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Sample records for ant workers food

  1. Food Service Worker.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barker, Ellen; And Others

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Corbara, Bruno

    2014-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Sendova-Franks, Ana B; Van Lent, Jan

    2002-07-21

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

  7. Worker senescence and the sociobiology of aging in ants

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Isbell, Lynne A; Young, Truman P

    2007-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Pie, Marcio R; Tschá, Marcel K

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Tschá, Marcel K.

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kaspari, Michael

    2005-04-05

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  15. Ant workers exhibit specialization and memory during raft formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avril, Amaury; Purcell, Jessica; Chapuisat, Michel

    2016-06-01

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

  16. Global network structure of dominance hierarchy of ant workers.

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-06

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

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

    PubMed

    Avril, Amaury; Purcell, Jessica; Chapuisat, Michel

    2016-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

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

  19. Worker caste determination in the army ant Eciton burchellii.

    PubMed

    Jaffé, Rodolfo; Kronauer, Daniel J C; Kraus, F Bernhard; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Moritz, Robin F A

    2007-10-22

    Elaborate division of labour has contributed significantly to the ecological success of social insects. Division of labour is achieved either by behavioural task specialization or by morphological specialization of colony members. In physical caste systems, the diet and rearing environment of developing larvae is known to determine the phenotype of adult individuals, but recent studies have shown that genetic components also contribute to the determination of worker caste. One of the most extreme cases of worker caste differentiation occurs in the army ant genus Eciton, where queens mate with many males and colonies are therefore composed of numerous full-sister subfamilies. This high intracolonial genetic diversity, in combination with the extreme caste polymorphism, provides an excellent test system for studying the extent to which caste determination is genetically controlled. Here we show that genetic effects contribute significantly to worker caste fate in Eciton burchellii. We conclude that the combination of polyandry and genetic variation for caste determination may have facilitated the evolution of worker caste diversity in some lineages of social insects.

  20. Fitness costs of worker specialization for ant societies.

    PubMed

    Jongepier, Evelien; Foitzik, Susanne

    2016-01-13

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

  1. Fitness costs of worker specialization for ant societies

    PubMed Central

    Jongepier, Evelien; Foitzik, Susanne

    2016-01-01

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

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Sanders, Dirk; Platner, Christian

    2007-01-01

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

  7. Allometry of Workers of the Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.; Mikheyev, Alexander S.; Storz, Shonna R.

    2003-01-01

    The relationship between worker body size and the shape of their body parts was explored in the polymorphic ant, Solenopsis invicta. The data consisted of 20 measurements of body parts as well as sums of some of these measurements. Size-free shape variables were created by taking the ratios of relevant measures. After log-transformation, these ratios were regressed against the logarithm of total body length, or against the log of the size of the parent part. Slopes of zero indicated that shape did not change with size, and non-zero slopes signaled a size-related change of shape. Across the range of worker sizes, the head length retained a constant proportion to body length, but relative headwidth increased such that head shape changed from a barrel-profile to a somewhat heart-shaped profile. Antennae became relatively smaller, with the club contributing more to this decline than the other parts. The alinotum became relatively shorter and higher (more humped), and the gaster increased in both relative width and length, and therefore in volume. All three pairs of legs were isometric to body length. The component parts of the legs, with one exception, were isometric to their own total leg length. The body of S. invicta is therefore dominated by mostly modest allometries, giving large workers a somewhat different shape than small ones. None of these size-shape relationships was different for different colonies. The functional meaning of these shape changes is unknown, but that does not stop us from speculating. Abbreviation: HL head length BL body length HW1 width across the eyes HW2 width above the eyes HW3 width below the eyes PMID:15841219

  8. 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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Robinson, Elva J.H.

    2016-01-01

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

  11. Food Service Worker. Supplemental Individualized Student Modules.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hasty, Liswa E.; Bridwell, Terry B.

