained Cataglyphis ants within arrays of uphill and downhill channels, and later tested them on flat terrain, or vice versa. In all these cases, the ants indicated homing distances that corresponded not to the distances actually travelled but to the ground distances; that is, to the sum of the horizontal projections of the uphill and downhill segments of the ants' paths.

  4. Fossil evidence for the early ant evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-02-01

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

  5. Detection of mitochondrial COII DNA sequences in ant guts as a method for assessing termite predation by ants.

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  7. Detection of mitochondrial COII DNA sequences in ant guts as a method for assessing termite predation by ants.

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Desert ants learn vibration and magnetic landmarks.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

    The desert ants Cataglyphis navigate not only by path integration but also by using visual and olfactory landmarks to pinpoint the nest entrance. Here we show that Cataglyphis noda can additionally use magnetic and vibrational landmarks as nest-defining cues. The magnetic field may typically provide directional rather than positional information, and vibrational signals so far have been shown to be involved in social behavior. Thus it remains questionable if magnetic and vibration landmarks are usually provided by the ants' habitat as nest-defining cues. However, our results point to the flexibility of the ants' navigational system, which even makes use of cues that are probably most often sensed in a different context.

  11. Moribund Ants Do Not Call for Help.

    PubMed

    Miler, Krzysztof

    2016-01-01

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

  12. Desert Ants Learn Vibration and Magnetic Landmarks

    PubMed Central

    Buehlmann, Cornelia

    2012-01-01

    The desert ants Cataglyphis navigate not only by path integration but also by using visual and olfactory landmarks to pinpoint the nest entrance. Here we show that Cataglyphis noda can additionally use magnetic and vibrational landmarks as nest-defining cues. The magnetic field may typically provide directional rather than positional information, and vibrational signals so far have been shown to be involved in social behavior. Thus it remains questionable if magnetic and vibration landmarks are usually provided by the ants' habitat as nest-defining cues. However, our results point to the flexibility of the ants' navigational system, which even makes use of cues that are probably most often sensed in a different context. PMID:22412989

  13. Collecting live ant specimens (colony sampling).

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2009-07-01

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

  14. 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

  15. The Ants of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brandau, E.

    2014-12-01

    The core location of my research project was the Arabuko Sokoke Forest. The forest is located along the east coast of Kenya and belongs to the coastal forest zone of eastern Africa. The forest is considered a biodiversity hotspot, having many species being endemic to this habitat. The Arabuko Sokoke Forest is not a rainforest, like the Kakamega Forest in western Kenya, but a tropical dry forest. The objective of my research was to create a general checklist of the ant species collected in teh Arabuko Sokoke Forest in 2009. The general checklist of ant species will be used to document the differences between the three different forest habitat types (Cynometra, Brachystegia and mixed forest) and ant communities found within the forest, as well as the fauna found in those locations. The ants were collected using the leaf litter extraction method and were then mounted and idenified. The results from my research were that out of 73 specimens, there were 13 genera and 24 different species. Four of the 24 species have not been recorded for this forest before and one of the Tetramorium is likely to be a new species. The results also showed that the species diversity on the two transects are almost the same. There was very low overlap between the two transects as well: there were two shared species between the two different forest habitat types. For future work, there are still many undiscovered ant species in the Arabuko Sokoke Forest. In order to get a more complete faunal overview, more samples have to be collected from different parts of the forest. To do this, the canopy ant fauna might offer additional species that were not collected in the leaf litter samples.

  16. Ant-gardens of tropical Asian rainforests.

    PubMed

    Kaufmann, Eva; Maschwitz, Ulrich

    2006-05-01

    Ant-garden (AG) associations are systems of epiphytic plants and arboricolous (i.e., tree-living) ants, in which the ants build fragile carton nests containing organic material. They collect and incorporate seeds or fruits of epiphytes that then germinate and grow on the nest [sensu Corbara et al. (1999) 38:73-89]. The plant roots stabilize the nest carton. AGs have been well-known in the neotropics for more than 100 years. In contrast, reports on similar associations in the paleotropics are scarce so far. After discovering a first common AG system on giant bamboo [Kaufmann et al. (2001) 48:125-133], we started a large-scale survey for AGs in Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Java, and southern Thailand. A great variety of AG systems (altogether including 18 ant species and 51 plant species) was discovered and is described in the present paper. The high number of species participating in AG associations was reflected by a great variability in the specific appearances of the nest gardens. Frequently, further groups of organisms (e.g., hemipteran trophobionts, fungi) were also involved. Preference patterns of particular ant and epiphyte species for each other and for particular phorophytes (carrier trees) were detected. We integrate domatia-producing, so-called ant-house epiphytes in our study and compare their phases of establishment, as well as other characteristics, to "classical" AGs, coming to the conclusion that they should be regarded only as a special type of AG epiphyte and not as a separate ecological category.

  17. Recruitment strategies and colony size in ants.

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Huang, Ming H

    2010-01-01

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

  19. Ant navigation: priming of visual route memories.

    PubMed

    Harris, Robert A; Hempel de Ibarra, Natalie; Graham, Paul; Collett, Thomas S

    2005-11-17

    Ants travelling to and fro between their nest and a foraging area may follow stereotyped foodward and homeward routes that are guided by different visual and directional memory sequences. Honeybees are known to fly a feeder-to-hive or hive-to-feeder vector according to whether or not they have recently fed--their feeding state controls which compass direction they select. We show here that the feeding state of the wood ant Formica rufa also determines the choice between an outward or inward journey, but by priming the selective retrieval of visual landmark memories.

  20. Ecological sampling of ants: competition and biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R

    2009-07-01

    Ants are among the most dominant taxa in terrestrial ecosystems, despite their small individual size. Furthermore, they are a hyperdiverse family with an estimated 20,000 species. Together, these two properties make ants a model for ecological interactions (specifically competition) and biodiversity estimation. Although there are many means of measuring diversity, the two most common among myrmecologists are baiting and pitfall trapping. Pitfall traps provide an almost unbiased estimate of the ground foraging community, whereas baiting allows the estimation of ecological dominance and the competitive outcomes between species. This protocol describes an approach to assay both abundance (pitfall traps) and ecological interactions (baits) in the same community. PMID:20147206

  1. 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.

  2. Fire ant control with Entomopathogens in the USA

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fire ants, Solenopsis richteri and Solenopsis invicta, are stinging invasive ants from South America that infest over 129.5 million hectares in the southern United States. In the southern U.S., eradication is no longer considered possible and toxicant-based fire ant baiting is currently the primary...

  3. Dynamics of an ant-plant-pollinator model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Yuanshi; DeAngelis, Donald L.; Nathaniel Holland, J.

    2015-03-01

    In this paper, we consider plant-pollinator-ant systems in which plant-pollinator interaction and plant-ant interaction are both mutualistic, but there also exists interference of pollinators by ants. The plant-pollinator interaction can be described by a Beddington-DeAngelis formula, so we extend the formula to characterize plant-pollinator mutualisms, including the interference by ants, and form a plant-pollinator-ant model. Using dynamical systems theory, we show uniform persistence of the model. Moreover, we demonstrate conditions under which boundary equilibria are globally asymptotically stable. The dynamics exhibit mechanisms by which the three species could coexist when ants interfere with pollinators. We define a threshold in ant interference. When ant interference is strong, it can drive plant-pollinator mutualisms to extinction. Furthermore, if the ants depend on pollination mutualism for their persistence, then sufficiently strong ant interference could lead to their own extinction as well. Yet, when ant interference is weak, plant-ant and plant-pollinator mutualisms can promote the persistence of one another.

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

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

  6. Serotonin depresses feeding behaviour in ants.

    PubMed

    Falibene, Agustina; Rössler, Wolfgang; Josens, Roxana

    2012-01-01

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

  7. Operant conditioning in the ant Myrmica sabuleti.

    PubMed

    Cammaerts, M C

    2004-11-30

    Operant conditioning could be obtained in the ant Myrmica sabuleti by presenting to the workers, during a six-day period, an apparatus containing either sugared water or meat as a reward. The conditioning obtained using sugared water as a reward was short lasting. A reconditioning was more persistent and lasted four hours. The ants' response was very precise, since they exhibited it only in front of an apparatus identical to that used during the training phase. Operant conditioning obtained using meat as a reward was more pronounced than that obtained by using sugared water, probably because meat is more valuable as a reward than sugar for the species studied, which is essentially a carnivorous one. Such a conditioning was rather persistent. Indeed, a first operant conditioning obtained by using meat as a reward could still be detected after seven hours, and a reconditioning was still significant after eight hours. One day after this eight-hour period without rewarding the ants, the response was higher again and a further day later, it was still significant. Since the operant conditioning is easy to perform and quantify and since the ants' response is very precise, such a conditioning can be used for further studying M. sabuleti workers' visual perception.

  8. How do ants stick out their tongues?

    PubMed

    Paul, Jürgen; Roces, Flavio; Hölldobler, Bert

    2002-10-01

    The mouthparts are very important tools for almost any task performed by ants. In particular, the labiomaxillary complex is essential for food intake. In the present study we investigated the anatomical design of the labiomaxillary complex in various ant species, focusing on movement mechanisms. Six labial and six maxillary muscles with different functions control the several joints and ensure the proper performance of the labiomaxillary complex. According to our measurements of sarcomere lengths, muscle fiber lengths and diameters, and the relative muscle volumes, the labial and maxillary muscles feature rather slow than fast muscle characteristics and do not seem to be specialized for specific tasks. Since glossa protractor muscles are absent, the protraction of the glossa, the distal end of the labium, is a nonmuscular movement. By histological measurements of hemolymph volumes we could exclude a pressure-driven mechanism. Additional experiments showed that, upon relaxation of the glossa retractor muscles, the glossa protracts elastically. This elastic mechanism possibly sets an upper limit to licking frequency, thus influencing food intake rates and ultimately foraging behavior. In contrast to many other elastic mechanisms among arthropods, glossa protraction in ants is based on a mechanism where elasticity works as an actual antagonist to muscles. We compared the design of the labiomaxillary complex of ants with that of the honeybee and suggest an elastic mechanism for glossa protraction in honeybees as well.

  9. Ants recognize foes and not friends.

    PubMed

    Guerrieri, Fernando J; Nehring, Volker; Jørgensen, Charlotte G; Nielsen, John; Galizia, C Giovanni; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2009-07-01

    Discriminating among individuals and rejecting non-group members is essential for the evolution and stability of animal societies. Ants are good models for studying recognition mechanisms, because they are typically very efficient in discriminating 'friends' (nest-mates) from 'foes' (non-nest-mates). Recognition in ants involves multicomponent cues encoded in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles. Here, we tested whether workers of the carpenter ant Camponotus herculeanus use the presence and/or absence of cuticular hydrocarbons to discriminate between nest-mates and non-nest-mates. We supplemented the cuticular profile with synthetic hydrocarbons mixed to liquid food and then assessed behavioural responses using two different bioassays. Our results show that (i) the presence, but not the absence, of an additional hydrocarbon elicited aggression and that (ii) among the three classes of hydrocarbons tested (unbranched, mono-methylated and dimethylated alkanes; for mono-methylated alkanes, we present a new synthetic pathway), only the dimethylated alkane was effective in eliciting aggression. Our results suggest that carpenter ants use a fundamentally different mechanism for nest-mate recognition than previously thought. They do not specifically recognize nest-mates, but rather recognize and reject non-nest-mates bearing odour cues that are novel to their own colony cuticular hydrocarbon profile. This begs for a reappraisal of the mechanisms underlying recognition systems in social insects.

  10. The Kanizsa triangle illusion in foraging ants.

    PubMed

    Sakiyama, Tomoko; Gunji, Yukio-Pegio

    2016-01-01

    The Kanizsa triangle, wherein three Pac-Man configurations symmetrically face inwards, is a well-known illusion. By exposing foraging ants (Lasius niger) to Kanizsa-shaped honeydew solutions, we studied the origin of this illusion. More specifically, we examined whether foraging ants showed different movement reactions to local honeydew patterns formed by nestmates. This novel phenomenon could serve as an abstract model of the Kanizsa triangle illusion under the assumption that such an illusion could arise through the sum of each agent's limited global cognitions, because each agent could not perceive the entire subjective contours. Even a subjective consciousness consists of some parts which have no identical perception and could be an illusion. We succeeded in inducing foragers to move along the sides of a Kanizsa triangle when Pac-Man-shaped inducers were introduced. Furthermore, foragers appeared to form Y-shaped trajectories when dot-shaped or inverse Kanizsa inducers were used. Based on our findings, we propose an agent-based ant model that compares modelled behaviour with experimental phenomena. Our abstract model could be used to explain such cognitive phenomena for bottom-up processes, because ants cannot perceive the given subjective contours, instead simply move along the edges. PMID:26930477

  11. Ants recognize foes and not friends.

    PubMed

    Guerrieri, Fernando J; Nehring, Volker; Jørgensen, Charlotte G; Nielsen, John; Galizia, C Giovanni; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2009-07-01

    Discriminating among individuals and rejecting non-group members is essential for the evolution and stability of animal societies. Ants are good models for studying recognition mechanisms, because they are typically very efficient in discriminating 'friends' (nest-mates) from 'foes' (non-nest-mates). Recognition in ants involves multicomponent cues encoded in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles. Here, we tested whether workers of the carpenter ant Camponotus herculeanus use the presence and/or absence of cuticular hydrocarbons to discriminate between nest-mates and non-nest-mates. We supplemented the cuticular profile with synthetic hydrocarbons mixed to liquid food and then assessed behavioural responses using two different bioassays. Our results show that (i) the presence, but not the absence, of an additional hydrocarbon elicited aggression and that (ii) among the three classes of hydrocarbons tested (unbranched, mono-methylated and dimethylated alkanes; for mono-methylated alkanes, we present a new synthetic pathway), only the dimethylated alkane was effective in eliciting aggression. Our results suggest that carpenter ants use a fundamentally different mechanism for nest-mate recognition than previously thought. They do not specifically recognize nest-mates, but rather recognize and reject non-nest-mates bearing odour cues that are novel to their own colony cuticular hydrocarbon profile. This begs for a reappraisal of the mechanisms underlying recognition systems in social insects. PMID:19364750

  12. Calibration of vector navigation in desert ants.

    PubMed

    Collett, M; Collett, T S; Wehner, R

    1999-09-23

    Desert ants (Cataglyphis sp.) monitor their position relative to the nest using a form of dead reckoning [1] [2] [3] known as path integration (PI) [4]. They do this with a sun compass and an odometer to update an accumulator that records their current position [1]. Ants can use PI to return to the nest [2] [3]. Here, we report that desert ants, like honeybees [5] and hamsters [6], can also use PI to approach a previously visited food source. To navigate to a goal using only PI information, a forager must recall a previous state of the accumulator specifying the goal, and compare it with the accumulator's current state [4]. The comparison - essentially vector subtraction - gives the direction to the goal. This whole process, which we call vector navigation, was found to be calibrated at recognised sites, such as the nest and a familiar feeder, throughout the life of a forager. If a forager was trained around a one-way circuit in which the result of PI on the return route did not match the result on the outward route, calibration caused the ant's trajectories to be misdirected. We propose a model of vector navigation to suggest how calibration could produce such trajectories.

  13. Ant species identity mediates reproductive traits and allocation in an ant-garden bromeliad

    PubMed Central

    Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Carrias, Jean-François; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2012-01-01

    Background and Aims Determining the sources of variation in floral morphology is crucial to understanding the mechanisms underlying Angiosperm evolution. The selection of floral and reproductive traits is influenced by the plant's abiotic environment, florivores and pollinators. However, evidence that variations in floral traits result from mutualistic interactions with insects other than pollinators is lacking in the published literature and has rarely been investigated. We aimed to determine whether the association with either Camponotus femoratus or Pachycondyla goeldii (both involved in seed dispersal and plant protection) mediates the reproductive traits and allocation of Aechmea mertensii, an obligatory ant-garden tank-bromeliad, differently. Methods Floral and reproductive traits were compared between the two A. mertensii ant-gardens. The nitrogen flux from the ants to the bromeliads was investigated through experimental enrichments with stable isotopes (15N). Key Results Camponotus femoratus-associated bromeliads produced inflorescences up to four times longer than did P. goeldii-associated bromeliads. Also, the numbers of flowers and fruits were close to four times higher, and the number of seeds and their mass per fruit were close to 1·5 times higher in C. femoratus than in P. goeldii-associated bromeliads. Furthermore, the 15N-enrichment experiment showed that C. femoratus-associated bromeliads received more nitrogen from ants than did P. goeldii-associated bromeliads, with subsequent positive repercussions on floral development. Greater benefits were conferred to A. mertensii by the association with C. femoratus compared with P. goeldii ants. Conclusions We show for the first time that mutualistic associations with ants can result in an enhanced reproductive allocation for the bromeliad A. mertensii. Nevertheless, the strength and direction of the selection of floral and fruit traits change based on the ant species and were not related to light

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gómez, Crisanto; Oliveras, Jordi

    2003-04-01

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

  15. Dead ant walking: a myrmecophilous beetle predator uses parasitoid host location cues to selectively prey on parasitized ants.

    PubMed

    Mathis, Kaitlyn A; Tsutsui, Neil D

    2016-08-17

    Myrmecophiles (i.e. organisms that associate with ants) use a variety of ecological niches and employ different strategies to survive encounters with ants. Because ants are typically excellent defenders, myrmecophiles may choose moments of weakness to take advantage of their ant associates. This hypothesis was studied in the rove beetle, Myrmedonota xipe, which associates with Azteca sericeasur ants in the presence of parasitoid flies. A combination of laboratory and field experiments show that M. xipe beetles selectively locate and prey upon parasitized ants. These parasitized ants are less aggressive towards beetles than healthy ants, allowing beetles to eat the parasitized ants alive without interruption. Moreover, behavioural assays and chemical analysis reveal that M. xipe are attracted to the ant's alarm pheromone, the same secretion used by the phorid fly parasitoids in host location. This strategy allows beetles access to an abundant but otherwise inaccessible resource, as A. sericeasur ants are typically highly aggressive. These results are the first, to our knowledge, to demonstrate a predator sharing cues with a parasitoid to gain access to an otherwise unavailable prey item. Furthermore, this work highlights the importance of studying ant-myrmecophile interactions beyond just their pairwise context. PMID:27512148

  16. Dead ant walking: a myrmecophilous beetle predator uses parasitoid host location cues to selectively prey on parasitized ants.

    PubMed

    Mathis, Kaitlyn A; Tsutsui, Neil D

    2016-08-17

    Myrmecophiles (i.e. organisms that associate with ants) use a variety of ecological niches and employ different strategies to survive encounters with ants. Because ants are typically excellent defenders, myrmecophiles may choose moments of weakness to take advantage of their ant associates. This hypothesis was studied in the rove beetle, Myrmedonota xipe, which associates with Azteca sericeasur ants in the presence of parasitoid flies. A combination of laboratory and field experiments show that M. xipe beetles selectively locate and prey upon parasitized ants. These parasitized ants are less aggressive towards beetles than healthy ants, allowing beetles to eat the parasitized ants alive without interruption. Moreover, behavioural assays and chemical analysis reveal that M. xipe are attracted to the ant's alarm pheromone, the same secretion used by the phorid fly parasitoids in host location. This strategy allows beetles access to an abundant but otherwise inaccessible resource, as A. sericeasur ants are typically highly aggressive. These results are the first, to our knowledge, to demonstrate a predator sharing cues with a parasitoid to gain access to an otherwise unavailable prey item. Furthermore, this work highlights the importance of studying ant-myrmecophile interactions beyond just their pairwise context.

  17. Microbiomes of ant castes implicate new microbial roles in the fungus-growing ant Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

    PubMed Central

    Ishak, Heather D.; Miller, Jessica L.; Sen, Ruchira; Dowd, Scot E.; Meyer, Eli; Mueller, Ulrich G.

    2011-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants employ several defenses against diseases, including disease-suppressing microbial biofilms on their integument and in fungal gardens. Here, we compare the phenology of microbiomes in natural nests of the temperate fungus-growing ant Trachymyrmex septentrionalis using culture-dependent isolations and culture-independent 16S-amplicon 454-sequencing. 454-sequencing revealed diverse actinobacteria associated with ants, including most prominently Solirubrobacter (12.2–30.9% of sequence reads), Pseudonocardia (3.5–42.0%), and Microlunatus (0.4–10.8%). Bacterial abundances remained relatively constant in monthly surveys throughout the annual active period (late winter to late summer), except Pseudonocardia abundance declined in females during the reproductive phase. Pseudonocardia species found on ants are phylogenetically different from those in gardens and soil, indicating ecological separation of these Pseudonocardia types. Because the pathogen Escovopsis is not known to infect gardens of T. septentrionalis, the ant-associated microbes do not seem to function in Escovopsis suppression, but could protect against ant diseases, help in nest sanitation, or serve unknown functions. PMID:22355719

  18. Ant benefits in a seed dispersal mutualism.

    PubMed

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

    2005-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Merkle, Tobias; Wehner, Rüdiger

    2008-11-01

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

  1. Exploring with PAM: Prospecting ANTS Missions for Solar System Surveys

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2003-01-01

    ANTS (Autonomous Nano-Technology Swarm), a large (1000 member) swarm of nano to picoclass (10 to 1 kg) totally autonomous spacecraft, are being developed as a NASA advanced mission concept. ANTS, based on a hierarchical insect social order, use an evolvable, self-similar, hierarchical neural system in which individual spacecraft represent the highest level nodes. ANTS uses swarm intelligence attained through collective, cooperative interactions of the nodes at all levels of the system. At the highest levels this can take the form of cooperative, collective behavior among the individual spacecraft in a very large constellation. The ANTS neural architecture is designed for totally autonomous operation of complex systems including spacecraft constellations. The ANTS (Autonomous Nano Technology Swarm) concept has a number of possible applications. A version of ANTS designed for surveying and determining the resource potential of the asteroid belt, called PAM (Prospecting ANTS Mission), is examined here.

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  4. Red legs and golden gasters: Batesian mimicry in Australian ants.

    PubMed

    Merrill, D N; Elgar, M A

    2000-05-01

    There are numerous reports of invertebrates that are visual mimics of ants, but no formal reports of mimicry of an ant, by an ant. Two endemic Australian ants, Myrmecia fulvipes and Camponotus bendigensis are remarkably similar in colour and size; both are generally black but have red legs and golden gasters. The density and hue of the pubescence of each ant's gaster are relatively uncommon in ants, but are very rare when combined with the black forebody and red legs. The ants are similarly sized but are smaller than other species closely related to M. fulvipes. The range of C. bendigensis lies entirely within that of M. fulvipes, and both species excavate ground nests in open woodland. Finally, workers of both species are crepuscular and forage solitarily. These data suggest that the relatively benign formicine C. bendigensis is a Batesian mimic of the formidable myrmeciine M. fulvipes.

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

    PubMed

    Wilder, Shawn M; Eubanks, Micky D

    2010-04-23

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

  6. Size matters: nest colonization patterns for twig-nesting ants.

    PubMed

    Jiménez-Soto, Estelí; Philpott, Stacy M

    2015-08-01

    Understanding the drivers of ant diversity and co-occurrence in agroecosystems is fundamental because ants participate in interactions that influence agroecosystem processes. Multiple local and regional factors influence ant community assembly.We examined local factors that influence the structure of a twig-nesting ant community in a coffee system in Mexico using an experimental approach. We investigated whether twig characteristics (nest entrance size and diversity of nest entrance sizes) and nest strata (canopy shade tree or coffee shrub) affected occupation, species richness, and community composition of twig-nesting ants and whether frequency of occupation of ant species varied with particular nest entrance sizes or strata.We conducted our study in a shaded coffee farm in Chiapas, Mexico, between March and June 2012. We studied ant nest colonization by placing artificial nests (bamboo twigs) on coffee shrubs and shade trees either in diverse or uniform treatments. We also examined whether differences in vegetation (no. of trees, canopy cover and coffee density) influenced nest colonization.We found 33 ant species occupying 73% of nests placed. Nest colonization did not differ with nest strata or size. Mean species richness of colonizing ants was significantly higher in the diverse nest size entrance treatment, but did not differ with nest strata. Community composition differed between strata and also between the diverse and uniform size treatments on coffee shrubs, but not on shade trees. Some individual ant species were more frequently found in certain nest strata and in nests with certain entrance sizes.Our results indicate that twig-nesting ants are nest-site limited, quickly occupy artificial nests of many sizes, and that trees or shrubs with twigs of a diversity of entrance sizes likely support higher ant species richness. Further, individual ant species more frequently occupy nests with different sized entrances promoting ant richness on individual coffee

  7. Size matters: nest colonization patterns for twig-nesting ants

    PubMed Central

    Jiménez-Soto, Estelí; Philpott, Stacy M

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the drivers of ant diversity and co-occurrence in agroecosystems is fundamental because ants participate in interactions that influence agroecosystem processes. Multiple local and regional factors influence ant community assembly. We examined local factors that influence the structure of a twig-nesting ant community in a coffee system in Mexico using an experimental approach. We investigated whether twig characteristics (nest entrance size and diversity of nest entrance sizes) and nest strata (canopy shade tree or coffee shrub) affected occupation, species richness, and community composition of twig-nesting ants and whether frequency of occupation of ant species varied with particular nest entrance sizes or strata. We conducted our study in a shaded coffee farm in Chiapas, Mexico, between March and June 2012. We studied ant nest colonization by placing artificial nests (bamboo twigs) on coffee shrubs and shade trees either in diverse or uniform treatments. We also examined whether differences in vegetation (no. of trees, canopy cover and coffee density) influenced nest colonization. We found 33 ant species occupying 73% of nests placed. Nest colonization did not differ with nest strata or size. Mean species richness of colonizing ants was significantly higher in the diverse nest size entrance treatment, but did not differ with nest strata. Community composition differed between strata and also between the diverse and uniform size treatments on coffee shrubs, but not on shade trees. Some individual ant species were more frequently found in certain nest strata and in nests with certain entrance sizes. Our results indicate that twig-nesting ants are nest-site limited, quickly occupy artificial nests of many sizes, and that trees or shrubs with twigs of a diversity of entrance sizes likely support higher ant species richness. Further, individual ant species more frequently occupy nests with different sized entrances promoting ant richness on individual

  8. 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.

  9. Field tests of interspecific competition in ant assemblages: revisiting the dominant red wood ants.

    PubMed

    Gibb, Heloise; Johansson, Therese

    2011-05-01

    1. There has been considerable debate on the importance of competition in ecological communities, but its importance in structuring ant assemblages has often been uncritically accepted. Here, we briefly review field experiments examining competition in ant assemblages and use a removal experiment to test the effect of the classical territorial dominant ant, Formica aquilonia. Ants of this species group are thought to structure communities through a dominance hierarchy. 2. First, we used pitfall traps to compare the abundance of other ants in replicated sites with low and high densities of F. aquilonia. We found differences in community composition, in particular, Camponotus herculeanus was more common in low-density sites, in accordance with predictions. Differences in ant assemblages were not owing to differences in measured habitat variables. 3. We removed F. aquilonia from a set of high-density sites, using physical and chemical methods, and repeated these procedures at procedural control sites. One year after removal, abundances of F. aquilonia at removal sites were similar to those at low-density sites. However, the composition of other species did not change in response to F. aquilonia removal. Replication rates were identical in the mensurative and experimental components of this study, so this is unlikely to be owing to the analysis being insufficiently powerful. 4. We suggest three possibilities for the lack of difference. First, the study may have been too short term or small scale to detect differences. However, previous studies have shown effects on smaller spatial- and temporal-scales. Second, priority effects may be important in the successful colonisation by F. aquilonia. Thirdly, boreal ant assemblages may be too depauperate for redundancy in ecological roles and for competition to play an important structuring role. 5. We thus recommend that long-term large-scale experiments be considered essential if we are to distinguish between competing

  10. Forest edges and fire ants alter the seed shadow of an ant-dispersed plant.

    PubMed

    Ness, J H

    2004-02-01

    Exotic species invade fragmented, edge-rich habitats readily, yet the distinct impacts of habitat edges and invaders on native biota are rarely distinguished. Both appear detrimental to ant-dispersed plants such as bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis. Working in northeastern Georgia (USA), an area characterized by a rich ant-dispersed flora, fragmented forests, and invasions by the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, I monitored the interactions between ants and S. canadensis seeds in uninvaded forest interiors, uninvaded forest edges, invaded forest interiors, and invaded forest edges. I observed 95% of the seed dispersal events that occurred within the 60-min observation intervals. Seed collection rates were similar among all four (habitat x invasion) groups. The presence of invasive ants had a strong effect on seed dispersal distance: S. invicta collected most seeds in invaded sites, but was a poorer disperser than four of five native ant taxa. Habitat type (interior versus edge) had no effect on seed dispersal distance, but it had a strong effect on seed dispersal direction. Dispersal towards the edge was disproportionately rare in uninvaded forest edges, and ants in those habitats moved the average dispersed seed approximately 70 cm away from that edge. Dispersal direction was also skewed away from the edge in uninvaded forest interiors and invaded forest edges, albeit non-significantly. This biased dispersal may help explain the rarity of myrmecochorous plants in younger forests and edges, and their poor ability to disperse between fragments. This is the first demonstration that forest edges and S. invicta invasion influence seed dispersal destination and distance, respectively. These forces act independently.

  11. Optic disc detection using ant colony optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dias, Marcy A.; Monteiro, Fernando C.

    2012-09-01

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

  12. Lithiase géante sur enterocystoplastie

    PubMed Central

    Elmortaji, Khalid; Elomri, Ghassane; Bennani, Saad; Rabii, Redouane; Aboutaib, Rachid; Meziane, Fethi

    2014-01-01

    La formation des lithiases est une complication fréquente des entérocystoplasties après cystectomie radicale pour tumeur de vessie infiltrante. Le délai d'apparition dépend des facteurs de risque favorisants notamment les infections urinaires. Néanmoins la survenue de lithiase géante sur néovessie reste exceptionnelle, seulement 5 cas ont été rapportés dans la littérature. Nous rapportons dans ce travail, le cas d'une lithiase géante compliquant une entérocystoplastie chez un malade suivi pour tumeur de vessie infiltrante. PMID:25932070

  13. Ant-Man and the quantum realm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michalakis, Spiros

    2015-11-01

    I was in Los Angeles airport, stuffing French fries into my mouth and waiting for a flight to Charlotte, North Carolina, when my phone buzzed. The e-mail was from the Science and Entertainment Exchange, a non-profit organization working to elevate the level of science in the movies, and it told me to report to Atlanta to consult on a new superhero movie: Ant-Man.

  14. Ant colony optimization and stochastic gradient descent.

    PubMed

    Meuleau, Nicolas; Dorigo, Marco

    2002-01-01

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

  15. Ant fat extraction with a Soxhlet extractor.

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2009-07-01

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

  16. Biodiversity below ground: probing the subterranean ant fauna of Amazonia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ryder Wilkie, Kari T.; Mertl, Amy L.; Traniello, James F. A.

    2007-09-01

    Ants are abundant, diverse, and ecologically dominant in tropical forests. Subterranean ants in particular are thought to have a significant environmental impact, although difficulties associated with collecting ants underground and examining their ecology and behavior have limited research. In this paper, we present the results of a study of subterranean ant diversity in Amazonian Ecuador that employs a novel probe to facilitate the discovery of species inhabiting the soil horizon. Forty-seven species of ants in 19 genera, including new and apparently rare species, were collected in probes. Approximately 19% of the species collected at different depths in the soil were unique to probe samples. Analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) results showed that the species composition of ants collected with the probe was significantly different from samples collected using other techniques. Additionally, ANOSIM computations indicated the species assemblage of ants collected 12.5 cm below the surface was significantly different from those found at 25, 37.5, and 50 cm. Ant diversity and species accumulation rates decreased with increasing depth. There were no species unique to the lowest depths, suggesting that subterranean ants may not be distributed deep in the soil in Amazonia due to the high water table. The technique we describe could be used to gain new insights into the distribution and biology of subterranean ant species and other members of the species-rich soil invertebrate macrofauna.

  17. Biodiversity below ground: probing the subterranean ant fauna of Amazonia.

    PubMed

    Ryder Wilkie, Kari T; Mertl, Amy L; Traniello, James F A

    2007-09-01

    Ants are abundant, diverse, and ecologically dominant in tropical forests. Subterranean ants in particular are thought to have a significant environmental impact, although difficulties associated with collecting ants underground and examining their ecology and behavior have limited research. In this paper, we present the results of a study of subterranean ant diversity in Amazonian Ecuador that employs a novel probe to facilitate the discovery of species inhabiting the soil horizon. Forty-seven species of ants in 19 genera, including new and apparently rare species, were collected in probes. Approximately 19% of the species collected at different depths in the soil were unique to probe samples. Analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) results showed that the species composition of ants collected with the probe was significantly different from samples collected using other techniques. Additionally, ANOSIM computations indicated the species assemblage of ants collected 12.5 cm below the surface was significantly different from those found at 25, 37.5, and 50 cm. Ant diversity and species accumulation rates decreased with increasing depth. There were no species unique to the lowest depths, suggesting that subterranean ants may not be distributed deep in the soil in Amazonia due to the high water table. The technique we describe could be used to gain new insights into the distribution and biology of subterranean ant species and other members of the species-rich soil invertebrate macrofauna. PMID:17457552

  18. Homing abilities of the Australian intertidal ant Polyrhachis sokolova.

    PubMed

    Narendra, Ajay; Raderschall, Chloé A; Robson, Simon K A

    2013-10-01

    The pressure of returning to and locating the nest after a successful foraging trip is immense in ants. To find their way back home, ants use a number of different strategies (e.g. path integration, trail following) and rely on a range of cues (e.g. pattern of polarised skylight, landmark panorama) available in their environment. How ants weigh different cues has been a question of great interest and has primarily been addressed in the desert ants from Africa and Australia. We here identify the navigational abilities of an intertidal ant, Polyrhachis sokolova, that lives on mudflats where nests and foraging areas are frequently inundated with tidal water. We find that these solitary foraging ants rely heavily on visual landmark information for navigation, but they are also capable of path integration. By displacing ants with and without vector information at different locations within the local familiar territory, we created conflicts between information from the landmarks and information from the path integrator. The homing success of full-vector ants, compared with the zero-vector ants, when displaced 5 m behind the feeder, indicate that vector information had to be coupled with landmark information for successful homing. To explain the differences in the homing abilities of ants from different locations we determined the navigational information content at each release station and compared it with that available at the feeder location. We report here the interaction of multiple navigation strategies in the context of the information content in the environment.

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

    PubMed

    Dussutour, A; Simpson, S J

    2008-07-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. Predaceous ants, beach replenishment, and nest placement by sea turtles.

    PubMed

    Wetterer, James K; Wood, Lawrence D; Johnson, Chris; Krahe, Holly; Fitchett, Stephanie

    2007-10-01

    Ants known for attacking and killing hatchling birds and reptiles include the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren), tropical fire ant [Solenopsis geminata (Fabr.)], and little fire ant [Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger)]. We tested whether sea turtle nest placement influenced exposure to predaceous ants. In 2000 and 2001, we surveyed ants along a Florida beach where green turtles (Chelonia mydas L.), leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea Vandelli), and loggerheads (Caretta caretta L.) nest. Part of the beach was artificially replenished between our two surveys. As a result, mean beach width experienced by nesting turtles differed greatly between the two nesting seasons. We surveyed 1,548 sea turtle nests (2000: 909 nests; 2001: 639 nests) and found 22 ant species. S. invicta was by far the most common species (on 431 nests); S. geminata and W. auropunctata were uncommon (on 3 and 16 nests, respectively). In 2000, 62.5% of nests had ants present (35.9% with S. invicta), but in 2001, only 30.5% of the nests had ants present (16.4% with S. invicta). Turtle nests closer to dune vegetation had significantly greater exposure to ants. Differences in ant presence on turtle nests between years and among turtle species were closely related to differences in nest placement relative to dune vegetation. Beach replenishment significantly lowered exposure of nests to ants because on the wider beaches turtles nested farther from the dune vegetation. Selective pressures on nesting sea turtles are altered both by the presence of predaceous ants and the practice of beach replenishment.

  2. The effect of disturbance on an ant-plant mutualism.

    PubMed

    Piovia-Scott, Jonah

    2011-06-01

    Protective ant-plant mutualisms-where plants provide food or shelter to ants and ants protect the plants from herbivores-are a common feature in many ecological communities, but few studies have examined the effect of disturbance on these interactions. Disturbance may affect the relationship between plants and their associated ant mutualists by increasing the plants' susceptibility to herbivores, changing the amount of reward provided for the ants, and altering the abundance of ants and other predators. Pruning was used to simulate the damage to buttonwood mangrove (Conocarpus erectus) caused by hurricanes. Pruned plants grew faster than unpruned plants, produced lower levels of physical anti-herbivore defenses (trichomes, toughness), and higher levels of chemical defenses (tannins) and extrafloral nectaries. Thus, simulated hurricane damage increased plant growth and the amount of reward provided to ant mutualists, but did not have consistent effects on other anti-herbivore defenses. Both herbivores and ants increased in abundance on pruned plants, indicating that the effects of simulated hurricane damage on plant traits were propagated to higher trophic levels. Ant-exclusion led to higher leaf damage on both pruned and upruned plants. The effect of ant-exclusion did not differ between pruned and unpruned plants, despite the fact that pruned plants had higher ant and herbivore densities, produced more extrafloral nectaries, and had fewer physical defenses. Another common predator, clubionid spiders, increased in abundance on pruned plants from which ants had been excluded. I suggest that compensatory predation by these spiders diminished the effect of ant-exclusion on pruned plants.

  3. Polydomy in the ant Ectatomma opaciventre.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  4. ANT tuner retrofit for LEB cavity

    SciTech Connect

    Walling, L.; Goren, Y.; Kwiatkowski, S.

    1994-03-01

    This report describes a ferrite tuner design for the LEB cavity that utilizes techniques for bonding ferrite to metallic cooling plates that is utilized in the high-power rf and microwave industry. A test tuner was designed to fit into the existing LEB-built magnet and onto the Grimm LEB Cavity. It will require a new vacuum window in order to attain maximal tuning range and high voltage capability and a new center conductor of longer length and a different vacuum window connection than the Grimm center conductor. However, the new center conductor will be essentially identical to the Grimm center conductor in its basic construction and in the way it connects to the stand for support. The tuner is mechanically very similar to high-power stacked circulators built by ANT of Germany and was designed according to ANT`s established engineering and design criteria and SSC LEB tuning and power requirements. The tuner design incorporates thin tiles of ferrite glued using a high-radiation-resistance epoxy to copper-plated stainless steel cooling plates of thickness 6.5 mm with water cooling channels inside the plates. The cooling plates constitute 16 pie-shaped segments arranged in a disk. They are electrically isolated from each other to suppress eddy currents. Five of these disks are arranged in parallel with high-pressure rf contacts between the plates at the outer radius. The end walls are slotted copper-plated stainless steel of thickness 3 mm.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Kin-informative recognition cues in ants.

    PubMed

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

    2011-07-01

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

  8. Dispersal Polymorphisms in Invasive Fire Ants.

    PubMed

    Helms, Jackson A; Godfrey, Aaron

    2016-01-01

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

  9. Polygyny and polyandry in small ant societies.

    PubMed

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

    2007-06-01

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

  10. 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

  11. Exploration versus exploitation in polydomous ant colonies.

    PubMed

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

    2013-04-21

    In socially foraging species resource information can be shared between individuals, increasing foraging success. In ant colonies, nestmate recruitment allows high exploitation rates at known resources however, to maximise foraging efficiency this must be balanced with searching for new resources. Many ant species form colonies inhabiting two or more spatially separated but socially connected nests: this type of organisation is known as polydomy. Polydomous colonies may benefit from increased foraging efficiency by carrying out dispersed-central place foraging. However, decentralisation of the colony may affect recruitment success by limiting interaction between ants based in separate nests. We use an agent-based model which compares the foraging success of monodomous and polydomous colonies in different food environments, incorporating recruitment through pheromone trails and group foraging. In contrast to previous results we show that polydomy is beneficial in some but not all cases. Polydomous colonies discover resources at a higher rate, making them more successful when food is highly dispersed, but their relative success can be lowered by limitations on recruitment success. Monodomous colonies can have higher foraging efficiency than polydomous colonies by exploiting food more rapidly. The results show the importance of interactions between recruitment strategy, colony size, and colony organisation. PMID:23380232

  12. 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

  13. Reduced Chitinase Activities in Ant Plants of the Genus Macaranga

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heil, Martin; Fiala, Brigitte; Linsenmair, K. Eduard; Boller, Thomas

    Many plant species have evolved mutualistic associations with ants, protecting their host against detrimental influences such as herbivorous insects. Letourneau (1998) reported in the case of Piper that ants defend their plants principally against stem-boring insects and also reduce fungal infections on inflorescences. Macaranga plants that were experimentally deprived of their symbiotic Crematogaster ants suffered heavily from shoot borers and pathogenic fungi (Heil 1998). Here we report that ants seem to reduce fungal infections actively in the obligate myrmecophyte Macarangatriloba (Euphorbiaceae), while ant-free plants can be easily infected. We also found extremely low chitinase activity in Macaranga plants. The plants' own biochemical defense seems to be reduced, and low chitinase activity perhaps may represent a predisposition for the evolution of myrmecophytism. These plants are therefore highly dependent on their ants, which obviously function not only as an antiherbivore defense but also as an effective agent against fungal pathogens.

  14. Ant tending influences soldier production in a social aphid.

    PubMed Central

    Shingleton, A W; Foster, W A

    2000-01-01

    The aphid Pseudoregma sundanica (Van der Goot) (Homoptera: Aphididae) has two defence strategies. It is obligatorily tended by various species of ant and also produces sterile soldiers. We investigated how they allocate their investment in these two strategies. We measured the size, number of soldiers, number and species of tending ant, and number and species of predators in P. sundanica populations. We found that the level of ant tending correlated negatively with soldier investment in P. sundanica. The species of tending ant also influenced soldier investment. We excluded ants from aphid populations and recorded changes in population size and structure over four weeks. Ant exclusion led to population decline and extinction. At the same time, surviving populations showed a significant increase in soldier investment. The data demonstrate that social aphids can adjust their investment in soldiers in direct response to environmental change. PMID:11052537

  15. 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.

  16. Behavior of Ants Escaping from a Single-Exit Room

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Shujie; Lv, Wei; Song, Weiguo

    2015-01-01

    To study the rules of ant behavior and group-formation phenomena, we examined the behaviors of Camponotus japonicus, a species of large ant, in a range of situations. For these experiments, ants were placed inside a rectangular chamber with a single exit that also contained a filter paper soaked in citronella oil, a powerful repellent. The ants formed several groups as they moved toward the exit to escape. We measured the time intervals between individual escapes in six versions of the experiment, each containing an exit of a different width, to quantify the movement of the groups. As the ants exited the chamber, the time intervals between individual escapes changed and the frequency distribution of the time intervals exhibited exponential decay. We also investigated the relationship between the number of ants in a group and the group flow rate. PMID:26125191

  17. Behavior of Ants Escaping from a Single-Exit Room.

    PubMed

    Wang, Shujie; Lv, Wei; Song, Weiguo

    2015-01-01

    To study the rules of ant behavior and group-formation phenomena, we examined the behaviors of Camponotus japonicus, a species of large ant, in a range of situations. For these experiments, ants were placed inside a rectangular chamber with a single exit that also contained a filter paper soaked in citronella oil, a powerful repellent. The ants formed several groups as they moved toward the exit to escape. We measured the time intervals between individual escapes in six versions of the experiment, each containing an exit of a different width, to quantify the movement of the groups. As the ants exited the chamber, the time intervals between individual escapes changed and the frequency distribution of the time intervals exhibited exponential decay. We also investigated the relationship between the number of ants in a group and the group flow rate.

  18. Millipede defense: use of detachable bristles to entangle ants.

    PubMed

    Eisner, T; Eisner, M; Deyrup, M

    1996-10-01

    The millipede Polyxenus fasciculatus (Diplopoda; Polyxenida) defends itself against ants by use of a pair of bristle tufts at its rear. When attacked, it wipes the tufts against the ants, thereby causing these to become encumbered by bristles that detach from the tufts. Ants contaminated with bristles desist from their assault. The bristles have grappling hooks at the tip by which they lock onto setae of the ants and barbs along their length by which they interlink. In attempting to rid themselves of bristles, ants may succeed only in further entangling themselves by causing the bristles to become enmeshed. Ants heavily contaminated may remain entangled and die. Most millipedes have chemical defenses; polyxenids, instead, have a mechanical weapon.