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

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

    PubMed

    Provecho, Yael; Josens, Roxana

    2009-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-10-07

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

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

    PubMed

    Tsuneoka, Yousuke

    2014-07-01

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

  15. Small queens and big-headed workers in a monomorphic ponerine ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kikuchi, Tomonori; Miyazaki, Satoshi; Ohnishi, Hitoshi; Takahashi, Junichi; Nakajima, Yumiko; Tsuji, Kazuki

    2008-10-01

    Evolution of caste is a central issue in the biology of social insects. Comparative studies on their morphology so far suggest the following three patterns: (1) a positive correlation between queen worker size dimorphism and the divergence in reproductive ability between castes, (2) a negative correlation among workers between morphological diversity and reproductive ability, and (3) a positive correlation between queen worker body shape difference and the diversity in worker morphology. We conducted morphological comparisons between castes in Pachycondyla luteipes, workers of which are monomorphic and lack their reproductive ability. Although the size distribution broadly overlapped, mean head width, head length, and scape length were significantly different between queens and workers. Conversely, in eye length, petiole width, and Weber’s length, the size differences were reversed. The allometries (head length/head width, scape length/head width, and Weber’s length/head width) were also significantly different between queens and workers. Morphological examinations showed that the body shape was different between queens and workers, and the head part of workers was disproportionately larger than that of queens. This pattern of queen worker dimorphism is novel in ants with monomorphic workers and a clear exception to the last pattern. This study suggests that it is possible that the loss of individual-level selection, the lack of reproductive ability, influences morphological modification in ants.

  16. Being a Food Service Worker; Student Manual.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hospital Research and Educational Trust, Chicago, IL.

    Instructional materials for student use in training or retraining for the occupation of food service worker at the vocational high school or community college level were developed by professional consultants. They were tested in a nationwide on-the-job training program and revised according to instructor evaluation and consultant suggestions. A…

  17. Training the Food Service Worker; Instructor's Guide.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hospital Research and Educational Trust, Chicago, IL.

    Curriculum materials for instructor use in planning lessons to train or retrain food service workers at the vocational high school or community college level were developed by professional consultants. They were tested in a nation-wide on-the-job training program and revised according to instructor evaluation and consultant suggestions. A minimum…

  18. Fast food in ant communities: how competing species find resources.

    PubMed

    Pearce-Duvet, Jessica M C; Moyano, Martin; Adler, Frederick R; Feener, Donald H

    2011-09-01

    An understanding of foraging behavior is crucial to understanding higher level community dynamics; in particular, there is a lack of information about how different species discover food resources. We examined the effect of forager number and forager discovery capacity on food discovery in two disparate temperate ant communities, located in Texas and Arizona. We defined forager discovery capacity as the per capita rate of resource discovery, or how quickly individual ants arrived at resources. In general, resources were discovered more quickly when more foragers were present; this was true both within communities, where species identity was ignored, as well as within species. This pattern suggests that resource discovery is a matter of random processes, with ants essentially bumping into resources at a rate mediated by their abundance. In contrast, species that were better discoverers, as defined by the proportion of resources discovered first, did not have higher numbers of mean foragers. Instead, both mean forager number and mean forager discovery capacity determined discovery success. The Texas species used both forager number and capacity, whereas the Arizona species used only forager capacity. There was a negative correlation between a species' prevalence in the environment and the discovery capacity of its foragers, suggesting that a given species cannot exploit both high numbers and high discovery capacity as a strategy. These results highlight that while forager number is crucial to determining time to discovery at the community level and within species, individual forager characteristics influence the outcome of exploitative competition in ant communities.

  19. Desert ants locate food by combining high sensitivity to food odors with extensive crosswind runs.

    PubMed

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

    2014-05-05

    Desert ants feeding on dead arthropods forage for food items that are distributed unpredictably in space and time in the food-scarce terrain of the Saharan salt pans [1]. Scavengers of the genus Cataglyphis forage individually and do not lay pheromone trails [2]. They rely primarily on path integration [3] for navigation and, in addition, use visual [4] and olfactory cues [5-7]. While most studies have focused on the navigational mechanisms of ants targeting a familiar place like the nest or a learned feeding site, little is known about how ants locate food in their natural environment. Here we show that Cataglyphis fortis is highly sensitive to and attracted by food odors, especially the necromone linoleic acid, enabling them to locate tiny arthropods over several meters in distance. Furthermore, during the search for food, ants use extensive crosswind walks that increase the chances of localizing food plumes. By combining high sensitivity toward food odors with crosswind runs, the ants efficiently screen the desert for food and hence reduce the time spent foraging in their harsh desert environment.