  19. Cascading trait-mediated interactions induced by ant pheromones.

    PubMed

    Hsieh, Hsun-Yi; Liere, Heidi; Soto, Estelí J; Perfecto, Ivette

    2012-09-01

    Trait-mediated indirect interactions (TMII) can be as important as density-mediated indirect interactions. Here, we provide evidence for a novel trait-mediated cascade (where one TMII affects another TMII) and demonstrate that the mechanism consists of a predator eavesdropping on chemical signaling. Ants protect scale insects from predation by adult coccinellid beetles - the first TMII. However, parasitic phorid flies reduce ant foraging activity by 50% - the second TMII, providing a window of opportunity for female beetles to oviposit in high-quality microsites. Beetle larvae are protected from ant predation and benefit from living in patches with high scale densities. We demonstrate that female beetles can detect pheromones released by the ant when attacked by phorids, and that only females, and especially gravid females, are attracted to the ant pheromone. As ants reduce their movement when under attack by phorids, we conclude that phorids facilitate beetle oviposition, thus producing the TMII cascade. PMID:23139877

  20. Just follow your nose: homing by olfactory cues in ants.

    PubMed

    Steck, Kathrin

    2012-04-01

    How is an ant-equipped with a brain that barely exceeds the size of a pinhead-capable of achieving navigational marvels? Even though evidences suggest that navigation is a multimodal process, ants heavily depend on olfactory cues-of pheromonal and non-pheromonal nature-for foraging and orientation. Recent studies have directed their attention to the efficiency of pheromone trail networks. Advances in neurophysiological techniques make it possible to investigate trail pheromone processing in the ant's brain. In addition to relying on pheromone odours, ants also make use of volatiles emanating from the nest surroundings. Deposited in the vicinity of the nest, these home-range markings help the ants to home after a foraging run. Furthermore, olfactory landmarks associated with the nest enhance ants' homing abilities. PMID:22137100

  1. Cascading trait-mediated interactions induced by ant pheromones

    PubMed Central

    Hsieh, Hsun-Yi; Liere, Heidi; Soto, Estelí J; Perfecto, Ivette

    2012-01-01

    Trait-mediated indirect interactions (TMII) can be as important as density-mediated indirect interactions. Here, we provide evidence for a novel trait-mediated cascade (where one TMII affects another TMII) and demonstrate that the mechanism consists of a predator eavesdropping on chemical signaling. Ants protect scale insects from predation by adult coccinellid beetles – the first TMII. However, parasitic phorid flies reduce ant foraging activity by 50% – the second TMII, providing a window of opportunity for female beetles to oviposit in high-quality microsites. Beetle larvae are protected from ant predation and benefit from living in patches with high scale densities. We demonstrate that female beetles can detect pheromones released by the ant when attacked by phorids, and that only females, and especially gravid females, are attracted to the ant pheromone. As ants reduce their movement when under attack by phorids, we conclude that phorids facilitate beetle oviposition, thus producing the TMII cascade. PMID:23139877

  2. Do herbivores eavesdrop on ant chemical communication to avoid predation?

    PubMed

    Gonthier, David J

    2012-01-01

    Strong effects of predator chemical cues on prey are common in aquatic and marine ecosystems, but are thought to be rare in terrestrial systems and specifically for arthropods. For ants, herbivores are hypothesized to eavesdrop on ant chemical communication and thereby avoid predation or confrontation. Here I tested the effect of ant chemical cues on herbivore choice and herbivory. Using Margaridisa sp. flea beetles and leaves from the host tree (Conostegia xalapensis), I performed paired-leaf choice feeding experiments. Coating leaves with crushed ant liquids (Azteca instabilis), exposing leaves to ant patrolling prior to choice tests (A. instabilis and Camponotus textor) and comparing leaves from trees with and without A. instabilis nests resulted in more herbivores and herbivory on control (no ant-treatment) relative to ant-treatment leaves. In contrast to A. instabilis and C. textor, leaves previously patrolled by Solenopsis geminata had no difference in beetle number and damage compared to control leaves. Altering the time A. instabilis patrolled treatment leaves prior to choice tests (0-, 5-, 30-, 90-, 180-min.) revealed treatment effects were only statistically significant after 90- and 180-min. of prior leaf exposure. This study suggests, for two ecologically important and taxonomically diverse genera (Azteca and Camponotus), ant chemical cues have important effects on herbivores and that these effects may be widespread across the ant family. It suggests that the effect of chemical cues on herbivores may only appear after substantial previous ant activity has occurred on plant tissues. Furthermore, it supports the hypothesis that herbivores use ant chemical communication to avoid predation or confrontation with ants.

  3. Behind every great ant, there is a great gut.

    PubMed

    Poulsen, Michael; Sapountzis, Panagiotis

    2012-05-01

    Ants are quite possibly the most successful insects on Earth, with an estimated 10,000 species worldwide, making up at least a third of the global insect biomass, and comprising several times the biomass of all land vertebrates combined. Ant species have diverse trophic habits, including herbivory, hunting/gathering, scavenging and predation and are distributed in diverse habitats, performing a variety of important ecosystem functions. Often they exert these functions while engaging in symbiotic associations with other insects, plants or microbes; however, remarkably little work has focused on the potential contribution of the ants' gut symbionts. This issue of Molecular Ecology contains a study by Anderson et al. (2012), who take a comparative approach to explore the link between trophic levels and ant microbiomes, specifically, to address three main questions: (i) Do closely related herbivorous ants share similar bacterial communities? (ii) Do species of predatory ants share similar bacterial communities? (iii) Do distantly related herbivorous ants tend to share similar bacterial communities? By doing so, the authors demonstrate that ants with similar trophic habits appear to have relatively conserved gut microbiomes, suggesting symbiont functions that directly relate to dietary preference of the ant host. These findings suggest an ecological role of gut symbionts in ants, for example, in metabolism and/or protection, and the comparative approach taken supports a model of co-evolution between ant species and specific core symbiont microbiomes. This study, thereby, highlights the omnipresence and importance of gut symbioses-also in the Hymenoptera-and suggests that these hitherto overlooked microbes likely have contributed to the ecological success of the ants.

  4. Do herbivores eavesdrop on ant chemical communication to avoid predation?

    PubMed

    Gonthier, David J

    2012-01-01

    Strong effects of predator chemical cues on prey are common in aquatic and marine ecosystems, but are thought to be rare in terrestrial systems and specifically for arthropods. For ants, herbivores are hypothesized to eavesdrop on ant chemical communication and thereby avoid predation or confrontation. Here I tested the effect of ant chemical cues on herbivore choice and herbivory. Using Margaridisa sp. flea beetles and leaves from the host tree (Conostegia xalapensis), I performed paired-leaf choice feeding experiments. Coating leaves with crushed ant liquids (Azteca instabilis), exposing leaves to ant patrolling prior to choice tests (A. instabilis and Camponotus textor) and comparing leaves from trees with and without A. instabilis nests resulted in more herbivores and herbivory on control (no ant-treatment) relative to ant-treatment leaves. In contrast to A. instabilis and C. textor, leaves previously patrolled by Solenopsis geminata had no difference in beetle number and damage compared to control leaves. Altering the time A. instabilis patrolled treatment leaves prior to choice tests (0-, 5-, 30-, 90-, 180-min.) revealed treatment effects were only statistically significant after 90- and 180-min. of prior leaf exposure. This study suggests, for two ecologically important and taxonomically diverse genera (Azteca and Camponotus), ant chemical cues have important effects on herbivores and that these effects may be widespread across the ant family. It suggests that the effect of chemical cues on herbivores may only appear after substantial previous ant activity has occurred on plant tissues. Furthermore, it supports the hypothesis that herbivores use ant chemical communication to avoid predation or confrontation with ants. PMID:22235248

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-11-24

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

  7. Do Herbivores Eavesdrop on Ant Chemical Communication to Avoid Predation?

    PubMed Central

    Gonthier, David J.

    2012-01-01

    Strong effects of predator chemical cues on prey are common in aquatic and marine ecosystems, but are thought to be rare in terrestrial systems and specifically for arthropods. For ants, herbivores are hypothesized to eavesdrop on ant chemical communication and thereby avoid predation or confrontation. Here I tested the effect of ant chemical cues on herbivore choice and herbivory. Using Margaridisa sp. flea beetles and leaves from the host tree (Conostegia xalapensis), I performed paired-leaf choice feeding experiments. Coating leaves with crushed ant liquids (Azteca instabilis), exposing leaves to ant patrolling prior to choice tests (A. instabilis and Camponotus textor) and comparing leaves from trees with and without A. instabilis nests resulted in more herbivores and herbivory on control (no ant-treatment) relative to ant-treatment leaves. In contrast to A. instabilis and C. textor, leaves previously patrolled by Solenopsis geminata had no difference in beetle number and damage compared to control leaves. Altering the time A. instabilis patrolled treatment leaves prior to choice tests (0-, 5-, 30-, 90-, 180-min.) revealed treatment effects were only statistically significant after 90- and 180-min. of prior leaf exposure. This study suggests, for two ecologically important and taxonomically diverse genera (Azteca and Camponotus), ant chemical cues have important effects on herbivores and that these effects may be widespread across the ant family. It suggests that the effect of chemical cues on herbivores may only appear after substantial previous ant activity has occurred on plant tissues. Furthermore, it supports the hypothesis that herbivores use ant chemical communication to avoid predation or confrontation with ants. PMID:22235248

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-12-01

    Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) is mediated by the presence of a lipid-rich appendage (elaiosome) on the seed that induces a variety of ants to collect the diaspores. When seeds mature or fall onto the ground, these ant species transport them to their nest. After eating the elaiosome, the seed is discarded in nest galleries or outside, in the midden or farther away, where seeds can potentially germinate. The final location of seeds with their elaiosomes removed was evaluated to assess the importance of possible handles (structures that ants can grasp to carry) in transporting ants during re-dispersal experiments of seeds from nests of six species of ants. The results indicate that seeds remained within the nest because the ants were not able to transport them out of the nest. As a consequence of the elaiosome being removed, small ant species could not take Euphorbia characias seeds out of their nests. Only large ant species could remove E. characias seeds from their nests. Attaching an artificial handle to E. characias seeds allowed small ant species to redistribute the seeds from their nests. On the other hand, Rhamnus alaternus seeds that have a natural handle after the elaiosome removal were removed from the nests by both groups of ant species. If a seed has an element that acts as a handle, it will eventually get taken out of the nest. The ants' size and their mandible gap can determine the outcome of the interaction (i.e. the pattern of the final seed shadow) and as a consequence, could influence the events that take place after the dispersal process. PMID:16044350

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  10. Ant patchiness: a spatially quantitative test in coffee agroecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Philpott, Stacy M.

    2006-08-01

    Arboreal ants form patchy spatial patterns in tropical agroforest canopies. Such patchy distributions more likely occur in disturbed habitats associated with lower ant diversity and resource availability than in forests. Yet, few studies have quantitatively examined these patchy patterns to statistically test if ants are non-randomly distributed or at what scale. Coffee agroecosystems form a gradient of management intensification along which vegetative complexity and ant diversity decline. Using field studies and a spatially explicit randomization model, I investigated ant patchiness in coffee agroecosystems in Chiapas, Mexico varying in management intensity to examine if: (1) coffee intensification affects occurrence of numerically dominant ants, (2) numerical dominants form statistically distinguishable single-species patches in coffee plants, (3) shade trees play a role in patch location, and (4) patch formation or size varies with management intensity. Coffee intensification correlated with lower occurrence frequency of numerically dominant species generally and of one of four taxa examined. All dominant ant species formed patches but only Azteca instabilis was patchy around shade trees. Ant patchiness did vary somewhat with spatial scale and with strata (within the coffee layer vs around shade trees). Patchiness, however, did not vary with management intensity. These results provide quantitative evidence that numerically dominant ants are patchy within the coffee layer at different scales and that shade tree location, but not coffee management intensity, may play a role in the formation of patchy distributions.

  11. Ant patchiness: a spatially quantitative test in coffee agroecosystems.

    PubMed

    Philpott, Stacy M

    2006-08-01

    Arboreal ants form patchy spatial patterns in tropical agroforest canopies. Such patchy distributions more likely occur in disturbed habitats associated with lower ant diversity and resource availability than in forests. Yet, few studies have quantitatively examined these patchy patterns to statistically test if ants are non-randomly distributed or at what scale. Coffee agroecosystems form a gradient of management intensification along which vegetative complexity and ant diversity decline. Using field studies and a spatially explicit randomization model, I investigated ant patchiness in coffee agroecosystems in Chiapas, Mexico varying in management intensity to examine if: (1) coffee intensification affects occurrence of numerically dominant ants, (2) numerical dominants form statistically distinguishable single-species patches in coffee plants, (3) shade trees play a role in patch location, and (4) patch formation or size varies with management intensity. Coffee intensification correlated with lower occurrence frequency of numerically dominant species generally and of one of four taxa examined. All dominant ant species formed patches but only Azteca instabilis was patchy around shade trees. Ant patchiness did vary somewhat with spatial scale and with strata (within the coffee layer vs around shade trees). Patchiness, however, did not vary with management intensity. These results provide quantitative evidence that numerically dominant ants are patchy within the coffee layer at different scales and that shade tree location, but not coffee management intensity, may play a role in the formation of patchy distributions. PMID:16676158

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

    PubMed

    Gao, Wei

    2016-01-01

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

  13. Ant plant herbivore interactions in the neotropical cerrado savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2004-12-01

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

  14. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Turner, Kyle M.; Frederickson, Megan E.

    2013-01-01

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

  16. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants

    DOE PAGES

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

    2015-07-03

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

  17. 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.

  18. Five new records of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) for Nebraska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nemec, Kristine T.; Trager, James C.; Manley, Elizabeth; Allen, Craig R.

    2012-01-01

    Ants are ubiquitous and influential organisms in terrestrial ecosystems. About 1,000 ant species occur in North America, where they are found in nearly every habitat (Fisher and Cover 2007). Ants are critical to ecological processes and structure. Ants affect soils via tunneling activity (Baxter and Hole 1967), disperse plant seeds (Lengyel et al. 2009), prey upon a variety of insects and other invertebrates (Way and Khoo 1992, Folgarait 1998), are often effective primary consumers through their prodigious consumption of floral and especially extrafloral nectar, and honeydew (Tobin 1994), and serve as prey for invertebrates (Gotelli 1996, Gastreich 1999) and vertebrates (Reiss 2001).

  19. Egocentric information helps desert ants to navigate around familiar obstacles.

    PubMed

    Bisch-Knaden, S; Wehner, R

    2001-12-01

    Homing ants have been shown to associate directional information with familiar landmarks. The sight of these local cues might either directly guide the path of the ant or it might activate a landmark-based vector that points towards the goal position. In either case, the ants define their courses within allocentric systems of reference. Here, we show that desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis, forced to run along a devious path can use egocentric information as well. The ants were trained to deviate from their straight homebound course by a wide inconspicuous barrier that was placed between the feeding and nesting sites. At a distant test area, the ants were confronted with an identical barrier rotated through 45 degrees. After passing the edge of the obstacle, the ants did not proceed in the trained direction, defined by the skylight compass, but rotated their courses to match the rotation of the barrier. Visual guidance could be excluded because, as soon as the ants turned around the end of the barrier, the visual cue it provided vanished from their field of view. Instead, the ants must have maintained a constant angle relative to their previous walking trajectory along the obstacle and, hence, must have determined their new vector course in an egocentric way.

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

    PubMed

    Zeil, Jochen; Narendra, Ajay; Stürzl, Wolfgang

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Turner, Kyle M; Frederickson, Megan E

    2013-01-01

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

  2. Ant Homing Ability Is Not Diminished When Traveling Backwards

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. The Effect of Diet and Opponent Size on Aggressive Interactions Involving Caribbean Crazy Ants (Nylanderia fulva)

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  7. [Ants: a chemical library of anticancer molecules].

    PubMed

    Vétillard, Angélique; Bouzid, Wafa

    2016-01-01

    Animal venoms are complex mixtures containing simple organic molecules, proteins, peptides, and other bioactive elements with extraordinary biological properties associated with their ability to act on a number of molecular receptors in the process of incapacitating their target organisms. In such a context, arthropod venoms are invaluable sources of bioactive substances, with therapeutic interest but the limited availability of some venom such as those from ants, has restricted the potential that these biomolecules could represent. We investigated for the first time transcriptomic expression from the ant species Tetramorium bicarinatum. Four hundred randomly selected clones from cDNA libraries were sequenced and a total of 374 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were generated. Based on the results of BLAST searches, these sequences were clustered and assembled into 269 contigs. About 72% (269) of these matched BLASTx hits with an interesting diversity and unusual abundance of cellular transcripts (48%) related to gene and protein expression reflecting the specialization of this tissue. In addition, transcripts encoding transposases were relatively highly expressed (14%). It may be that transposable elements are present and that their presence accounts for some of the variation in venom toxins. About twenty per cent of the ESTs were categorized as putative toxins, the major part represented by allergens (48% of the total venom toxins) such as pilosulin 5, sol i 3 and Myp p I and II. Several contigs encoding enzymes, including zinc-metalloproteases (17%) that are likely involved in the processing and activation of venom proteins/peptides, were also identified from the library. In addition, a number of sequences (8%) had no significant similarity to any known sequence which indicates a potential source of for the discovery of new toxins. In order to provide a global insight on the transcripts expressed in the venom gland of the Brazilian ant species Tetramorium

  8. [Ants: a chemical library of anticancer molecules].

    PubMed

    Vétillard, Angélique; Bouzid, Wafa

    2016-01-01

    Animal venoms are complex mixtures containing simple organic molecules, proteins, peptides, and other bioactive elements with extraordinary biological properties associated with their ability to act on a number of molecular receptors in the process of incapacitating their target organisms. In such a context, arthropod venoms are invaluable sources of bioactive substances, with therapeutic interest but the limited availability of some venom such as those from ants, has restricted the potential that these biomolecules could represent. We investigated for the first time transcriptomic expression from the ant species Tetramorium bicarinatum. Four hundred randomly selected clones from cDNA libraries were sequenced and a total of 374 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were generated. Based on the results of BLAST searches, these sequences were clustered and assembled into 269 contigs. About 72% (269) of these matched BLASTx hits with an interesting diversity and unusual abundance of cellular transcripts (48%) related to gene and protein expression reflecting the specialization of this tissue. In addition, transcripts encoding transposases were relatively highly expressed (14%). It may be that transposable elements are present and that their presence accounts for some of the variation in venom toxins. About twenty per cent of the ESTs were categorized as putative toxins, the major part represented by allergens (48% of the total venom toxins) such as pilosulin 5, sol i 3 and Myp p I and II. Several contigs encoding enzymes, including zinc-metalloproteases (17%) that are likely involved in the processing and activation of venom proteins/peptides, were also identified from the library. In addition, a number of sequences (8%) had no significant similarity to any known sequence which indicates a potential source of for the discovery of new toxins. In order to provide a global insight on the transcripts expressed in the venom gland of the Brazilian ant species Tetramorium

  9. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants.

    PubMed

    Cremer, Sylvia; Ugelvig, Line V; Drijfhout, Falko P; Schlick-Steiner, Birgit C; Steiner, Florian M; Seifert, Bernhard; Hughes, David P; Schulz, Andreas; Petersen, Klaus S; Konrad, Heino; Stauffer, Christian; Kiran, Kadri; Espadaler, Xavier; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Aktaç, Nihat; Eilenberg, Jørgen; Jones, Graeme R; Nash, David R; Pedersen, Jes S; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2008-01-01

    It is unclear why some species become successful invaders whilst others fail, and whether invasive success depends on pre-adaptations already present in the native range or on characters evolving de-novo after introduction. Ants are among the worst invasive pests, with Lasius neglectus and its rapid spread through Europe and Asia as the most recent example of a pest ant that may become a global problem. Here, we present the first integrated study on behavior, morphology, population genetics, chemical recognition and parasite load of L. neglectus and its non-invasive sister species L. turcicus. We find that L. neglectus expresses the same supercolonial syndrome as other invasive ants, a social system that is characterized by mating without dispersal and large networks of cooperating nests rather than smaller mutually hostile colonies. We conclude that the invasive success of L. neglectus relies on a combination of parasite-release following introduction and pre-adaptations in mating system, body-size, queen number and recognition efficiency that evolved long before introduction. Our results challenge the notion that supercolonial organization is an inevitable consequence of low genetic variation for chemical recognition cues in small invasive founder populations. We infer that low variation and limited volatility in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles already existed in the native range in combination with low dispersal and a highly viscous population structure. Human transport to relatively disturbed urban areas thus became the decisive factor to induce parasite release, a well established general promoter of invasiveness in non-social animals and plants, but understudied in invasive social insects. PMID:19050762

  10. The Evolution of Invasiveness in Garden Ants

    PubMed Central

    Cremer, Sylvia; Ugelvig, Line V.; Drijfhout, Falko P.; Schlick-Steiner, Birgit C.; Steiner, Florian M.; Seifert, Bernhard; Hughes, David P.; Schulz, Andreas; Petersen, Klaus S.; Konrad, Heino; Stauffer, Christian; Kiran, Kadri; Espadaler, Xavier; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Aktaç, Nihat; Eilenberg, Jørgen; Jones, Graeme R.; Nash, David R.; Pedersen, Jes S.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2008-01-01

    It is unclear why some species become successful invaders whilst others fail, and whether invasive success depends on pre-adaptations already present in the native range or on characters evolving de-novo after introduction. Ants are among the worst invasive pests, with Lasius neglectus and its rapid spread through Europe and Asia as the most recent example of a pest ant that may become a global problem. Here, we present the first integrated study on behavior, morphology, population genetics, chemical recognition and parasite load of L. neglectus and its non-invasive sister species L. turcicus. We find that L. neglectus expresses the same supercolonial syndrome as other invasive ants, a social system that is characterized by mating without dispersal and large networks of cooperating nests rather than smaller mutually hostile colonies. We conclude that the invasive success of L. neglectus relies on a combination of parasite-release following introduction and pre-adaptations in mating system, body-size, queen number and recognition efficiency that evolved long before introduction. Our results challenge the notion that supercolonial organization is an inevitable consequence of low genetic variation for chemical recognition cues in small invasive founder populations. We infer that low variation and limited volatility in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles already existed in the native range in combination with low dispersal and a highly viscous population structure. Human transport to relatively disturbed urban areas thus became the decisive factor to induce parasite release, a well established general promoter of invasiveness in non-social animals and plants, but understudied in invasive social insects. PMID:19050762

  11. Nectar Theft and Floral Ant-Repellence: A Link between Nectar Volume and Ant-Repellent Traits?

    PubMed Central

    Ballantyne, Gavin; Willmer, Pat

    2012-01-01

    As flower visitors, ants rarely benefit a plant. They are poor pollinators, and can also disrupt pollination by deterring other flower visitors, or by stealing nectar. Some plant species therefore possess floral ant-repelling traits. But why do particular species have such traits when others do not? In a dry forest in Costa Rica, of 49 plant species around a third were ant-repellent at very close proximity to a common generalist ant species, usually via repellent pollen. Repellence was positively correlated with the presence of large nectar volumes. Repellent traits affected ant species differently, some influencing the behaviour of just a few species and others producing more generalised ant-repellence. Our results suggest that ant-repellent floral traits may often not be pleiotropic, but instead could have been selected for as a defence against ant thieves in plant species that invest in large volumes of nectar. This conclusion highlights to the importance of research into the cost of nectar production in future studies into ant-flower interactions. PMID:22952793

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matsuura, Kenji; Yashiro, Toshihisa

    2006-10-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. Gamergates in the Australian ant subfamily Myrmeciinae

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dietemann, Vincent; Peeters, Christian; Hölldobler, Bert

    2004-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-09-22

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

  17. 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.

  18. Fecundity and longevity of Argentine ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) queens in response to irradiation

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Irradiation is a postharvest quarantine treatment option to control ants and other hitchhiker pests on fresh horticultural products traded between countries. As little is known about irradiation effects on ants, radiotolerance of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae...

  19. Current and potential ant impacts in the Pacific region

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Loope, Lloyd L.; Krushelnycky, Paul D.

    2007-01-01

    Worldwide, ants are a powerful ecological force, and they appear to be dominant components of animal communities of many tropical and temperate ecosystems in terms of biomass and numbers of individuals (Bluthgen et al. 2000). For example, ants comprise up to 94% of arthropod individuals in fogging samples taken from diverse lowland tropical rainforest canopies, and 86% of the biomass (Davidson et al. 2003). The majority of these ant species and individuals obtain carbohydrates either from extrafloral nectaries or from sap-feeding Hemiptera that pass carbohydrate-rich “honeydew” to attending ants while concentrating nitrogen (N) from N-poor plant sap (Davidson et al. 2003). Honeydew and nectar represent key resources for arboreal ant species, although most ant species are at least partly carnivorous or scavengers (Bluthgen et al. 2004). In contrast to most of the terrestrial world, the biotas of many Pacific islands evolved without ants. Whereas endemic ant species are found in New Zealand (ca. 10 spp.), Tonga (ca. 10 spp.), and Samoa (ca. 12 spp.), other islands of Polynesia and parts of Micronesia likely lack native ants (Wilson and Taylor 1967, Wetterer 2002, Wetterer and Vargo 2003). About 20 Indo-Australian and western Pacific ant species range to the east and north of Samoa, but it is unclear how many of these were transported there by humans at some time (Wilson and Taylor 1967). Most of the remainder of the ant species currently found on Pacific islands are widespread species that fall in the category of “tramp species,” dispersed by recent human commerce and generally closely tied to human activity and urban areas (Wilson and Taylor 1967, McGlynn 1999). In Pacific island situations, some of these tramp ant species are able to thrive beyond areas of human activity. Relatively few ant species have been successful invaders of native communities on continents, and these include most of the species that pose the greatest problems for Pacific islands

  20. Shape transition during nest digging in ants

    PubMed Central

    Toffin, Etienne; Di Paolo, David; Campo, Alexandre; Detrain, Claire; Deneubourg, Jean-Louis

    2009-01-01

    Nest building in social insects is among the collective processes that show highly conservative features such as basic modules (chambers and galleries) or homeostatic properties. Although ant nests share common characteristics, they exhibit a high structural variability, of which morphogenesis and underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. We conducted two-dimensional nest-digging experiments under homogeneous laboratory conditions to investigate the shape diversity that emerges only from digging dynamics and without the influence of any environmental heterogeneity. These experiments revealed that, during the excavation, a morphological transition occurs because the primary circular cavity evolves into a ramified structure through a branching process. Such a transition is observed, whatever the number of ants involved, but occurs more frequently for a larger number of workers. A stochastic model highlights the central role of density effects in shape transition. These results indicate that nest digging shares similar properties with various physical, chemical, and biological systems. Moreover, our model of morphogenesis provides an explanatory framework for shape transitions in decentralized growing structures in group-living animals. PMID:19846774

  1. Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) as back-seat drivers of localized ant decline in urban habitats.

    PubMed

    Salyer, Adam; Bennett, Gary W; Buczkowski, Grzegorz A

    2014-01-01

    Invasive species and habitat disturbance threaten biodiversity worldwide by modifying ecosystem performance and displacing native organisms. Similar homogenization impacts manifest locally when urbanization forces native species to relocate or reinvade perpetually altered habitat. This study investigated correlations between ant richness and abundance in response to urbanization and the nearby presence of invasive ant species, odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile), within its native region. Surveying localized ant composition within natural, semi-natural, and urban habitat supported efforts to determine whether T. sessile appear to be primary (drivers) threats as instigators or secondary (passengers) threats as inheritors of indigenous ant decline. Sampling 180 sites, evenly split between all habitats with and without T. sessile present, yielded 45 total species. Although urbanization and T. sessile presence factors were significantly linked to ant decline, their interaction correlated to the greatest reduction of total ant richness (74%) and abundance (81%). Total richness appeared to decrease from 27 species to 18 when natural habitat is urbanized and from 18 species to 7 with T. sessile present in urban plots. Odorous house ant presence minimally influenced ant communities within natural and semi-natural habitat, highlighting the importance of habitat alteration and T. sessile presence interactions. Results suggest urbanization releases T. sessile from unknown constraints by decreasing ant richness and competition. Within urban environment, T. sessile are pre-adapted to quickly exploit new resources and grow to supercolony strength wherein T. sessile drive adjacent biodiversity loss. Odorous house ants act as passengers and drivers of ecological change throughout different phases of urban 'invasion'. This progression through surviving habitat alteration, exploiting new resources, thriving, and further reducing interspecific competition supports a "back

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-10

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

  3. Geometry, features, and panoramic views: ants in rectangular arenas.

    PubMed

    Wystrach, Antoine; Cheng, Ken; Sosa, Sebastian; Beugnon, Guy

    2011-10-01

    When tested in rectangular arenas, the navigational behavior of the ant Gigantiops destructor can produce results similar to vertebrates. Such results are usually interpreted as supporting the ability of animals to segregate spatial geometry and features. Here, we combine a detailed analysis of ants' paths with panoramic images taken from the ant's perspective that can serve as a basis for developing view-based matching models. The corner choices observed in ants were better predicted by the use of panoramic views along with a simple matching process [rotational image difference function (rIDF)] than by models assuming segregation of geometry and features (G/F). Our view-based matching model could also explain some aspects of the ants' path (i.e., initial direction, length) resulting from the different visual conditions, suggesting that ants were using such a taxon-like strategy. Analyzed at the individual level, the results show that ants' idiosyncratic paths tend to evolve gradually from trial to trial, revealing that the ants were partially updating their route memory after each trial. This study illustrates the remarkable flexibilities that can arise from the use of taxon-like strategies and stresses the importance of considering them in vertebrates.

  4. 9 CFR 381.71 - Condemnation on ante mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... Condemnation on ante mortem inspection. (a) Birds plainly showing on ante mortem inspection any disease or condition, that under §§ 381.80 to 381.93, inclusive, would cause condemnation of their carcasses on post... the bird is found to be free of disease. Such a bird found to have recovered from the condition...

  5. ANT COMMUNITIES AND LIVESTOCK GRAZING IN THE GREAT BASIN, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    The objectives of this study were to determine if metrics for ant species assemblages can be used as indicators of rangeland condition, and to determine the influence of vegetation and ground cover variables, factors often influenced by livestock grazing, on ant communities. The ...

  6. 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.

  7. 9 CFR 352.10 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-01-01

    ..., bison and water buffalo are eligible for field ante-mortem inspection. The field ante-mortem designated... accordance with the provisions contained in 9 CFR 313.2. Immediately after the animal is stunned or killed... unconscious shall be in accordance with 9 CFR 313.15 or 313.16. (6) All stunned/slaughtered and bled...

  8. 9 CFR 352.10 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ..., bison and water buffalo are eligible for field ante-mortem inspection. The field ante-mortem designated... accordance with the provisions contained in 9 CFR 313.2. Immediately after the animal is stunned or killed... unconscious shall be in accordance with 9 CFR 313.15 or 313.16. (6) All stunned/slaughtered and bled...

  9. 9 CFR 352.10 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-01-01

    ..., bison and water buffalo are eligible for field ante-mortem inspection. The field ante-mortem designated... accordance with the provisions contained in 9 CFR 313.2. Immediately after the animal is stunned or killed... unconscious shall be in accordance with 9 CFR 313.15 or 313.16. (6) All stunned/slaughtered and bled...

  10. 9 CFR 352.10 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ..., bison and water buffalo are eligible for field ante-mortem inspection. The field ante-mortem designated... accordance with the provisions contained in 9 CFR 313.2. Immediately after the animal is stunned or killed... unconscious shall be in accordance with 9 CFR 313.15 or 313.16. (6) All stunned/slaughtered and bled...

  11. 9 CFR 352.10 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ..., bison and water buffalo are eligible for field ante-mortem inspection. The field ante-mortem designated... accordance with the provisions contained in 9 CFR 313.2. Immediately after the animal is stunned or killed... unconscious shall be in accordance with 9 CFR 313.15 or 313.16. (6) All stunned/slaughtered and bled...

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-06-01

    Modulation of liquid feeding-rate would allow insects to ingest more food in the same time when this was required. Ants can vary nectar intake rate by increasing sucking pump frequency according to colony requirements. We analysed electrical signals generated by sucking pump activity of ants during drinking solutions of different sucrose concentrations and under different carbohydrate-deprivation levels. Our aim was to define parameters that characterize the recordings and analyse their relationship with feeding behaviour. Signals showed that the initial and final frequencies of sucking pump activity, as well as the difference between them were higher in sugar-deprived ants. However, these parameters were not influenced by sucrose solution concentration, which affected the number of pump contractions and the volume per contraction. Unexpectedly, we found two different responses in feeding behaviour of starved and non-starved ants depending on concentration. Starved ants drank dilute solutions for the same length of time as non-starved ants but ingested higher volumes. While drinking the concentrated solutions, starved ants drank the same volume, but did so in a shorter time than the non-starved ones. Despite these differences, for each analysed concentration the total number of pump contractions remained constant independently of sugar-deprivation level. These results are discussed in the frame of feeding regulation and decision making in ant foraging behaviour. PMID:19217950

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-04-21

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

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

    PubMed

    Blum, Christian; Dorigo, Marco

    2004-04-01

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

  18. Microbiota associated with tramp ants in a Brazilian University Hospital.

    PubMed

    Teixeira, Maxelle M; Pelli, Afonso; Santos, Vitorino M Dos; Reis, Maria das G

    2009-01-01

    Our aim was to study the fauna of ants in the Hospital Universitário of the Universidade Federal do Triângulo Mineiro, municipality of Uberaba, Minas Gerais State, Brazil, as well as to identify the microorganisms the ants carry and their patterns of resistance to antibiotics. Sterile tubes (traps) containing honey were used to attract the ants. Traps were exposed for 3h, and those which attracted ants were considered the test group, while the ones that did not attract the insects constituted the control group. Only the ant species Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabricius) was sampled. Sixty microorganisms were isolated from the sampled ants, including seven Gram-positive bacilli, 14 Gram-negative bacilli, 22 Gram-positive cocci and 17 filamentous fungi. Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus and Group D Streptococcus were the microorganisms with the highest resistance to the tested antibiotics. The ants should be considered an important vector of infections as they carry several pathogenic microorganisms, spreading them on the surface of sterile materials, equipment and uncontaminated food. It is impossible to define the exact role of ants in nosocomial infections at this moment; however, this issue must be better studied and special attention must be given by the commissions of Nosocomial Infection Control.

  19. Dynamics and shape of large fire ant rafts

    PubMed Central

    Mlot, Nathan J.; Tovey, Craig; Hu, David L.

    2012-01-01

    To survive floods, fire ants link their bodies together to build waterproof rafts. Such rafts can be quite large, exceeding 100,000 individuals in size. In this study, we make two improvements on a previously reported model on the construction rate of rafts numbering between 3,000 and 10,000 individuals. That model was based upon experimental observations of randomly-directed linear ant trajectories atop the raft. Here, we report anomalous behavior of ants atop larger rafts of up to 23,000 ants. As rafts increase in size, the behavior of ants approaches diffusion, which is in closer alignment with other studies on the foraging and scouting patterns of ants. We incorporate this ant behavior into the model. Our modified model predicts more accurately the growth of large rafts. Our previous model also relied on an assumption of raft circularity. We show that this assumption is not necessary for large rafts, because it follows from the random directionality of the ant trajectories. Our predicted relationship between raft size and circularity closely fits experimental data. PMID:23336030

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

    PubMed Central

    Mehdiabadi, Natasha J; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2002-01-01

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

  1. Do long-lived ants affect soil microbial communities?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This study was designed to test the hypothesis that desert ant species that build nests that remain viable at a particular point in space for more than a decade produce soil conditions that enhance microbial biomass and functional diversity. We studied the effects of a seed-harvester ant, Pogonomyrm...

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Ecological consequences of traffic organisation in ant societies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burd, Martin

    2006-12-01

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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2001-06-01

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

  9. The rise of army ants and their relatives: diversification of specialized predatory doryline ants

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Army ants are dominant invertebrate predators in tropical and subtropical terrestrial ecosystems. Their close relatives within the dorylomorph group of ants are also highly specialized predators, although much less is known about their biology. We analyzed molecular data generated from 11 nuclear genes to infer a phylogeny for the major dorylomorph lineages, and incorporated fossil evidence to infer divergence times under a relaxed molecular clock. Results Because our results indicate that one subfamily and several genera of dorylomorphs are non-monophyletic, we propose to subsume the six previous dorylomorph subfamilies into a single subfamily, Dorylinae. We find the monophyly of Dorylinae to be strongly supported and estimate the crown age of the group at 87 (74–101) million years. Our phylogenetic analyses provide only weak support for army ant monophyly and also call into question a previous hypothesis that army ants underwent a fundamental split into New World and Old World lineages. Outside the army ants, our phylogeny reveals for the first time many old, distinct lineages in the Dorylinae. The genus Cerapachys is shown to be non-monophyletic and comprised of multiple lineages scattered across the Dorylinae tree. We recover, with strong support, novel relationships among these Cerapachys-like clades and other doryline genera, but divergences in the deepest parts of the tree are not well resolved. We find the genus Sphinctomyrmex, characterized by distinctive abdominal constrictions, to consist of two separate lineages with convergent morphologies, one inhabiting the Old World and the other the New World tropics. Conclusions While we obtain good resolution in many parts of the Dorylinae phylogeny, relationships deep in the tree remain unresolved, with major lineages joining each other in various ways depending upon the analytical method employed, but always with short internodes. This may be indicative of rapid radiation in the early history of

  10. Testing baits to control Argentine ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in vineyards.

    PubMed

    Daane, Kent M; Cooper, Monica L; Sime, Karen R; Nelson, Erik H; Battany, Mark C; Rust, Michael K

    2008-06-01

    Liquid baits were evaluated for control of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), and associated mealybug and soft scale pests in California vineyards. In 2003, liquid baits with small doses ofimidacloprid, boric acid, or thiamethoxam dissolved in 25% sucrose water resulted in lower ant and mealybug densities and fruit damage, compared with an untreated control. Similar treatments in a soft scale-infested vineyard showed only a reduction of ant density and fruit infestation in only the boric acid and thiamethoxam treatments. In 2004, commercial and noncommercial formulations of liquid baits reduced ant densities in three separate trials, but they had inconsistent effects on mealybug densities and fruit infestation; granular protein bait had no effect. Using large plots and commercial application methodologies, liquid bait deployed in June resulted in lower ant density and fruit infestation, but it had no effect on mealybug density. Across all trials, liquid bait treatments resulted in lower ant density (12 of 14 trials) and fruit damage (11 of 14 sites), presenting the first report of liquid baits applied using commercial methodologies that resulted in a reduction of ants and their associated hemipteran crop damage. For commercialization of liquid baits, we showed that any of the tested insecticides can suppress Argentine ants when properly delivered in the crop system. For imidacloprid, bait dispensers must be protected from sunlight to reduce photodegradation. Results suggest that incomplete ant suppression can suppress mealybug densities. However, after ant populations are suppressed, there may be a longer period before hemipteran populations are effectively suppressed. Therefore, liquid baits should be considered part of a multiseason program rather than a direct, in-season control of hemipteran pest populations.

  11. Overview of the Distribution, Habitat Association and Impact of Exotic Ants on Native Ant Communities in New Caledonia

    PubMed Central

    Berman, Maïa; Andersen, Alan N.; Hély, Christelle; Gaucherel, Cédric

    2013-01-01

    Ants are among the most ubiquitous and harmful invaders worldwide, but there are few regional studies of their relationships with habitat and native ant communities. New Caledonia has a unique and diverse ant fauna that is threatened by exotic ants, but broad-scale patterns of exotic and native ant community composition in relation to habitat remain poorly documented. We conducted a systematic baiting survey of 56 sites representing the main New Caledonian habitat types: rainforest on ultramafic soils (15 sites), rainforest on volcano-sedimentary soils (13), maquis shrubland (15), Melaleuca-dominated savannas (11) and Acacia spirorbis thickets (2). We collected a total of 49 species, 13 of which were exotic. Only five sites were free of exotic species, and these were all rainforest. The five most abundant exotic species differed in their habitat association, with Pheidole megacephala associated with rainforests, Brachymyrmex cf. obscurior with savanna, and Wasmannia auropunctata and Nylanderia vaga present in most habitats. Anoplolepis gracilipes occurred primarily in maquis-shrubland, which contrasts with its rainforest affinity elsewhere. Multivariate analysis of overall ant species composition showed strong differentiation of sites according to the distribution of exotic species, and these patterns were maintained at the genus and functional group levels. Native ant composition differed at invaded versus uninvaded rainforest sites, in the absence of differences in habitat variables. Generalised Myrmicinae and Forest Opportunists were particularly affected by invasion. There was a strong negative relationship between the abundance of W. auropunctata and native ant abundance and richness. This emphasizes that, in addition to dominating many ant communities numerically, some exotic species, and in particular W. auropunctata, have a marked impact on native ant communities. PMID:23840639

  12. Testing the effects of ant invasions on non-ant arthropods with high-resolution taxonomic data.

    PubMed

    Hanna, Cause; Naughton, Ida; Boser, Christina; Holway, David

    2015-10-01

    Invasions give rise to a wide range of ecological effects. Many invasions proceed without noticeable impacts on the resident biota, whereas others shift species composition and even alter ecosystem function. Ant invasions generate a broad spectrum of ecological effects, but controversy surrounds the extent of these impacts, especially with regard to how other arthropods are affected. This uncertainty in part results from the widespread use of low-resolution taxonomic data, which can mask the presence of other introduced species and make it difficult to isolate the effects of ant invasions on native species. Here, we use high-resolution taxonomic data to examine the effects of Argentine ant invasions on arthropods on Santa Cruz Island, California. We sampled arthropods in eight pairs of invaded and uninvaded plots and then collaborated with taxonomic experts to identify taxa in four focal groups: spiders, bark lice, beetles, and ants. Spiders, bark lice, and beetles made up ~40% of the 9868 non-ant arthropod individuals sampled; the majority of focal group arthropods were putatively native taxa. Although our results indicate strong negative effects of the Argentine ant on native ants, as is well documented, invaded and uninvaded plots did not differ with respect to the richness, abundance, or species composition of spiders, bark lice, and beetles. One common, introduced species of bark louse was more common in uninvaded plots than in invaded plots, and including this species into our analyses changed the relationship between bark louse richness vs. L. humile abundance from no relationship to a significant negative relationship. This case illustrates how failure to differentiate native and introduced taxa can lead to erroneous conclusions about the effects of ant invasions. Our results caution against unqualified assertions about the effects of ant invasions on non-ant arthropods, and more generally demonstrate that accurate assessments of invasion impacts depend on

  13. Testing the effects of ant invasions on non-ant arthropods with high-resolution taxonomic data.

    PubMed

    Hanna, Cause; Naughton, Ida; Boser, Christina; Holway, David

    2015-10-01

    Invasions give rise to a wide range of ecological effects. Many invasions proceed without noticeable impacts on the resident biota, whereas others shift species composition and even alter ecosystem function. Ant invasions generate a broad spectrum of ecological effects, but controversy surrounds the extent of these impacts, especially with regard to how other arthropods are affected. This uncertainty in part results from the widespread use of low-resolution taxonomic data, which can mask the presence of other introduced species and make it difficult to isolate the effects of ant invasions on native species. Here, we use high-resolution taxonomic data to examine the effects of Argentine ant invasions on arthropods on Santa Cruz Island, California. We sampled arthropods in eight pairs of invaded and uninvaded plots and then collaborated with taxonomic experts to identify taxa in four focal groups: spiders, bark lice, beetles, and ants. Spiders, bark lice, and beetles made up ~40% of the 9868 non-ant arthropod individuals sampled; the majority of focal group arthropods were putatively native taxa. Although our results indicate strong negative effects of the Argentine ant on native ants, as is well documented, invaded and uninvaded plots did not differ with respect to the richness, abundance, or species composition of spiders, bark lice, and beetles. One common, introduced species of bark louse was more common in uninvaded plots than in invaded plots, and including this species into our analyses changed the relationship between bark louse richness vs. L. humile abundance from no relationship to a significant negative relationship. This case illustrates how failure to differentiate native and introduced taxa can lead to erroneous conclusions about the effects of ant invasions. Our results caution against unqualified assertions about the effects of ant invasions on non-ant arthropods, and more generally demonstrate that accurate assessments of invasion impacts depend on

  14. Overview of the Distribution, Habitat Association and Impact of Exotic Ants on Native Ant Communities in New Caledonia.

    PubMed

    Berman, Maïa; Andersen, Alan N; Hély, Christelle; Gaucherel, Cédric

    2013-01-01

    Ants are among the most ubiquitous and harmful invaders worldwide, but there are few regional studies of their relationships with habitat and native ant communities. New Caledonia has a unique and diverse ant fauna that is threatened by exotic ants, but broad-scale patterns of exotic and native ant community composition in relation to habitat remain poorly documented. We conducted a systematic baiting survey of 56 sites representing the main New Caledonian habitat types: rainforest on ultramafic soils (15 sites), rainforest on volcano-sedimentary soils (13), maquis shrubland (15), Melaleuca-dominated savannas (11) and Acacia spirorbis thickets (2). We collected a total of 49 species, 13 of which were exotic. Only five sites were free of exotic species, and these were all rainforest. The five most abundant exotic species differed in their habitat association, with Pheidole megacephala associated with rainforests, Brachymyrmex cf. obscurior with savanna, and Wasmannia auropunctata and Nylanderia vaga present in most habitats. Anoplolepis gracilipes occurred primarily in maquis-shrubland, which contrasts with its rainforest affinity elsewhere. Multivariate analysis of overall ant species composition showed strong differentiation of sites according to the distribution of exotic species, and these patterns were maintained at the genus and functional group levels. Native ant composition differed at invaded versus uninvaded rainforest sites, in the absence of differences in habitat variables. Generalised Myrmicinae and Forest Opportunists were particularly affected by invasion. There was a strong negative relationship between the abundance of W. auropunctata and native ant abundance and richness. This emphasizes that, in addition to dominating many ant communities numerically, some exotic species, and in particular W. auropunctata, have a marked impact on native ant communities.

  15. 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.

  16. Stable isotope and elemental analysis in ants.

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R; Tillberg, Chadwick V

    2009-07-01

    Over the past 20 yr, the use of stable isotopes to infer feeding ecology and the examination of how energetic and elemental exchanges are affected by and affect life (ecological stoichiometry) have gained momentum. The ecological diversity of ants makes them interesting models to explore dietary ecology and their role in food webs. Moreover, their ecological dominance in most habitats facilitates sampling. The protocol described here will produce samples adequate for submission to most labs that specialize in high-throughput analysis of stable isotopes; one should check with any particular lab for specific submission instructions. Note, however, that this protocol is designed specifically for the quantification of the natural abundance of stable isotopes; it does not cover the preparation of trace samples. PMID:20147207

  17. 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.

  18. Ant-mediated seed dispersal in a warmed world

    PubMed Central

    Patterson, Courtney M.; Rodriguez-Cabal, Mariano A.; Ribbons, Relena R.; Dunn, Robert R.; Sanders, Nathan J.

    2014-01-01

    Climate change affects communities both directly and indirectly via changes in interspecific interactions. One such interaction that may be altered under climate change is the ant-plant seed dispersal mutualism common in deciduous forests of eastern North America. As climatic warming alters the abundance and activity levels of ants, the potential exists for shifts in rates of ant-mediated seed dispersal. We used an experimental temperature manipulation at two sites in the eastern US (Harvard Forest in Massachusetts and Duke Forest in North Carolina) to examine the potential impacts of climatic warming on overall rates of seed dispersal (using Asarum canadense seeds) as well as species-specific rates of seed dispersal at the Duke Forest site. We also examined the relationship between ant critical thermal maxima (CTmax) and the mean seed removal temperature for each ant species. We found that seed removal rates did not change as a result of experimental warming at either study site, nor were there any changes in species-specific rates of seed dispersal. There was, however, a positive relationship between CTmax and mean seed removal temperature, whereby species with higher CTmax removed more seeds at hotter temperatures. The temperature at which seeds were removed was influenced by experimental warming as well as diurnal and day-to-day fluctuations in temperature. Taken together, our results suggest that while temperature may play a role in regulating seed removal by ants, ant plant seed-dispersal mutualisms may be more robust to climate change than currently assumed. PMID:24688863

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2009-01-01

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

  20. USING ANT COMMUNITIES FOR RAPID ASSESSMENT OF TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEM HEALTH

    SciTech Connect

    Wike, L; Doug Martin, D; Michael Paller, M; Eric Nelson, E

    2007-01-12

    Ecosystem health with its near infinite number of variables is difficult to measure, and there are many opinions as to which variables are most important, most easily measured, and most robust, Bioassessment avoids the controversy of choosing which physical and chemical parameters to measure because it uses responses of a community of organisms that integrate all aspects of the system in question. A variety of bioassessment methods have been successfully applied to aquatic ecosystems using fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Terrestrial biotic index methods are less developed than those for aquatic systems and we are seeking to address this problem here. This study had as its objective to examine the baseline differences in ant communities at different seral stages from clear cut back to mature pine plantation as a precursor to developing a bioassessment protocol. Comparative sampling was conducted at four seral stages; clearcut, 5 year, 15 year and mature pine plantation stands. Soil and vegetation data were collected at each site. All ants collected were preserved in 70% ethyl alcohol and identified to genus. Analysis of the ant data indicates that ants respond strongly to the habitat changes that accompany ecological succession in managed pine forests and that individual genera as well as ant community structure can be used as an indicator of successional change. Ants exhibited relatively high diversity in both early and mature seral stages. High ant diversity in the mature seral stages was likely related to conditions on the forest floor which favored litter dwelling and cool climate specialists.

  1. Stridulations Reveal Cryptic Speciation in Neotropical Sympatric Ants

    PubMed Central

    Ferreira, Ronara Souza; Poteaux, Chantal; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles; Fresneau, Dominique; Rybak, Fanny

    2010-01-01

    The taxonomic challenge posed by cryptic species underlines the importance of using multiple criteria in species delimitation. In the current paper we tested the use of acoustic analysis as a tool to assess the real diversity in a cryptic species complex of Neotropical ants. In order to understand the potential of acoustics and to improve consistency in the conclusions by comparing different approaches, phylogenetic relationships of all the morphs considered were assessed by the analysis of a fragment of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b. We observed that each of the cryptic morph studied presents a morphologically distinct stridulatory organ and that all sympatric morphs produce distinctive stridulations. This is the first evidence of such a degree of specialization in the acoustic organ and signals in ants, which suggests that stridulations may be among the cues used by these ants during inter-specific interactions. Mitochondrial DNA variation corroborated the acoustic differences observed, confirming acoustics as a helpful tool to determine cryptic species in this group of ants, and possibly in stridulating ants in general. Congruent morphological, acoustic and genetic results constitute sufficient evidence to propose each morph studied here as a valid new species, suggesting that P. apicalis is a complex of at least 6 to 9 species, even if they present different levels of divergence. Finally, our results highlight that ant stridulations may be much more informative than hitherto thought, as much for ant communication as for integrative taxonomists. PMID:21203529

  2. Interactions Increase Forager Availability and Activity in Harvester Ants

    PubMed Central

    Pinter-Wollman, Noa; Crow, Sam; Allen, Kelsey; Mathur, Maya B.; Gordon, Deborah M.

    2015-01-01

    Social insect colonies use interactions among workers to regulate collective behavior. Harvester ant foragers interact in a chamber just inside the nest entrance, here called the 'entrance chamber'. Previous studies of the activation of foragers in red harvester ants show that an outgoing forager inside the nest experiences an increase in brief antennal contacts before it leaves the nest to forage. Here we compare the interaction rate experienced by foragers that left the nest and ants that did not. We found that ants in the entrance chamber that leave the nest to forage experienced more interactions than ants that descend to the deeper nest without foraging. Additionally, we found that the availability of foragers in the entrance chamber is associated with the rate of forager return. An increase in the rate of forager return leads to an increase in the rate at which ants descend to the deeper nest, which then stimulates more ants to ascend into the entrance chamber. Thus a higher rate of forager return leads to more available foragers in the entrance chamber. The highest density of interactions occurs near the nest entrance and the entrances of the tunnels from the entrance chamber to the deeper nest. Local interactions with returning foragers regulate both the activation of waiting foragers and the number of foragers available to be activated. PMID:26539724

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    We assessed the effects of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta; hereafter fire ant) on the foraging of hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus). We used a manipulative experiment, placing resource patches with a known amount of millet seed within areas with reduced (RIFA [–]) or ambient (RIFA [+]) numbers of fire ants. We measured giving up densities (the amount of food left within each patch) within the resource patches for 4 days to quantify the effects of fire ants on cotton rat foraging. We assessed the effects of fire ant treatment (RIFA), Day, and their interaction on cotton rat giving up densities. Giving up densities on RIFA [+] grids were nearly 2.2 times greater across all foraging days and ranged from 1.6 to 2.3 times greater from day 1 to day 4 than the RIFA [–] grids. From day 1 to day 4, mean giving up densities decreased significantly faster for the RIFA [–] than RIFA [+] treatments, 58% and 13%, respectively. Our results demonstrate that cotton rats perceive a risk of injury from fire ants, which is likely caused by interference competition, rather than direct predation. Envenomation from ants likely decrease the foraging efficiency of cotton rats resulting in more time spent foraging. Increased time spent foraging is likely stressful in terms of the opportunity for direct injury and encounters with other predators. These indirect effects may reduce an individual cotton rat’s fitness and translate into lowered population abundances. PMID:27655320

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lapierre, Louis; Hespenheide, Henry; Dejean, Alain

    2007-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

    Social insect colonies use interactions among workers to regulate collective behavior. Harvester ant foragers interact in a chamber just inside the nest entrance, here called the 'entrance chamber'. Previous studies of the activation of foragers in red harvester ants show that an outgoing forager inside the nest experiences an increase in brief antennal contacts before it leaves the nest to forage. Here we compare the interaction rate experienced by foragers that left the nest and ants that did not. We found that ants in the entrance chamber that leave the nest to forage experienced more interactions than ants that descend to the deeper nest without foraging. Additionally, we found that the availability of foragers in the entrance chamber is associated with the rate of forager return. An increase in the rate of forager return leads to an increase in the rate at which ants descend to the deeper nest, which then stimulates more ants to ascend into the entrance chamber. Thus a higher rate of forager return leads to more available foragers in the entrance chamber. The highest density of interactions occurs near the nest entrance and the entrances of the tunnels from the entrance chamber to the deeper nest. Local interactions with returning foragers regulate both the activation of waiting foragers and the number of foragers available to be activated. PMID:26539724

  6. Newly discovered sister lineage sheds light on early ant evolution

    PubMed Central

    Rabeling, Christian; Brown, Jeremy M.; Verhaagh, Manfred

    2008-01-01

    Ants are the world's most conspicuous and important eusocial insects and their diversity, abundance, and extreme behavioral specializations make them a model system for several disciplines within the biological sciences. Here, we report the discovery of a new ant that appears to represent the sister lineage to all extant ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). The phylogenetic position of this cryptic predator from the soils of the Amazon rainforest was inferred from several nuclear genes, sequenced from a single leg. Martialis heureka (gen. et sp. nov.) also constitutes the sole representative of a new, morphologically distinct subfamily of ants, the Martialinae (subfam. nov.). Our analyses have reduced the likelihood of long-branch attraction artifacts that have troubled previous phylogenetic studies of early-diverging ants and therefore solidify the emerging view that the most basal extant ant lineages are cryptic, hypogaeic foragers. On the basis of morphological and phylogenetic evidence we suggest that these specialized subterranean predators are the sole surviving representatives of a highly divergent lineage that arose near the dawn of ant diversification and have persisted in ecologically stable environments like tropical soils over great spans of time. PMID:18794530

  7. A model for collective dynamics in ant raids.

    PubMed

    Ryan, Shawn D

    2016-05-01

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

  8. Learning and perceptual similarity among cuticular hydrocarbons in ants.

    PubMed

    Bos, Nick; Dreier, Stephanie; Jørgensen, Charlotte G; Nielsen, John; Guerrieri, Fernando J; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2012-01-01

    Nestmate recognition in ants is based on perceived differences in a multi-component blend of hydrocarbons that are present on the insect cuticle. Although supplementation experiments have shown that some classes of hydrocarbons, such as methyl branched alkanes and alkenes, have a salient role in nestmate recognition, there was basically no information available on how ants detect and perceive these molecules. We used a new conditioning procedure to investigate whether individual carpenter ants could associate a given hydrocarbon (linear or methyl-branched alkane) to sugar reward. We then studied perceptual similarity between a hydrocarbon previously associated with sugar and a novel hydrocarbon. Ants learnt all hydrocarbon-reward associations rapidly and with the same efficiency, regardless of the structure of the molecules. Ants could discriminate among a large number of pairs of hydrocarbons, but also generalised. Generalisation depended both on the structure of the molecule and the animal's experience. For linear alkanes, generalisation was observed when the novel molecule was smaller than the conditioned one. Generalisation between pairs of methyl-alkanes was high, while generalisation between hydrocarbons that differed in the presence or absence of a methyl group was low, suggesting that chain length and functional group might be coded independently by the ant olfactory system. Understanding variations in perception of recognition cues in ants is necessary for the general understanding of the mechanisms involved in social recognition processes based on chemical cues. PMID:22067290

  9. Contact rate modulates foraging efficiency in leaf cutting ants

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    Lane segregation is rarely observed in animals that move in bidirectional flows. Consequently, these animals generally experience a high rate of head-on collisions during their journeys. Although these collisions have a cost (each collision induces a delay resulting in a decrease of individual speed), they could also have a benefit by promoting information transfer between individuals. Here we explore the impact of head-on collisions in leaf-cutting ants moving on foraging trails by artificially decreasing the rate of head-on collisions between individuals. We show that head-on collisions do not influence the rate of recruitment in these ants but do influence foraging efficiency, i.e. the proportion of ants returning to the nest with a leaf fragment. Surprisingly, both unladen and laden ants returning to the nest participate in the modulation of foraging efficiency: foraging efficiency decreases when the rate of contacts with both nestbound laden or unladen ants decreases. These results suggest that outgoing ants are able to collect information from inbound ants even when these latter do not carry any leaf fragment and that this information can influence their foraging decisions when reaching the end of the trail. PMID:26686557

  10. Patterns of Positive Selection in Seven Ant Genomes

    PubMed Central

    Roux, Julien; Privman, Eyal; Moretti, Sébastien; Daub, Josephine T.; Robinson-Rechavi, Marc; Keller, Laurent

    2014-01-01

    The evolution of ants is marked by remarkable adaptations that allowed the development of very complex social systems. To identify how ant-specific adaptations are associated with patterns of molecular evolution, we searched for signs of positive selection on amino-acid changes in proteins. We identified 24 functional categories of genes which were enriched for positively selected genes in the ant lineage. We also reanalyzed genome-wide data sets in bees and flies with the same methodology to check whether positive selection was specific to ants or also present in other insects. Notably, genes implicated in immunity were enriched for positively selected genes in the three lineages, ruling out the hypothesis that the evolution of hygienic behaviors in social insects caused a major relaxation of selective pressure on immune genes. Our scan also indicated that genes implicated in neurogenesis and olfaction started to undergo increased positive selection before the evolution of sociality in Hymenoptera. Finally, the comparison between these three lineages allowed us to pinpoint molecular evolution patterns that were specific to the ant lineage. In particular, there was ant-specific recurrent positive selection on genes with mitochondrial functions, suggesting that mitochondrial activity was improved during the evolution of this lineage. This might have been an important step toward the evolution of extreme lifespan that is a hallmark of ants. PMID:24782441

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  12. Learning and perceptual similarity among cuticular hydrocarbons in ants.

    PubMed

    Bos, Nick; Dreier, Stephanie; Jørgensen, Charlotte G; Nielsen, John; Guerrieri, Fernando J; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2012-01-01

    Nestmate recognition in ants is based on perceived differences in a multi-component blend of hydrocarbons that are present on the insect cuticle. Although supplementation experiments have shown that some classes of hydrocarbons, such as methyl branched alkanes and alkenes, have a salient role in nestmate recognition, there was basically no information available on how ants detect and perceive these molecules. We used a new conditioning procedure to investigate whether individual carpenter ants could associate a given hydrocarbon (linear or methyl-branched alkane) to sugar reward. We then studied perceptual similarity between a hydrocarbon previously associated with sugar and a novel hydrocarbon. Ants learnt all hydrocarbon-reward associations rapidly and with the same efficiency, regardless of the structure of the molecules. Ants could discriminate among a large number of pairs of hydrocarbons, but also generalised. Generalisation depended both on the structure of the molecule and the animal's experience. For linear alkanes, generalisation was observed when the novel molecule was smaller than the conditioned one. Generalisation between pairs of methyl-alkanes was high, while generalisation between hydrocarbons that differed in the presence or absence of a methyl group was low, suggesting that chain length and functional group might be coded independently by the ant olfactory system. Understanding variations in perception of recognition cues in ants is necessary for the general understanding of the mechanisms involved in social recognition processes based on chemical cues.

  13. Stridulations reveal cryptic speciation in neotropical sympatric ants.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Ronara Souza; Poteaux, Chantal; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles; Fresneau, Dominique; Rybak, Fanny

    2010-12-22

    The taxonomic challenge posed by cryptic species underlines the importance of using multiple criteria in species delimitation. In the current paper we tested the use of acoustic analysis as a tool to assess the real diversity in a cryptic species complex of Neotropical ants. In order to understand the potential of acoustics and to improve consistency in the conclusions by comparing different approaches, phylogenetic relationships of all the morphs considered were assessed by the analysis of a fragment of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b. We observed that each of the cryptic morph studied presents a morphologically distinct stridulatory organ and that all sympatric morphs produce distinctive stridulations. This is the first evidence of such a degree of specialization in the acoustic organ and signals in ants, which suggests that stridulations may be among the cues used by these ants during inter-specific interactions. Mitochondrial DNA variation corroborated the acoustic differences observed, confirming acoustics as a helpful tool to determine cryptic species in this group of ants, and possibly in stridulating ants in general. Congruent morphological, acoustic and genetic results constitute sufficient evidence to propose each morph studied here as a valid new species, suggesting that P. apicalis is a complex of at least 6 to 9 species, even if they present different levels of divergence. Finally, our results highlight that ant stridulations may be much more informative than hitherto thought, as much for ant communication as for integrative taxonomists.

  14. Ant-mediated seed dispersal in a warmed world.

    PubMed

    Stuble, Katharine L; Patterson, Courtney M; Rodriguez-Cabal, Mariano A; Ribbons, Relena R; Dunn, Robert R; Sanders, Nathan J

    2014-01-01

    Climate change affects communities both directly and indirectly via changes in interspecific interactions. One such interaction that may be altered under climate change is the ant-plant seed dispersal mutualism common in deciduous forests of eastern North America. As climatic warming alters the abundance and activity levels of ants, the potential exists for shifts in rates of ant-mediated seed dispersal. We used an experimental temperature manipulation at two sites in the eastern US (Harvard Forest in Massachusetts and Duke Forest in North Carolina) to examine the potential impacts of climatic warming on overall rates of seed dispersal (using Asarum canadense seeds) as well as species-specific rates of seed dispersal at the Duke Forest site. We also examined the relationship between ant critical thermal maxima (CTmax) and the mean seed removal temperature for each ant species. We found that seed removal rates did not change as a result of experimental warming at either study site, nor were there any changes in species-specific rates of seed dispersal. There was, however, a positive relationship between CTmax and mean seed removal temperature, whereby species with higher CTmax removed more seeds at hotter temperatures. The temperature at which seeds were removed was influenced by experimental warming as well as diurnal and day-to-day fluctuations in temperature. Taken together, our results suggest that while temperature may play a role in regulating seed removal by ants, ant plant seed-dispersal mutualisms may be more robust to climate change than currently assumed. PMID:24688863

  15. Ant-mediated seed dispersal in a warmed world.

    PubMed

    Stuble, Katharine L; Patterson, Courtney M; Rodriguez-Cabal, Mariano A; Ribbons, Relena R; Dunn, Robert R; Sanders, Nathan J

    2014-01-01

    Climate change affects communities both directly and indirectly via changes in interspecific interactions. One such interaction that may be altered under climate change is the ant-plant seed dispersal mutualism common in deciduous forests of eastern North America. As climatic warming alters the abundance and activity levels of ants, the potential exists for shifts in rates of ant-mediated seed dispersal. We used an experimental temperature manipulation at two sites in the eastern US (Harvard Forest in Massachusetts and Duke Forest in North Carolina) to examine the potential impacts of climatic warming on overall rates of seed dispersal (using Asarum canadense seeds) as well as species-specific rates of seed dispersal at the Duke Forest site. We also examined the relationship between ant critical thermal maxima (CTmax) and the mean seed removal temperature for each ant species. We found that seed removal rates did not change as a result of experimental warming at either study site, nor were there any changes in species-specific rates of seed dispersal. There was, however, a positive relationship between CTmax and mean seed removal temperature, whereby species with higher CTmax removed more seeds at hotter temperatures. The temperature at which seeds were removed was influenced by experimental warming as well as diurnal and day-to-day fluctuations in temperature. Taken together, our results suggest that while temperature may play a role in regulating seed removal by ants, ant plant seed-dispersal mutualisms may be more robust to climate change than currently assumed.

  16. 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.

  17. The Molecular Clockwork of the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Ingram, Krista K.; Kutowoi, Alexander; Wurm, Yannick; Shoemaker, DeWayne; Meier, Rudolf; Bloch, Guy

    2012-01-01

    The circadian clock is a core molecular mechanism that allows organisms to anticipate daily environmental changes and adapt the timing of behaviors to maximize efficiency. In social insects, the ability to maintain the appropriate temporal order is thought to improve colony efficiency and fitness. We used the newly sequenced fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) genome to characterize the first ant circadian clock. Our results reveal that the fire ant clock is similar to the clock of the honeybee, a social insect with an independent evolutionary origin of sociality. Gene trees for the eight core clock genes, period, cycle, clock, cryptochrome-m, timeout, vrille, par domain protein 1 & clockwork orange, show ant species grouping closely with honeybees and Nasonia wasps as an outgroup to the social Hymenoptera. Expression patterns for these genes suggest that the ant clock functions similar to the honeybee clock, with period and cry-m mRNA levels increasing during the night and cycle and clockwork orange mRNAs cycling approximately anti-phase to period. Gene models for five of these genes also parallel honeybee models. In particular, the single ant cryptochrome is an ortholog of the mammalian-type (cry-m), rather than Drosophila-like protein (cry-d). Additionally, we find a conserved VPIFAL C-tail region in clockwork orange shared by insects but absent in vertebrates. Overall, our characterization of the ant clock demonstrates that two social insect lineages, ants and bees, share a similar, mammalian-like circadian clock. This study represents the first characterization of clock genes in an ant and is a key step towards understanding socially-regulated plasticity in circadian rhythms by facilitating comparative studies on the organization of circadian clockwork. PMID:23152747

  18. Weaver ant role in cashew orchards in Vietnam.

    PubMed

    Peng, Renkang; Lan, La Pham; Christian, Keith

    2014-08-01

    Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) is a very important source of income for more than 200,000 farmer households in Vietnam. The present cashew productivity in Vietnam is low and unstable, and pest damage is partly responsible for this. Cashew farmers rely on pesticides to minimize the damage, resulting in adverse impacts on farm environment and farmers' health. Weaver ants (Oecophylla spp) are effective biocontrol agents of a range of cashew insect pests in several cashew-growing countries, and these ants are widely distributed in Vietnam. The aim of this study is to evaluate the potential of weaver ants in cashew orchards in Vietnam. Field surveys and field experiment were conducted in five cashew orchards from July 2006 to January 2008 in Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, and Ba Ria Vung Tau provinces, Vietnam. Based on the field surveys, the most important pests that damage flushing foliar and floral shoots and young cashew fruits and nuts were mosquito bugs, brown shoot borers, blue shoot borers, and fruit-nut borers. The damage caused by each of these pests was significantly lower on trees with weaver ants compared with trees without the ants, showing that the ants were able to keep these pest damages under the control threshold. Regular monitoring of the field experiment showed that weaver ants were similar to insecticides for controlling mosquito bugs, blue shoot borers, fruit-nut borers, leaf rollers, and leaf miners. Aphids did not become major pests in plot with weaver ants. To manage insect pest assemblage in cashew orchards, an integrated pest management using weaver ants as a major component is discussed.

  19. Weaver ant role in cashew orchards in Vietnam.

    PubMed

    Peng, Renkang; Lan, La Pham; Christian, Keith

    2014-08-01

    Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) is a very important source of income for more than 200,000 farmer households in Vietnam. The present cashew productivity in Vietnam is low and unstable, and pest damage is partly responsible for this. Cashew farmers rely on pesticides to minimize the damage, resulting in adverse impacts on farm environment and farmers' health. Weaver ants (Oecophylla spp) are effective biocontrol agents of a range of cashew insect pests in several cashew-growing countries, and these ants are widely distributed in Vietnam. The aim of this study is to evaluate the potential of weaver ants in cashew orchards in Vietnam. Field surveys and field experiment were conducted in five cashew orchards from July 2006 to January 2008 in Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, and Ba Ria Vung Tau provinces, Vietnam. Based on the field surveys, the most important pests that damage flushing foliar and floral shoots and young cashew fruits and nuts were mosquito bugs, brown shoot borers, blue shoot borers, and fruit-nut borers. The damage caused by each of these pests was significantly lower on trees with weaver ants compared with trees without the ants, showing that the ants were able to keep these pest damages under the control threshold. Regular monitoring of the field experiment showed that weaver ants were similar to insecticides for controlling mosquito bugs, blue shoot borers, fruit-nut borers, leaf rollers, and leaf miners. Aphids did not become major pests in plot with weaver ants. To manage insect pest assemblage in cashew orchards, an integrated pest management using weaver ants as a major component is discussed. PMID:25195419

  20. Ants of the national park of American Samoa

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Banko, Paul C.; Peck, Robert W.

    2015-01-01

    American Samoa makes up the eastern end of the Samoan Archipelago. On the islands of Tutuila, Taʽū and Ofu, the National Park of American Samoa (NPSA) protects about 4,000 ha of coastal, mid-slope and ridge-top forest. While the ant fauna of the Samoan Archipelago is considered relatively well documented, much of NPSA has never been surveyed for ants, leaving the fauna and its distribution poorly known. To address this shortfall, we systematically surveyed ants within the Tutuila and Taʽū units of NPSA using standard methods (hand collecting, litter sifting, and baits) at 39 sites within six vegetation types ranging from 8 to 945 m elevation. Forty-four ant species were identified, 19 of which are exotic to the Samoan Archipelago. Two notoriously aggressive species, Anoplolepis gracilipes and Pheidole megacephala were detected at two and seven sites, respectively. Both of these species largely excluded all other ants from bait, although their impact on ant community composition is unclear. A suite of habitat variables measured at each site was assessed to explain park-wide ant distributions. Of eight variables evaluated, only elevation was associated with ant community structure, as the ratio of native to exotic ant species increased significantly with elevation on Tutuila. Our survey documented two species not previously reported from American Samoa. Strumigenys eggersi, detected at 12 sites, appears to be a new immigrant to the Pacific Basin. A species of Pheidole was collected that likely represents an undescribed species. Solenopsis geminata, an aggressive species first reported on Tutuila in 2002, was not detected during our survey.

  1. Trail pheromone disruption of red imported fire ant.

    PubMed

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

    2010-07-01

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

  2. Vision-independent odometry in the ant Cataglyphis cursor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thiélin-Bescond, Mary; Beugnon, Guy

    2005-04-01

    In contrast to flying insects, in which distance estimation is visually mediated, self-induced image motion and use of familiar landmarks are known to play a minor role in ants. Here we show that strictly diurnal Cataglyphis cursor ants can gauge with accuracy the distance they have travelled even in complete darkness in the absence of any other cues, i.e. chemical or protocounting information. Thus, an ant's odometer is a vision-independent system based on proprioceptive cues, implicating some form of step counting, which remain to be elucidated.

  3. Ocelli: A Celestial Compass in the Desert Ant Cataglyphis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fent, Karl; Wehner, Rudiger

    1985-04-01

    In addition to multifaceted lateral compound eyes, most insects possess three frontal eyes called ocelli. Each ocellus has a single lens, as does the vertebrate eye. The ocelli of some flying insects, locusts and dragonflies, have been shown to function as horizon detectors involved in the visual stabilization of course. In a walking insect, the desert ant Cataglyphis, it is now shown that the ocelli can read compass information from the blue sky. When the ant's compound eyes are occluded and both sun and landmarks are obscured, the ocelli, using the pattern of polarized light in the sky as a compass cue, help in guiding the ant back home.

  4. Draft Genome Sequence of the Ant-Associated Fungus Phialophora attae (CBS 131958)

    PubMed Central

    Moreno, Leandro F.; Stielow, J. Benjamin; de Vries, Michel; Weiss, Vinicius A.; Vicente, Vania A.

    2015-01-01

    The black yeast Phialophora attae was isolated from the cuticle of tropical ant gynes. The ant-fungus association is sustained due to symbiotic evolutionary adaptations that allow fungal assimilation and tolerance of toxic compounds produced by the ant. The genome sequence of the first ant-associated fungus, P. attae, is presented here. PMID:26586868

  5. 9 CFR 381.70 - Ante mortem inspection; when required; extent.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Ante mortem inspection; when required... AND VOLUNTARY INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION POULTRY PRODUCTS INSPECTION REGULATIONS Ante Mortem Inspection § 381.70 Ante mortem inspection; when required; extent. (a) An ante mortem inspection of...

  6. 9 CFR 354.122 - Condemnation on ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Condemnation on ante-mortem inspection... Procedures; Ante-Mortem Inspections § 354.122 Condemnation on ante-mortem inspection. Rabbits found in a... showing, on ante-mortem inspection, any disease or condition, that under §§ 354.129 to 354.131,...

  7. 9 CFR 309.1 - Ante-mortem inspection in pens of official establishments.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Ante-mortem inspection in pens of... AND VOLUNTARY INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION ANTE-MORTEM INSPECTION § 309.1 Ante-mortem inspection in...) Such ante-mortem inspection shall be made in pens on the premises of the establishment at which...

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

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem... Inspection Procedures; Ante-Mortem Inspections § 354.123 Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem inspection. All rabbits which, on ante-mortem inspection, do not plainly show, but are suspected of being...

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

    PubMed

    Wang, Lei; Chen, Jian

    2015-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

    Invasive species can indirectly affect ecosystem processes via the disruption of mutualisms. The mutualism between the whistling thorn acacia (Acacia drepanolobium) and four species of symbiotic ants is an ecologically important one; ants strongly defend trees against elephants, which can otherwise have dramatic impacts on tree cover. In Laikipia, Kenya, the invasive big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala) has established itself at numerous locations within the last 10-15 years. In invaded areas on five properties, we found that three species of symbiotic Crematogaster ants were virtually extirpated, whereas Tetraponera penzigi co-occurred with P. megacephala. T. penzigi appears to persist because of its nonaggressive behavior; in a whole-tree translocation experiment, Crematogaster defended host trees against P. megacephala, but were extirpated from trees within hours. In contrast, T. penzigi retreated into domatia and withstood invading ants for >30 days. In the field, the loss of defensive Crematogaster ants in invaded areas led to a five- to sevenfold increase in the number of trees catastrophically damaged by elephants compared to uninvaded areas. In savannas, tree cover drives many ecosystem processes and provides essential forage for many large mammal species; thus, the invasion of big-headed ants may strongly alter the dynamics and diversity of East Africa's whistling thorn savannas by disrupting this system's keystone acaciaant mutualism. PMID:26236862

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2004-10-01

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

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

    De La Riva, Deborah G; Trumble, John T

    2016-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-08-01

    Ants live in dynamically changing environments, where food sources become depleted and alternative sources appear. Yet most mathematical models of ant foraging assume that the ants' foraging environment is static. Here we describe a mathematical model of ant foraging in a dynamic environment. Our model attempts to explain recent empirical data on dynamic foraging in the Argentine ant Linepithema humile (Mayr). The ants are able to find the shortest path in a Towers of Hanoi maze, a complex network containing 32,768 alternative paths, even when the maze is altered dynamically. We modify existing models developed to explain ant foraging in static environments, to elucidate what possible mechanisms allow the ants to quickly adapt to changes in their foraging environment. Our results suggest that navigation of individual ants based on a combination of one pheromone deposited during foraging and directional information enables the ants to adapt their foraging trails and recreates the experimental results. PMID:22575583

  15. Melissotarsus ants are likely able to digest plant polysaccharides.

    PubMed

    Mony, Ruth; Dejean, Alain; Bilong, Charles Félix Bilong; Kenne, Martin; Rouland-Lefèvre, Corinne

    2013-10-01

    Melissotarsus ants have an extremely specialized set of behaviours. Both workers and gynes tunnel galleries in their host tree bark. Workers walk with their mesothoracic legs pointing upwards and tend Diaspididae hemiptera for their flesh. The ants use their forelegs to plug the galleries with silk that they secrete themselves. We hypothesised that the ants' energetic needs for nearly constant gallery digging could be satisfied through the absorption of host tree tissues; so, using basic techniques, we examined the digestive capacities of workers from two species. We show that workers are able to degrade oligosaccharides and heterosides as well as, to a lesser degree, polysaccharides. This is one of the rare reports on ants able to digest plant polysaccharides other than starch.

  16. Ants, Tunnels, and Calculus: An Exercise in Mathematical Modeling.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Winkel, Brian J.

    1994-01-01

    Discusses an activity which models the building of a tunnel by ants using the definitions of derivative and indefinite integral from calculus. Includes a discussion of reasonableness and interpretation of the problem. (MKR)

  17. Efficient Egress of Escaping Ants Stressed with Temperature

    PubMed Central

    Boari, Santiago; Josens, Roxana; Parisi, Daniel R.

    2013-01-01

    In the present work we investigate the egress times of a group of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) stressed with different heating speeds. We found that the higher the temperature ramp is, the faster ants evacuate showing, in this sense, a group-efficient evacuation strategy. It is important to note that even when the life of ants was in danger, jamming and clogging was not observed near the exit, in accordance with other experiments reported in the literature using citronella as aversive stimuli. Because of this clear difference between ants and humans, we recommend the use of some other animal models for studying competitive egress dynamics as a more accurate approach to understanding competitive egress in human systems. PMID:24312264

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Friedman, D A; Gordon, D M

    2016-07-01

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

  20. Ant groups optimally amplify the effect of transiently informed individuals.

    PubMed

    Gelblum, Aviram; Pinkoviezky, Itai; Fonio, Ehud; Ghosh, Abhijit; Gov, Nir; Feinerman, Ofer

    2015-01-01

    To cooperatively transport a large load, it is important that carriers conform in their efforts and align their forces. A downside of behavioural conformism is that it may decrease the group's responsiveness to external information. Combining experiment and theory, we show how ants optimize collective transport. On the single-ant scale, optimization stems from decision rules that balance individuality and compliance. Macroscopically, these rules poise the system at the transition between random walk and ballistic motion where the collective response to the steering of a single informed ant is maximized. We relate this peak in response to the divergence of susceptibility at a phase transition. Our theoretical models predict that the ant-load system can be transitioned through the critical point of this mesoscopic system by varying its size; we present experiments supporting these predictions. Our findings show that efficient group-level processes can arise from transient amplification of individual-based knowledge. PMID:26218613

  1. An ant colony approach for image texture classification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Friedman, D A; Gordon, D M

    2016-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  4. Modelling foraging ants in a dynamic and confined environment.

    PubMed

    Bandeira de Melo, Elton B; Araújo, Aluízio F R

    2011-04-01

    In social insects, the superposition of simple individual behavioral rules leads to the emergence of complex collective patterns and helps solve difficult problems inherent to surviving in hostile habitats. Modelling ant colony foraging reveals strategies arising from the insects' self-organization and helps develop of new computational strategies in order to solve complex problems. This paper presents advances in modelling ants' behavior when foraging in a confined and dynamic environment, based on experiments with the Argentine ant Linepithema humile in a relatively complex artificial network. We propose a model which overcomes the problem of stagnation observed in earlier models by taking into account additional biological aspects, by using non-linear functions for the deposit, perception and evaporation of pheromone, and by introducing new mechanisms to represent randomness and the exploratory behavior of the ants. PMID:21236313

  5. Ant groups optimally amplify the effect of transiently informed individuals

    PubMed Central

    Gelblum, Aviram; Pinkoviezky, Itai; Fonio, Ehud; Ghosh, Abhijit; Gov, Nir; Feinerman, Ofer

    2015-01-01

    To cooperatively transport a large load, it is important that carriers conform in their efforts and align their forces. A downside of behavioural conformism is that it may decrease the group's responsiveness to external information. Combining experiment and theory, we show how ants optimize collective transport. On the single-ant scale, optimization stems from decision rules that balance individuality and compliance. Macroscopically, these rules poise the system at the transition between random walk and ballistic motion where the collective response to the steering of a single informed ant is maximized. We relate this peak in response to the divergence of susceptibility at a phase transition. Our theoretical models predict that the ant-load system can be transitioned through the critical point of this mesoscopic system by varying its size; we present experiments supporting these predictions. Our findings show that efficient group-level processes can arise from transient amplification of individual-based knowledge. PMID:26218613

  6. Disease Dynamics in a Specialized Parasite of Ant Societies

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  7. Patterns of reproduction in slave-making ants

    PubMed Central

    Herbers, J. M.; Stuart, R. J.

    1998-01-01

    Sex ratios in slave-making ants have been posed as important test cases for the hypothesis that eusociality evolved via kin selection in insects. Trivers and Hare proposed that sex ratios in slave-makers should reflect the queen's interests whereas sex ratios in free-living host ants should reflect the workers' interests. We analyse patterns of allocation to males versus females, as well as allocation to growth versus reproduction for slave-making ants in the tribe Formicoxenini. We find little support for the hypothesis of exclusive queen control; instead, our results implicate queen–worker conflict in slave-making ants, both over male allocation ratios and over allocation to growth versus reproduction.

  8. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maschwitz, Ulrich; Moog, J.

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-05-01

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

  11. Ant groups optimally amplify the effect of transiently informed individuals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gelblum, Aviram; Pinkoviezky, Itai; Fonio, Ehud; Ghosh, Abhijit; Gov, Nir; Feinerman, Ofer

    2015-07-01

    To cooperatively transport a large load, it is important that carriers conform in their efforts and align their forces. A downside of behavioural conformism is that it may decrease the group's responsiveness to external information. Combining experiment and theory, we show how ants optimize collective transport. On the single-ant scale, optimization stems from decision rules that balance individuality and compliance. Macroscopically, these rules poise the system at the transition between random walk and ballistic motion where the collective response to the steering of a single informed ant is maximized. We relate this peak in response to the divergence of susceptibility at a phase transition. Our theoretical models predict that the ant-load system can be transitioned through the critical point of this mesoscopic system by varying its size; we present experiments supporting these predictions. Our findings show that efficient group-level processes can arise from transient amplification of individual-based knowledge.

  12. Fluid intake rates in ants correlate with their feeding habits.

    PubMed

    Paul, J; Roces, F

    2003-04-01

    This study investigates the techniques of nectar feeding in 11 different ant species, and quantitatively compares fluid intake rates over a wide range of nectar concentrations in four species that largely differ in their feeding habits. Ants were observed to employ two different techniques for liquid food intake, in which the glossa works either as a passive duct-like structure (sucking), or as an up- and downwards moving shovel (licking). The technique employed for collecting fluids at ad libitum food sources was observed to be species-specific and to correlate with the presence or absence of a well-developed crop in the species under scrutiny. Workers of ponerine ants licked fluid food during foraging and transported it as a droplet between their mandibles, whereas workers of species belonging to phylogenetically more advanced subfamilies, with a crop capable of storing liquids, sucked the fluid food, such as formicine ants of the genus Camponotus. In order to evaluate the performance of fluid collection during foraging, intake rates for sucrose solutions of different concentrations were measured in four ant species that differ in their foraging ecology. Scaling functions between fluid intake rates and ant size were first established for the polymorphic species, so as to compare ants of different size across species. Results showed that fluid intake rate depended, as expected and previously reported in the literature, on sugar concentration and the associated fluid viscosity. It also depended on both the species-specific feeding technique and the extent of specialization on foraging on liquid food. For similarly-sized ants, workers of two nectar-feeding ant species, Camponotus rufipes (Formicinae) and Pachycondyla villosa (Ponerinae), collected fluids with the highest intake rates, while workers of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens (Myrmicinae) and a predatory ant from the Rhytidoponera impressa-complex (Ponerinae) did so with the lowest rate. Calculating the

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-01

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

  14. Cataglyphis desert ants improve their mobility by raising the gaster.

    PubMed

    McMeeking, Robert M; Arzt, Eduard; Wehner, Rüdiger

    2012-03-21

    We analyze theoretically the moment of inertia of the desert ant Cataglyphis (C. bicolor and C. fortis) around a vertical axis through its own center of mass when the animal raises its gaster to a vertical position. Compared to the value when the gaster is horizontal, the moment of inertia is reduced to one half; this implies that when increasing its angular acceleration the ant need apply only half the level of torque when the gaster is raised, compared to when the gaster is lowered. As an example, we analyze the cases of an ant running on circular and sinusoidal paths. In both cases, the ant must apply a sideways thrust, anti-roll and anti-pitch torques to avoid toppling, and, on the circular path when accelerating and throughout the sinusoidal trajectory, a torque to enable turning as the path curves. When the ant is accelerating in a very tight circle or running on a very narrow sinusoidal path, in which the amplitude of the sinusoid is less than the length of the ant's body, the forces required for the turning torque can equal and exceed those required for the sideways thrust, and can be reduced significantly by the ant raising the gaster, whereas the foot-thrust for the anti-roll and anti-pitch torques rises only modestly when the gaster is up. This suggests that there may be an evolutionary advantage for employing the gaster-raising mode of locomotion, since this habit will allow desert ants to use lower forces and less energy, and perhaps run faster on more tortuous paths.

  15. Nest-mark orientation versus vector navigation in desert ants.

    PubMed

    Bregy, Patrick; Sommer, Stefan; Wehner, Rüdiger

    2008-06-01

    Foraging ants and bees use path-integration vectors and landmark cues for navigation. When in particular experimental paradigms the two types of information--vector-based and landmark-based information--are made to compete with each other, the insect may weight either source more heavily depending on the navigational context and the animal's motivational state. Here we studied the effects of a displaced nest mark on the homing performances of Cataglyphis ants. Foragers were trained to shuttle between the nest, which was marked by a black cylinder (the beacon), and an artificial feeder. Trained ants were captured at the feeder and transferred to a distant test field, where they experienced the nest mark at various positions relative to their home vector. When the beacon was positioned to one side of the point of release, the ants slightly drifted towards the beacon right at the start of their inbound run, but thereafter resumed their home-vector courses. When the nest mark appeared to one side further down the homing course, the ants set off in the home-vector direction, but then gradually drifted towards the beacon. The distance, at which this occurred, and the ants' drift from the home-vector course were very similar across test conditions. During the final search for the nest, landmark information dominated the ants' path integrator. The results clearly show that nest-mark memories are effective during the entire vector-based homeward course, but that they are either only partly activated or partly used unless the state of the ants' path integrator is close to zero.

  16. 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.

  17. Carbohydrate supply limits invasion of natural communities by Argentine ants.

    PubMed

    Rowles, Alexei D; Silverman, Jules

    2009-08-01

    The ability of species to invade new habitats is often limited by various biotic and physical factors or interactions between the two. Invasive ants, frequently associated with human activities, flourish in disturbed urban and agricultural environments. However, their ability to invade and establish in natural habitats is more variable. This is particularly so for the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). While biotic resistance and low soil moisture limits their invasion of natural habitats in some instances, the effect of food availability has been poorly explored. We conducted field experiments to determine if resource availability limits the spread and persistence of Argentine ants in remnant natural forest in North Carolina. Replicated transects paired with and without sucrose solution feeding stations were run from invaded urban edges into forest remnants and compared over time using baits and direct counts at feeding stations. Repeated under different timing regimes in 2006 and 2007, access to sucrose increased local Argentine ant abundances (1.6-2.5 fold) and facilitated their progression into the forest up to 73 +/- 21% of 50-m transects. Resource removal caused an expected decrease in Argentine ant densities in 2006, in conjunction with their retreat to the urban/forest boundary. However, in 2007, Argentine ant numbers unexpectedly continued to increase in the absence of sugar stations, possibly through access to alternative resources or conditions not available the previous year such as honeydew-excreting Hemiptera. Our results showed that supplementing carbohydrate supply facilitates invasion of natural habitat by Argentine ants. This is particularly evident where Argentine ants continued to thrive following sugar station removal.

  18. [Control of the Pharaoh's ant with borax bait formulations].

    PubMed

    Klunker, R; Scheurer, S; Neumann, T

    1990-12-01

    Results are given for the experimental control of Pharaoh ants, Monomorium pharaonis L., with persistent borax baits in the laboratory and the field. DYBH-bait formulations with about 17 per cent borax are very attractive and have a good effectivity. In 5 different objects infested with this ant eradication was proved to be possible with this experimental formulations. The progress of eradication depends essentially on the good organisational preparation of control measures.

  19. Ant predation on herbivores through a multitrophic lens: how effects of ants on plant herbivore defense and natural enemies vary along temperature gradients.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Castañeda, G; Brehm, G; Fiedler, K; Dyer, L A

    2016-04-01

    Ants are keystone predators in terrestrial trophic cascades. Addressing ants' roles in multitrophic interactions across regional gradients is important for understanding mechanisms behind range limits of species. We present four hypotheses of trophic dynamics occurring when ants are rare: first, there is a shift in predator communities; second, plants decrease investments in ant attraction and increase production of secondary metabolites; third, lower herbivory at high elevations allows plants to tolerate herbivory; and fourth, distribution of ant-plants can be limited based on ant abundance. Conducting experiments on multitrophic effects of ants across elevational gradients, and incorporating these results to ecological niche modeling (ENM) will improve our knowledge of the impacts of global change on ants, trophic interactions, and biodiversity. PMID:27436650

  20. Species-Specific Effects of Ant Inhabitants on Bromeliad Nutrition.

    PubMed

    Gonçalves, Ana Z; Oliveira, Rafael S; Oliveira, Paulo S; Romero, Gustavo Q

    2016-01-01

    Predator activities may lead to the accumulation of nutrients in specific areas of terrestrial habitats where they dispose of prey carcasses. In their feeding sites, predators may increase nutrient availability in the soil and favor plant nutrition and growth. However, the translocation of nutrients from one habitat to another may depend on predator identity and diet, as well as on the amount of prey intake. Here we used isotopic (15N) and physiological methods in greenhouse experiments to evaluate the effects of the identity of predatory ants (i.e., the consumption of prey and nest sites) on the nutrition and growth of the bromeliad Quesnelia arvensis. We showed that predatory ants with protein-based nutrition (i.e., Odontomachus hastatus, Gnamptogenys moelleri) improved the performance of their host bromeliads (i.e., increased foliar N, production of soluble proteins and growth). On the other hand, the contribution of Camponotus crassus for the nutritional status of bromeliads did not differ from bromeliads without ants, possibly because this ant does not have arthropod prey as a preferred food source. Our results show, for the first time, that predatory ants can translocate nutrients from one habitat to another within forests, accumulating nutrients in their feeding sites that become available to bromeliads. Additionally, we highlight that ant contribution to plant nutrition may depend on predator identity and its dietary requirements. Nest debris may be especially important for epiphytic and terrestrial bromeliads in nutrient-poor environments.

  1. Colony Fusion in a Parthenogenetic Ant, Pristomyrmex punctatus

    PubMed Central

    Satow, Show; Satoh, Toshiyuki; Hirota, Tadao

    2013-01-01

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

  2. Snapshot memories and landmark guidance in wood ants.

    PubMed

    Durier, Virginie; Graham, Paul; Collett, Thomas S

    2003-09-16

    Insects are thought to pinpoint a place by using memorized "snapshots," i.e., two-dimensional retinotopic views of the surrounding landmarks recorded when at the place (reviewed in ). Insects then reach the place by moving until their current view matches their snapshot. To determine when snapshots are recalled, and how differences between view and snapshot are translated into appropriate movements, we analyzed the approaches of wood ants to a feeding site that was located in the center of an array of two or three cylinders. In ants, contrary to flying hymenopterans, body orientation and direction of travel are collinear, so that an ant approaching an object always looks at it with frontal visual field. On their way to a food site, ants fixated and approached a cylinder predominantly when its angular size was smaller than when viewed from the food site. This finding implies that ants store snapshots at this place while fixating landmarks with frontal retina, so simplifying the later alignment of snapshots with their current view. It also means that ants recall snapshots well in advance of reaching the place. Although snapshots are centered on a landmark, we show that they extend at least 120 degrees into the periphery.

  3. Water stress strengthens mutualism among ants, trees, and scale insects.

    PubMed

    Pringle, Elizabeth G; Akçay, Erol; Raab, Ted K; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Gordon, Deborah M

    2013-11-01

    Abiotic environmental variables strongly affect the outcomes of species interactions. For example, mutualistic interactions between species are often stronger when resources are limited. The effect might be indirect: water stress on plants can lead to carbon stress, which could alter carbon-mediated plant mutualisms. In mutualistic ant-plant symbioses, plants host ant colonies that defend them against herbivores. Here we show that the partners' investments in a widespread ant-plant symbiosis increase with water stress across 26 sites along a Mesoamerican precipitation gradient. At lower precipitation levels, Cordia alliodora trees invest more carbon in Azteca ants via phloem-feeding scale insects that provide the ants with sugars, and the ants provide better defense of the carbon-producing leaves. Under water stress, the trees have smaller carbon pools. A model of the carbon trade-offs for the mutualistic partners shows that the observed strategies can arise from the carbon costs of rare but extreme events of herbivory in the rainy season. Thus, water limitation, together with the risk of herbivory, increases the strength of a carbon-based mutualism.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-07-22

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

  5. 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.

  6. An invasive slug exploits an ant-seed dispersal mutualism.

    PubMed

    Meadley Dunphy, Shannon A; Prior, Kirsten M; Frederickson, Megan E

    2016-05-01

    Plant-animal mutualisms, such as seed dispersal, are often vulnerable to disruption by invasive species. Here, we show for the first time how a non-ant invasive species negatively affects seed dispersal by ants. We examined the effects of several animal species that co-occur in a temperate deciduous forest-including native and invasive seed-dispersing ants (Aphaenogaster rudis and Myrmica rubra, respectively), an invasive slug (Arion subfuscus), and native rodents-on a native myrmecochorous plant, Asarum canadense. We experimentally manipulated ant, slug, and rodent access to seed depots and measured seed removal. We also video-recorded depots to determine which other taxa interact with seeds. We found that A. rudis was the main disperser of seeds and that A. subfuscus consumed elaiosomes without dispersing seeds. Rodent visitation was rare, and rodent exclusion had no significant effect on seed or elaiosome removal. We then used data obtained from laboratory and field mesocosm experiments to determine how elaiosome robbing by A. subfuscus affects seed dispersal by A. rudis and M. rubra. We found that elaiosome robbing by slugs reduced seed dispersal by ants, especially in mesocosms with A. rudis, which picks up seeds more slowly than M. rubra. Taken together, our results show that elaiosome robbing by an invasive slug reduces seed dispersal by ants, suggesting that invasive slugs can have profound negative effects on seed dispersal mutualisms.

  7. 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

  8. Species-Specific Effects of Ant Inhabitants on Bromeliad Nutrition

    PubMed Central

    Gonçalves, Ana Z.; Oliveira, Rafael S.; Oliveira, Paulo S.; Romero, Gustavo Q.

    2016-01-01

    Predator activities may lead to the accumulation of nutrients in specific areas of terrestrial habitats where they dispose of prey carcasses. In their feeding sites, predators may increase nutrient availability in the soil and favor plant nutrition and growth. However, the translocation of nutrients from one habitat to another may depend on predator identity and diet, as well as on the amount of prey intake. Here we used isotopic (15N) and physiological methods in greenhouse experiments to evaluate the effects of the identity of predatory ants (i.e., the consumption of prey and nest sites) on the nutrition and growth of the bromeliad Quesnelia arvensis. We showed that predatory ants with protein-based nutrition (i.e., Odontomachus hastatus, Gnamptogenys moelleri) improved the performance of their host bromeliads (i.e., increased foliar N, production of soluble proteins and growth). On the other hand, the contribution of Camponotus crassus for the nutritional status of bromeliads did not differ from bromeliads without ants, possibly because this ant does not have arthropod prey as a preferred food source. Our results show, for the first time, that predatory ants can translocate nutrients from one habitat to another within forests, accumulating nutrients in their feeding sites that become available to bromeliads. Additionally, we highlight that ant contribution to plant nutrition may depend on predator identity and its dietary requirements. Nest debris may be especially important for epiphytic and terrestrial bromeliads in nutrient-poor environments. PMID:27002980

  9. Social prophylaxis through distant corpse removal in ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-10-01

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

  10. Species-Specific Effects of Ant Inhabitants on Bromeliad Nutrition.

    PubMed

    Gonçalves, Ana Z; Oliveira, Rafael S; Oliveira, Paulo S; Romero, Gustavo Q

    2016-01-01

    Predator activities may lead to the accumulation of nutrients in specific areas of terrestrial habitats where they dispose of prey carcasses. In their feeding sites, predators may increase nutrient availability in the soil and favor plant nutrition and growth. However, the translocation of nutrients from one habitat to another may depend on predator identity and diet, as well as on the amount of prey intake. Here we used isotopic (15N) and physiological methods in greenhouse experiments to evaluate the effects of the identity of predatory ants (i.e., the consumption of prey and nest sites) on the nutrition and growth of the bromeliad Quesnelia arvensis. We showed that predatory ants with protein-based nutrition (i.e., Odontomachus hastatus, Gnamptogenys moelleri) improved the performance of their host bromeliads (i.e., increased foliar N, production of soluble proteins and growth). On the other hand, the contribution of Camponotus crassus for the nutritional status of bromeliads did not differ from bromeliads without ants, possibly because this ant does not have arthropod prey as a preferred food source. Our results show, for the first time, that predatory ants can translocate nutrients from one habitat to another within forests, accumulating nutrients in their feeding sites that become available to bromeliads. Additionally, we highlight that ant contribution to plant nutrition may depend on predator identity and its dietary requirements. Nest debris may be especially important for epiphytic and terrestrial bromeliads in nutrient-poor environments. PMID:27002980

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-01

    Trail pheromone disruption of invasive ants is a novel tactic that builds on the development of pheromone-based pest management in other insects. Argentine ant trail pheromone, (Z)-9-hexadecenal, was formulated as a micro-encapsulated sprayable particle and applied against Argentine ant populations in 400 m2 field plots in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. A widely dispersed point source strategy for trail pheromone disruption was used. Traffic rates of ants in bioassays of treated filter paper, protected from rainfall and sunlight, indicated the presence of behaviorally significant quantities of pheromone being released from the formulation for up to 59 days. The proportion of plots, under trade wind conditions (2–3 m s−1), with visible trails was reduced for up to 14 days following treatment, and the number of foraging ants at randomly placed tuna-bait cards was similarly reduced. The success of these trail pheromone disruption trials in a natural ecosystem highlights the potential of this method for control of invasive ant species in this and other environments. PMID:20077128

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-08-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Zeil, Jochen; Narendra, Ajay; Stürzl, Wolfgang

    2014-01-01

    We caught solitary foragers of the Australian Jack Jumper ant, Myrmecia croslandi, and released them in three compass directions at distances of 10 and 15 m from the nest at locations they have never been before. We recorded the head orientation and the movements of ants within a radius of 20 cm from the release point and, in some cases, tracked their subsequent paths with a differential GPS. We find that upon surfacing from their transport vials onto a release platform, most ants move into the home direction after looking around briefly. The ants use a systematic scanning procedure, consisting of saccadic head and body rotations that sweep gaze across the scene with an average angular velocity of 90° s−1 and intermittent changes in turning direction. By mapping the ants’ gaze directions onto the local panorama, we find that neither the ants’ gaze nor their decisions to change turning direction are clearly associated with salient or significant features in the scene. Instead, the ants look most frequently in the home direction and start walking fast when doing so. Displaced ants can thus identify home direction with little translation, but exclusively through rotational scanning. We discuss the navigational information content of the ants’ habitat and how the insects’ behaviour informs us about how they may acquire and retrieve that information. PMID:24395961

  15. Reciprocal genomic evolution in the ant-fungus agricultural symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Nygaard, Sanne; Hu, Haofu; Li, Cai; Schiøtt, Morten; Chen, Zhensheng; Yang, Zhikai; Xie, Qiaolin; Ma, Chunyu; Deng, Yuan; Dikow, Rebecca B; Rabeling, Christian; Nash, David R; Wcislo, William T; Brady, Seán G; Schultz, Ted R; Zhang, Guojie; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2016-01-01

    The attine ant-fungus agricultural symbiosis evolved over tens of millions of years, producing complex societies with industrial-scale farming analogous to that of humans. Here we document reciprocal shifts in the genomes and transcriptomes of seven fungus-farming ant species and their fungal cultivars. We show that ant subsistence farming probably originated in the early Tertiary (55-60 MYA), followed by further transitions to the farming of fully domesticated cultivars and leaf-cutting, both arising earlier than previously estimated. Evolutionary modifications in the ants include unprecedented rates of genome-wide structural rearrangement, early loss of arginine biosynthesis and positive selection on chitinase pathways. Modifications of fungal cultivars include loss of a key ligninase domain, changes in chitin synthesis and a reduction in carbohydrate-degrading enzymes as the ants gradually transitioned to functional herbivory. In contrast to human farming, increasing dependence on a single cultivar lineage appears to have been essential to the origin of industrial-scale ant agriculture. PMID:27436133

  16. Direct homing behaviour in the ant Tetramorium caespitum (Formicidae, Myrmicinae).

    PubMed

    Shen; Xu; Hankes

    1998-06-01

    Direct homing refers to the behaviour whereby an ant with food runs in an almost straight line to the nest. We determined whether non-polarized light acts as a directional cue in the direct homing behaviour of the grass ant, Tetramorium caespitum. We carried out tests (1) under a blue sky or in total overcast conditions in the field, and (2) with a view of the sun or with a non-polarized light within a box in the laboratory. The ants' paths were recorded, and then analysed by means of circular and linear statistics. Ant workers with food were able to home directly under a blue sky, under totally overcast skies, and even under non-polarized lighting. In a fifth test we displaced the ants at the beginning of the homing trip; they returned to the presumed nest location along a path that ran parallel to the true homing vector, as if they had not been displaced. The results suggest that the ants home by dead reckoning, that is, they can measure directional changes and distances travelled during the outward trip, and integrate them into a mean home vector for direct homing depending on an external light-based reference system, that is, either the polarized skylight pattern or non-polarized lighting. Copyright 1998 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Copyright 1998 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

  17. Distance estimation in the third dimension in desert ants.

    PubMed

    Wohlgemuth, S; Ronacher, B; Wehner, R

    2002-05-01

    Desert ants of the genus Cataglyphis perform large-scale foraging excursions from which they return to their nest by path integration. They do so by integrating courses steered and the distances travelled into a continually updated home vector. While it is known that the angular orientation is based on skylight cues, it still is largely enigmatic how the ants measure distances travelled. We extended the ants' task into the third dimension by training them to walk within an array of uphill and downhill channels, and later testing them on flat terrain, or vice versa. In these tests the ants indicated homing distances that did not correspond to the distances actually travelled, but to the ground distances; that is, to the sum of the horizontal projections of the uphill and downhill segments of the ants' paths. These results suggest a much more sophisticated mechanism of distance estimation than hitherto thought. The ants must be able to measure the slopes of undulating terrain and to integrate this information into their "odometer" for the distance estimation process.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-01

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

  19. 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

  20. An invasive slug exploits an ant-seed dispersal mutualism.

    PubMed

    Meadley Dunphy, Shannon A; Prior, Kirsten M; Frederickson, Megan E

    2016-05-01

    Plant-animal mutualisms, such as seed dispersal, are often vulnerable to disruption by invasive species. Here, we show for the first time how a non-ant invasive species negatively affects seed dispersal by ants. We examined the effects of several animal species that co-occur in a temperate deciduous forest-including native and invasive seed-dispersing ants (Aphaenogaster rudis and Myrmica rubra, respectively), an invasive slug (Arion subfuscus), and native rodents-on a native myrmecochorous plant, Asarum canadense. We experimentally manipulated ant, slug, and rodent access to seed depots and measured seed removal. We also video-recorded depots to determine which other taxa interact with seeds. We found that A. rudis was the main disperser of seeds and that A. subfuscus consumed elaiosomes without dispersing seeds. Rodent visitation was rare, and rodent exclusion had no significant effect on seed or elaiosome removal. We then used data obtained from laboratory and field mesocosm experiments to determine how elaiosome robbing by A. subfuscus affects seed dispersal by A. rudis and M. rubra. We found that elaiosome robbing by slugs reduced seed dispersal by ants, especially in mesocosms with A. rudis, which picks up seeds more slowly than M. rubra. Taken together, our results show that elaiosome robbing by an invasive slug reduces seed dispersal by ants, suggesting that invasive slugs can have profound negative effects on seed dispersal mutualisms. PMID:26830293

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-04-01

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

  2. Catching ants with honey: an experimental test of distraction and satiation as alternative modes of escape from flower-damaging ants.

    PubMed

    Galen, Candace

    2005-06-01

    According to the distraction hypothesis, extrafloral nectaries (EFN) evolved under selection to entice ants away from floral nectaries, reducing ant-mediated damage to flowers and/or interference with pollinators. Predator-satiation, through production of nectar in either surplus flowers or EFN, provides an alternative mechanism for reducing the impact of ants as flower visitors. I tested these two hypotheses by experimentally adding EFN to flowering plants of the alpine wildflower, Polemonium viscosum, and by surveying the relationship between ant visitation and nectary number in nature. Plants of P. viscosum lack EFN and experience flower damage by ants of Formica neorufibarbus gelida. Ant behavior was compared on plants with five flowers and three experimental EFN and on controls with equal floral display, but no EFN. Addition of EFN increased flower visitation by ants. The effect of EFN on flower visitation did not depend on proximity of EFN to flowers or attractiveness of EFN to ants. Findings suggest that ants perceived patch quality on a whole plant basis, rather than responding to EFN and flowers as distinct nectar patches. Ant visitation did not keep pace with nectary number in nature. The relationship between ant visitation and nectary number per plant was weak and shallow as predicted under satiation. Ant foraging choices on experimental inflorescences showed that ants bypass flowers avoided by earlier ants, enhancing probability of escape via satiation. Results do not support the idea that EFN evolve to reduce flower visitation by ants, but show instead that nectar in surplus flowers can satiate ants and reduce their negative impacts on flower function and integrity.

  3. Climatic warming destabilizes forest ant communities

    PubMed Central

    Diamond, Sarah E.; Nichols, Lauren M.; Pelini, Shannon L.; Penick, Clint A.; Barber, Grace W.; Cahan, Sara Helms; Dunn, Robert R.; Ellison, Aaron M.; Sanders, Nathan J.; Gotelli, Nicholas J.

    2016-01-01

    How will ecological communities change in response to climate warming? Direct effects of temperature and indirect cascading effects of species interactions are already altering the structure of local communities, but the dynamics of community change are still poorly understood. We explore the cumulative effects of warming on the dynamics and turnover of forest ant communities that were warmed as part of a 5-year climate manipulation experiment at two sites in eastern North America. At the community level, warming consistently increased occupancy of nests and decreased extinction and nest abandonment. This consistency was largely driven by strong responses of a subset of thermophilic species at each site. As colonies of thermophilic species persisted in nests for longer periods of time under warmer temperatures, turnover was diminished, and species interactions were likely altered. We found that dynamical (Lyapunov) community stability decreased with warming both within and between sites. These results refute null expectations of simple temperature-driven increases in the activity and movement of thermophilic ectotherms. The reduction in stability under warming contrasts with the findings of previous studies that suggest resilience of species interactions to experimental and natural warming. In the face of warmer, no-analog climates, communities of the future may become increasingly fragile and unstable.

  4. Nasa's Ant-Inspired Swarmie Robots

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leucht, Kurt W.

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

  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. PMID:24022667

  10. Using ant-behavior-based simulation model AntWeb to improve website organization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Weigang; Pinheiro Dib, Marcos V.; Teles, Wesley M.; Morais de Andrade, Vlaudemir; Alves de Melo, Alba C. M.; Cariolano, Judas T.

    2002-03-01

    Some web usage mining algorithms showed the potential application to find the difference among the organizations expected by visitors to the website. However, there are still no efficient method and criterion for a web administrator to measure the performance of the modification. In this paper, we developed an AntWeb, a model inspired by ants' behavior to simulate the sequence of visiting the website, in order to measure the efficient of the web structure. We implemented a web usage mining algorithm using backtrack to the intranet website of the Politec Informatic Ltd., Brazil. We defined throughput (the number of visitors to reach their target pages per time unit relates to the total number of visitors) as an index to measure the website's performance. We also used the link in a web page to represent the effect of visitors' pheromone trails. For every modification in the website organization, for example, putting a link from the expected location to the target object, the simulation reported the value of throughput as a quick answer about this modification. The experiment showed the stability of our simulation model, and a positive modification to the intranet website of the Politec.

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

    PubMed

    Nowbahari, Elise

    2007-05-01

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

  12. 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.

  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. Why do house-hunting ants recruit in both directions?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Planqué, R.; Dechaume-Moncharmont, F.-X.; Franks, N. R.; Kovacs, T.; Marshall, J. A. R.

    2007-11-01

    To perform tasks, organisms often use multiple procedures. Explaining the breadth of such behavioural repertoires is not always straightforward. During house hunting, colonies of Temnothorax albipennis ants use a range of behaviours to organise their emigrations. In particular, the ants use tandem running to recruit naïve ants to potential nest sites. Initially, they use forward tandem runs (FTRs) in which one leader takes a single follower along the route from the old nest to the new one. Later, they use reverse tandem runs (RTRs) in the opposite direction. Tandem runs are used to teach active ants the route between the nests, so that they can be involved quickly in nest evaluation and subsequent recruitment. When a quorum of decision-makers at the new nest is reached, they switch to carrying nestmates. This is three times faster than tandem running. As a rule, having more FTRs early should thus mean faster emigrations, thereby reducing the colony’s vulnerability. So why do ants use RTRs, which are both slow and late? It would seem quicker and simpler for the ants to use more FTRs (and higher quorums) to have enough knowledgeable ants to do all the carrying. In this study, we present the first testable theoretical explanation for the role of RTRs. We set out to find the theoretically fastest emigration strategy for a set of emigration conditions. We conclude that RTRs can have a positive effect on emigration speed if FTRs are limited. In these cases, low quorums together with lots of reverse tandem running give the fastest emigration.

  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. Widespread Chemical Detoxification of Alkaloid Venom by Formicine Ants.

    PubMed

    LeBrun, Edward G; Diebold, Peter J; Orr, Matthew R; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2015-10-01

    The ability to detoxify defensive compounds of competitors provides key ecological advantages that can influence community-level processes. Although common in plants and bacteria, this type of detoxification interaction is extremely rare in animals. Here, using laboratory behavioral assays and analyses of videotaped interactions in South America, we report widespread venom detoxification among ants in the subfamily Formicinae. Across both data sets, nine formicine species, representing all major clades, used a stereotyped grooming behavior to self-apply formic acid (acidopore grooming) in response to fire ant (Solenopsis invicta and S. saevissima) venom exposure. In laboratory assays, this behavior increased the survivorship of species following exposure to S. invicta venom. Species expressed the behavior when exposed to additional alkaloid venoms, including both compositionally similar piperidine venom of an additional fire ant species and the pyrrolidine/pyrroline alkaloid venom of a Monomorium species. In addition, species expressed the behavior following exposure to the uncharacterized venom of a Crematogaster species. However, species did not express acidopore grooming when confronted with protein-based ant venoms or when exposed to monoterpenoid-based venom. This pattern, combined with the specific chemistry of the reaction of formic acid with venom alkaloids, indicates that alkaloid venoms are targets of detoxification grooming. Solenopsis thief ants, and Monomorium species stand out as brood-predators of formicine ants that produce piperidine, pyrrolidine, and pyrroline venom, providing an important ecological context for the use of detoxification behavior. Detoxification behavior also represents a mechanism that can influence the order of assemblage dominance hierarchies surrounding food competition. Thus, this behavior likely influences ant-assemblages through a variety of ecological pathways.

  17. A Systematic Review of Global Drivers of Ant Elevational Diversity.

    PubMed

    Szewczyk, Tim; McCain, Christy M

    2016-01-01

    Ant diversity shows a variety of patterns across elevational gradients, though the patterns and drivers have not been evaluated comprehensively. In this systematic review and reanalysis, we use published data on ant elevational diversity to detail the observed patterns and to test the predictions and interactions of four major diversity hypotheses: thermal energy, the mid-domain effect, area, and the elevational climate model. Of sixty-seven published datasets from the literature, only those with standardized, comprehensive sampling were used. Datasets included both local and regional ant diversity and spanned 80° in latitude across six biogeographical provinces. We used a combination of simulations, linear regressions, and non-parametric statistics to test multiple quantitative predictions of each hypothesis. We used an environmentally and geometrically constrained model as well as multiple regression to test their interactions. Ant diversity showed three distinct patterns across elevations: most common were hump-shaped mid-elevation peaks in diversity, followed by low-elevation plateaus and monotonic decreases in the number of ant species. The elevational climate model, which proposes that temperature and precipitation jointly drive diversity, and area were partially supported as independent drivers. Thermal energy and the mid-domain effect were not supported as primary drivers of ant diversity globally. The interaction models supported the influence of multiple drivers, though not a consistent set. In contrast to many vertebrate taxa, global ant elevational diversity patterns appear more complex, with the best environmental model contingent on precipitation levels. Differences in ecology and natural history among taxa may be crucial to the processes influencing broad-scale diversity patterns. PMID:27175999

  18. A Systematic Review of Global Drivers of Ant Elevational Diversity

    PubMed Central

    Szewczyk, Tim; McCain, Christy M.

    2016-01-01

    Ant diversity shows a variety of patterns across elevational gradients, though the patterns and drivers have not been evaluated comprehensively. In this systematic review and reanalysis, we use published data on ant elevational diversity to detail the observed patterns and to test the predictions and interactions of four major diversity hypotheses: thermal energy, the mid-domain effect, area, and the elevational climate model. Of sixty-seven published datasets from the literature, only those with standardized, comprehensive sampling were used. Datasets included both local and regional ant diversity and spanned 80° in latitude across six biogeographical provinces. We used a combination of simulations, linear regressions, and non-parametric statistics to test multiple quantitative predictions of each hypothesis. We used an environmentally and geometrically constrained model as well as multiple regression to test their interactions. Ant diversity showed three distinct patterns across elevations: most common were hump-shaped mid-elevation peaks in diversity, followed by low-elevation plateaus and monotonic decreases in the number of ant species. The elevational climate model, which proposes that temperature and precipitation jointly drive diversity, and area were partially supported as independent drivers. Thermal energy and the mid-domain effect were not supported as primary drivers of ant diversity globally. The interaction models supported the influence of multiple drivers, though not a consistent set. In contrast to many vertebrate taxa, global ant elevational diversity patterns appear more complex, with the best environmental model contingent on precipitation levels. Differences in ecology and natural history among taxa may be crucial to the processes influencing broad-scale diversity patterns. PMID:27175999

  19. Density-mediated, context-dependent consumer-resource interactions between ants and extrafloral nectar plants.

    PubMed

    Chamberlain, Scott A; Holland, J Nathaniel

    2008-05-01

    Interspecific interactions are often mediated by the interplay between resource supply and consumer density. The supply of a resource and a consumer's density response to it may in turn yield context-dependent use of other resources. Such consumer-resource interactions occur not only for predator-prey and competitive interactions, but for mutualistic ones as well. For example, consumer-resource interactions between ants and extrafloral nectar (EFN) plants are often mutualistic, as EFN resources attract and reward ants which protect plants from herbivory. Yet, ants also commonly exploit floral resources, leading to antagonistic consumer-resource interactions by disrupting pollination and plant reproduction. EFN resources associated with mutualistic ant-plant interactions may also mediate antagonistic ant-flower interactions through the aggregative density response of ants on plants, which could either exacerbate ant-flower interactions or alternatively satiate and distract ants from floral resources. In this study, we examined how EFN resources mediate the density response of ants on senita cacti in the Sonoran Desert and their context-dependent use of floral resources. Removal of EFN resources reduced the aggregative density of ants on plants, both on hourly and daily time scales. Yet, the increased aggregative ant density on plants with EFN resources decreased rather than increased ant use of floral resources, including contacts with and time spent in flowers. Behavioral assays showed no confounding effect of floral deterrents on ant-flower interactions. Thus, ant use of floral resources depends on the supply of EFN resources, which mediates the potential for both mutualistic and antagonistic interactions by increasing the aggregative density of ants protecting plants, while concurrently distracting ants from floral resources. Nevertheless, only certain years and populations of study showed an increase in plant reproduction through herbivore protection or ant

  20. Field trapping the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata.

    PubMed

    Derstine, Nathan T; Troyer, Elisa J; Suttles, Caitlyn N; Siderhurst, Leigh A; Jang, Eric B; Siderhurst, Matthew S

    2012-01-01

    Two detection methods for the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), both employing the pheromone attractant 2,5-dimethyl-3-(2-methylbutyl)pyrazine (2-MeBu-diMePy), were compared with peanut butter based detection, in order to evaluate differences in species specificity and detection reliability. Trapping was conducted using a transect through a macadamia orchard on the island of Hawaii. The transect consisted of a series of three-tree plots, each plot contained a peanut butter coated stick (the most common detection method used for W. auropunctata in Hawaii), a one-way trap treated with 2-MeBu-diMePy, and a piece of double-sided tape treated with 2-MeBu-diMePy. While there were no differences in the number of W. auropunctata counted with each detection method, and no differences in detection reliability (detecting the known presence of W. auropunctata in a plot), the pheromone-incorporating methods showed greater species specificity, retaining W. auropunctata almost exclusively. These results demonstrate the potential of pheromone-detection methods to selectively capture target ant species even when other ants are present and abundant. Combined data from all three detection methods and a previous visual survey along the transect showed a marked difference in the frequency of cohabitation among ant species. Of the 10 ant species collected, W. auropunctata was found as the sole ant species on a given tree at a significantly higher frequency than all other ant species except Pheidole fervens. 94% percent of the trees with W. auropunctata had only W. auropunctata, supporting previous observations that this species tends to displace other ant species. In addition, W. auropunctata microhabitat preferences were investigated using one-way traps containing 2-MeBu-diMePy, which were placed in three arboreal and three non-arboreal locations. While the number of ants captured did not differ by trap placement, when grouped, captures were

  1. Invasive ants disrupt frugivory by endemic island birds

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    Biological invasions can alter direct and indirect interactions between species, generating far-reaching changes in ecological networks that affect key ecological functions. We used model and real fruit assays to show that the invasion and formation of high-density supercolonies by the yellow crazy ant (YCA), Anoplolepis gracilipes, disrupt frugivory by endemic birds on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. The overall handling rates of model fruits by birds were 2.2–2.4-fold lower in ant-invaded than in uninvaded rainforest, and pecking rates by two bird species declined by 2.6- and 4.5-fold, respectively. YCAs directly interfered with frugivory; their experimental exclusion from fruiting displays increased fruit handling threefold to sixfold, compounding indirect effects of ant invasion on resources and habitat structure that influence bird abundances and behaviours. This invasive ant, whose high densities are sustained through mutualism with introduced scale insects, rapidly decreases fruit handling by endemic island birds and may erode a key ecological function, seed dispersal. Because most other invasive ant species form expansive, high-density supercolonies that depend in part on association with hemipteran mutualists, the effects that we report here on avian frugivore–plant associations may emerge across their introduced ranges. PMID:19755533

  2. New records of ant species from Yunnan, China.

    PubMed

    Liu, Cong; Guénard, Benoit; Garcia, Francisco Hita; Yamane, Seiki; Blanchard, Benjamin; Yang, Da-Rong; Economo, Evan

    2015-01-01

    As with many other regions of the world, significant collecting, curation, and taxonomic efforts will be needed to complete the inventory of China's ant fauna. This is especially true for the highly diverse tropical regions in the south of the country, where moist tropical forests harbor high species richness typical of the Southeast Asian region. We inventoried ants in the Xingshuangbanna prefecture, Yunnan, in June 2013, using a variety of methods including Winkler extraction and hand collection to sample ant diversity. We identified 213 species/morphospecies of ants from 10 subfamilies and 61 genera. After identification of 148 valid species of the 213 total species collected, 40 species represent new records for Yunnan province and 17 species are newly recorded for China. This increases the total number of named ant species in Yunnan and China to 447 and 951 respectively. The most common species collected were Brachyponeraluteipes and Vollenhoviaemeryi. Only one confirmed exotic species Strumigenysmembranifera, was collected, although several others were potentially introduced by humans. These results highlight the high biodiversity value of the region, but also underscore how much work remains to fully document the native myrmecofauna. PMID:25685004

  3. Stigmergic construction and topochemical information shape ant nest architecture.

    PubMed

    Khuong, Anaïs; Gautrais, Jacques; Perna, Andrea; Sbaï, Chaker; Combe, Maud; Kuntz, Pascale; Jost, Christian; Theraulaz, Guy

    2016-02-01

    The nests of social insects are not only impressive because of their sheer complexity but also because they are built from individuals whose work is not centrally coordinated. A key question is how groups of insects coordinate their building actions. Here, we use a combination of experimental and modeling approaches to investigate nest construction in the ant Lasius niger. We quantify the construction dynamics and the 3D structures built by ants. Then, we characterize individual behaviors and the interactions of ants with the structures they build. We show that two main interactions are involved in the coordination of building actions: (i) a stigmergic-based interaction that controls the amplification of depositions at some locations and is attributable to a pheromone added by ants to the building material; and (ii) a template-based interaction in which ants use their body size as a cue to control the height at which they start to build a roof from existing pillars. We then develop a 3D stochastic model based on these individual behaviors to analyze the effect of pheromone presence and strength on construction dynamics. We show that the model can quantitatively reproduce key features of construction dynamics, including a large-scale pattern of regularly spaced pillars, the formation and merging of caps over the pillars, and the remodeling of built structures. Finally, our model suggests that the lifetime of the pheromone is a highly influential parameter that controls the growth and form of nest architecture.

  4. Stigmergic construction and topochemical information shape ant nest architecture.

    PubMed

    Khuong, Anaïs; Gautrais, Jacques; Perna, Andrea; Sbaï, Chaker; Combe, Maud; Kuntz, Pascale; Jost, Christian; Theraulaz, Guy

    2016-02-01

    The nests of social insects are not only impressive because of their sheer complexity but also because they are built from individuals whose work is not centrally coordinated. A key question is how groups of insects coordinate their building actions. Here, we use a combination of experimental and modeling approaches to investigate nest construction in the ant Lasius niger. We quantify the construction dynamics and the 3D structures built by ants. Then, we characterize individual behaviors and the interactions of ants with the structures they build. We show that two main interactions are involved in the coordination of building actions: (i) a stigmergic-based interaction that controls the amplification of depositions at some locations and is attributable to a pheromone added by ants to the building material; and (ii) a template-based interaction in which ants use their body size as a cue to control the height at which they start to build a roof from existing pillars. We then develop a 3D stochastic model based on these individual behaviors to analyze the effect of pheromone presence and strength on construction dynamics. We show that the model can quantitatively reproduce key features of construction dynamics, including a large-scale pattern of regularly spaced pillars, the formation and merging of caps over the pillars, and the remodeling of built structures. Finally, our model suggests that the lifetime of the pheromone is a highly influential parameter that controls the growth and form of nest architecture. PMID:26787857

  5. New records of ant species from Yunnan, China

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Cong; Guénard, Benoit; Garcia, Francisco Hita; Yamane, Seiki; Blanchard, Benjamin; Yang, Da-Rong; Economo, Evan

    2015-01-01

    Abstract As with many other regions of the world, significant collecting, curation, and taxonomic efforts will be needed to complete the inventory of China’s ant fauna. This is especially true for the highly diverse tropical regions in the south of the country, where moist tropical forests harbor high species richness typical of the Southeast Asian region. We inventoried ants in the Xingshuangbanna prefecture, Yunnan, in June 2013, using a variety of methods including Winkler extraction and hand collection to sample ant diversity. We identified 213 species/morphospecies of ants from 10 subfamilies and 61 genera. After identification of 148 valid species of the 213 total species collected, 40 species represent new records for Yunnan province and 17 species are newly recorded for China. This increases the total number of named ant species in Yunnan and China to 447 and 951 respectively. The most common species collected were Brachyponera luteipes and Vollenhovia emeryi. Only one confirmed exotic species Strumigenys membranifera, was collected, although several others were potentially introduced by humans. These results highlight the high biodiversity value of the region, but also underscore how much work remains to fully document the native myrmecofauna. PMID:25685004

  6. An ancient tripartite symbiosis of plants, ants and scale insects.

    PubMed

    Ueda, Shouhei; Quek, Swee-Peck; Itioka, Takao; Inamori, Keita; Sato, Yumiko; Murase, Kaori; Itino, Takao

    2008-10-22

    In the Asian tropics, a conspicuous radiation of Macaranga plants is inhabited by obligately associated Crematogaster ants tending Coccus (Coccidae) scale insects, forming a tripartite symbiosis. Recent phylogenetic studies have shown that the plants and the ants have been codiversifying over the past 16-20 million years (Myr). The prevalence of coccoids in ant-plant mutualisms suggest that they play an important role in the evolution of ant-plant symbioses. To determine whether the scale insects were involved in the evolutionary origin of the mutualism between Macaranga and Crematogaster, we constructed a cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene phylogeny of the scale insects collected from myrmecophytic Macaranga and estimated their time of origin based on a COI molecular clock. The minimum age of the associated Coccus was estimated to be half that of the ants, at 7-9Myr, suggesting that they were latecomers in the evolutionary history of the symbiosis. Crematogaster mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages did not exhibit specificity towards Coccus mtDNA lineages, and the latter was not found to be specific towards Macaranga taxa, suggesting that patterns of associations in the scale insects are dictated by opportunity rather than by specialized adaptations to host plant traits.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Multi-trait mimicry of ants by a parasitoid wasp.

    PubMed

    Malcicka, Miriama; Bezemer, T Martijn; Visser, Bertanne; Bloemberg, Mark; Snart, Charles J P; Hardy, Ian C W; Harvey, Jeffrey A

    2015-01-27

    Many animals avoid attack from predators through toxicity or the emission of repellent chemicals. Defensive mimicry has evolved in many species to deceive shared predators, for instance through colouration and other morphological adaptations, but mimicry hardly ever seems to involve multi-trait similarities. Here we report on a wingless parasitoid wasp that exhibits a full spectrum of traits mimicing ants and affording protection against ground-dwelling predators (wolf spiders). In body size, morphology and movement Gelis agilis (Ichneumonidae) is highly similar to the black garden ant (Lasius niger) that shares the same habitat. When threatened, G. agilis also emits a volatile chemical that is similar to an ant-produced chemical that repels spiders. In bioassays with L. niger, G. agilis, G. areator, Cotesia glomerata and Drosophila melanogaster, ants and G. agilis were virtually immune to spider attack, in contrast the other species were not. Volatile characterisation with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry identified G. agilis emissions as 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, a known insect defence semiochemical that acts as an alarm pheromone in ants. We argue that multi-trait mimicry, as observed in G. agilis, might be much more common among animals than currently realized.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-05-01

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

  11. Trail geometry gives polarity to ant foraging networks.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Duncan E; Holcombe, Mike; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2004-12-16

    Pheromone trails are used by many ants to guide foragers between nest and food. But how does a forager that has become displaced from a trail know which way to go on rejoining the trail? A laden forager, for example, should walk towards the nest. Polarized trails would enable ants to choose the appropriate direction, thereby saving time and reducing predation risk. However, previous research has found no evidence that ants can detect polarity from the pheromone trail alone. Pharaoh's ants (Monomorium pharaonis) produce elaborate trail networks throughout their foraging environment. Here we show that by using information from the geometry of trail bifurcations within this network, foragers joining a trail can adaptively reorientate themselves if they initially walk in the wrong direction. The frequency of correct reorientations is maximized when the trail bifurcation angle is approximately 60 degrees, as found in natural networks. These are the first data to demonstrate how ant trails can themselves provide polarity information. They also demonstrate previously unsuspected sophistication in the organization and information content of networks in insect societies. PMID:15602563

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-11-01

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

  13. Stigmergic construction and topochemical information shape ant nest architecture

    PubMed Central

    Khuong, Anaïs; Gautrais, Jacques; Perna, Andrea; Sbaï, Chaker; Combe, Maud; Kuntz, Pascale; Jost, Christian; Theraulaz, Guy

    2016-01-01

    The nests of social insects are not only impressive because of their sheer complexity but also because they are built from individuals whose work is not centrally coordinated. A key question is how groups of insects coordinate their building actions. Here, we use a combination of experimental and modeling approaches to investigate nest construction in the ant Lasius niger. We quantify the construction dynamics and the 3D structures built by ants. Then, we characterize individual behaviors and the interactions of ants with the structures they build. We show that two main interactions are involved in the coordination of building actions: (i) a stigmergic-based interaction that controls the amplification of depositions at some locations and is attributable to a pheromone added by ants to the building material; and (ii) a template-based interaction in which ants use their body size as a cue to control the height at which they start to build a roof from existing pillars. We then develop a 3D stochastic model based on these individual behaviors to analyze the effect of pheromone presence and strength on construction dynamics. We show that the model can quantitatively reproduce key features of construction dynamics, including a large-scale pattern of regularly spaced pillars, the formation and merging of caps over the pillars, and the remodeling of built structures. Finally, our model suggests that the lifetime of the pheromone is a highly influential parameter that controls the growth and form of nest architecture. PMID:26787857

  14. Competition can lead to unexpected patterns in tropical ant communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ellwood, M. D. Farnon; Blüthgen, Nico; Fayle, Tom M.; Foster, William A.; Menzel, Florian

    2016-08-01

    Ecological communities are structured by competitive, predatory, mutualistic and parasitic interactions combined with chance events. Separating deterministic from stochastic processes is possible, but finding statistical evidence for specific biological interactions is challenging. We attempt to solve this problem for ant communities nesting in epiphytic bird's nest ferns (Asplenium nidus) in Borneo's lowland rainforest. By recording the frequencies with which each and every single ant species occurred together, we were able to test statistically for patterns associated with interspecific competition. We found evidence for competition, but the resulting co-occurrence pattern was the opposite of what we expected. Rather than detecting species segregation-the classical hallmark of competition-we found species aggregation. Moreover, our approach of testing individual pairwise interactions mostly revealed spatially positive rather than negative associations. Significant negative interactions were only detected among large ants, and among species of the subfamily Ponerinae. Remarkably, the results from this study, and from a corroborating analysis of ant communities known to be structured by competition, suggest that competition within the ants leads to species aggregation rather than segregation. We believe this unexpected result is linked with the displacement of species following asymmetric competition. We conclude that analysing co-occurrence frequencies across complete species assemblages, separately for each species, and for each unique pairwise combination of species, represents a subtle yet powerful way of detecting structure and compartmentalisation in ecological communities.

  15. Multi-trait mimicry of ants by a parasitoid wasp

    PubMed Central

    Malcicka, Miriama; Bezemer, T. Martijn; Visser, Bertanne; Bloemberg, Mark; Snart, Charles J. P.; Hardy, Ian C. W.; Harvey, Jeffrey A.

    2015-01-01

    Many animals avoid attack from predators through toxicity or the emission of repellent chemicals. Defensive mimicry has evolved in many species to deceive shared predators, for instance through colouration and other morphological adaptations, but mimicry hardly ever seems to involve multi-trait similarities. Here we report on a wingless parasitoid wasp that exhibits a full spectrum of traits mimicing ants and affording protection against ground-dwelling predators (wolf spiders). In body size, morphology and movement Gelis agilis (Ichneumonidae) is highly similar to the black garden ant (Lasius niger) that shares the same habitat. When threatened, G. agilis also emits a volatile chemical that is similar to an ant-produced chemical that repels spiders. In bioassays with L. niger, G. agilis, G. areator, Cotesia glomerata and Drosophila melanogaster, ants and G. agilis were virtually immune to spider attack, in contrast the other species were not. Volatile characterisation with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry identified G. agilis emissions as 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, a known insect defence semiochemical that acts as an alarm pheromone in ants. We argue that multi-trait mimicry, as observed in G. agilis, might be much more common among animals than currently realized. PMID:25622726

  16. Quantification of invertase activity in ants under field conditions.

    PubMed

    Heil, Martin; Büchler, Rita; Boland, Wilhelm

    2005-02-01

    Invertases (EC 3.2.1.26) are hydrolases that cleave sucrose into the monosacccharides, glucose, and fructose. They play a central role in carbohydrate metabolism of plants and animals. Methods presented so far to quantify invertase activity in ants or other animals have been hampered by the variability in both substrates and products of the enzymatic reaction in animals whose carbohydrate metabolism is highly active. Our method is based on a spectrophotometric quantification of the kinetics of glucose release. We first obtained an equilibrium state summarizing reactions of any carbohydrates and enzymes that are present in the extract. Sucrose was then added to quantify invertase activity as newly released glucose. Invertase activities differed significantly among species of ants. Variances were lowest among individuals from the same colony and highest among different species. When preparations were made from ants of the same species, invertase activity was linearly related to the number of ants used for extraction. Our method does not require ants to be kept on specific substrates prior to the experiment, or expensive or large equipment. It, thus, appears suitable for dealing with a broad range of physiological, ecological, and evolutionary questions.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-02-01

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

  18. Invasive ants disrupt frugivory by endemic island birds.

    PubMed

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

    2010-02-23

    Biological invasions can alter direct and indirect interactions between species, generating far-reaching changes in ecological networks that affect key ecological functions. We used model and real fruit assays to show that the invasion and formation of high-density supercolonies by the yellow crazy ant (YCA), Anoplolepis gracilipes, disrupt frugivory by endemic birds on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. The overall handling rates of model fruits by birds were 2.2-2.4-fold lower in ant-invaded than in uninvaded rainforest, and pecking rates by two bird species declined by 2.6- and 4.5-fold, respectively. YCAs directly interfered with frugivory; their experimental exclusion from fruiting displays increased fruit handling threefold to sixfold, compounding indirect effects of ant invasion on resources and habitat structure that influence bird abundances and behaviours. This invasive ant, whose high densities are sustained through mutualism with introduced scale insects, rapidly decreases fruit handling by endemic island birds and may erode a key ecological function, seed dispersal. Because most other invasive ant species form expansive, high-density supercolonies that depend in part on association with hemipteran mutualists, the effects that we report here on avian frugivore-plant associations may emerge across their introduced ranges.

  19. 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.

  20. Multiple Ant Species Tending Lac Insect Kerria yunnanensis (Hemiptera: Kerriidae) Provide Asymmetric Protection against Parasitoids

    PubMed Central

    Li, Qiao; Hoffmann, Benjamin D.; Zhang, Wei

    2014-01-01

    This study investigated the effects of ant attendance on the parasitoid community and parasitism of lac insect Kerria yunnanensis aggregations in Yunnan province, China. We manipulated ant attendance to establish three treatments: (1) ant exclusion; (2) low ant attendance by several ant species; and (3) high ant attendance by Crematogaster macaoensis. Five parasitoid species were collected, with two species contributing 82.7 and 13.2% of total abundance respectively. Total parasitoid abundance was lowest in the February sample when K. yunnanensis was in its younger life stage, being significantly lower in the ant exclusion treatment. In April, all three treatments had significantly different parasitoid abundances, being highest in the ant exclusion treatment and the lowest in the high ant attendance treatment. When ants were present, there were strong negative relationships between total parasitoid abundance and ant abundance, with the relationships being dependent upon the ant species composition and abundance. The patterns of total parasitoid abundance were driven by the two most abundant parasitoid species. Parasitoid species richness did not differ among treatments or between sample times, however, multivariate analysis confirmed that overall parasitoid community structure differed significantly among treatments and between sample times, with the high ant attendance treatment differing most from the other two treatments. Interestingly the absence of ants did not result in increased parasitism from four of the five parasitoids. Ants in lac insect farming systems have a clear role for agricultural pest management. A full understanding of the asymmetric abilities of ants to influence parasitoid communities, and affect parasitism of hosts will require further experimental manipulation to assess the relative roles of 1) the abundance of each individual ant species on parasitoid access to hosts, 2) competition among parasitoids, and 3) the interaction between the