  20. Determination of the cost of worker reproduction via diminished life span in the ant Diacamma sp.

    PubMed

    Tsuji, Kazuki; Kikuta, Noritsugu; Kikuchi, Tomonori

    2012-05-01

    Workers of social Hymenoptera can usually produce male offspring, but rarely do so in the presence of a queen despite the potential individual fitness benefit. Various mechanisms have been hypothesized to regulate worker reproduction, including avoiding the colony-level cost of worker reproduction. However, firm quantitative evidence is lacking to support that hypothesis. Here, we accurately quantified this cost by studying an ant species (Diacamma sp.) in which worker reproduction is rare in the presence of the gamergate (the functional queen). A series of experiments to manipulate worker-gamergate contact revealed that short-term brood-production efficiency is not changed by the presence of worker reproduction. However, when workers reproduce, their average life span is reduced to between 74% and 88% of that in the absence of reproduction, indicating a long-term cost to the colony. In theory, this cost can explain the policing of worker reproduction under a queen-single mating system, but the cost does not appear to be high enough to stop worker reproduction. When contact with the gamergate is lost, it is only the nonreproductive workers whose life span was reduced; the reproductive workers lived as long as nonorphaned workers. We suggest that an increased workload can account for the reduction in life span better than a trade-off between reproduction and longevity.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-12-01

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

  2. Survival of Atta sexdens workers on different food sources.

    PubMed

    Silva, Aline; Bacci, Maurício; Gomes de Siqueira, Célia; Correa Bueno, Odair; Pagnocca, Fernando Carlos; Aparecida Hebling, Maria José

    2003-04-01

    Leaf-cutting ants belonging to the tribe Attini are major herbivores and important agriculture pests in the neotropics, these ants being thought to feed on the sap which exudes from the plant material which they cut and also on the mycelium of a symbiotic fungus that grows on plant material inside their nests in what is called "the fungus garden". However, we have found that the survival of Atta sexdens worker ants on leaves, on mycelium of the ants' symbiotic fungus, Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, or on plant polysaccharides was the same as that of starved A. sexdens, while, conversely, significantly longer survival was achieved by ants fed on the fungus garden material or on some of the products (especially glucose) of the hydrolysis of plant polysaccharides. We found that the fungus garden contained glucose at a higher concentration than that found in leaves or fungal mycelium, and that this glucose was consumed by the ant to the extent that it was probably responsible for up to 50% of the nutritional needs of the workers. The fungus garden contained polysaccharide degrading enzymes (pectinase, amylase, xylanase and cellulase) in proportions similar to that observed in laboratory cultures of L. gongylophorus. It thus appears that A. sexdens workers obtain a significant part of their nutrients from plant polysaccharide hydrolysis products produced by the action of extracellular enzymes released by L. gongylophorus. In this paper we discuss the symbiotic nutrition strategy of A. sexdens workers and brood and the role played by plant polysaccharides in the nutrition of attine ants.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-11-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-11-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Wolf, Harald; Wittlinger, Matthias; Bolek, Siegfried

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Holman, Luke; Trontti, Kalevi; Helanterä, Heikki

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Holman, Luke; Trontti, Kalevi; Helanterä, Heikki

    2016-01-01

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

  9. Foraging energetics of a nectar-feeding ant: metabolic expenditure as a function of food-source profitability.

    PubMed

    Schilman, Pablo E; Roces, Flavio

    2006-10-01

    We examined the quantitative relationship between the energetic costs and benefits of nectar collection by nectar-feeding ants, Camponotus rufipes. In the laboratory, individual workers were trained to visit an artificial feeder that provided a sucrose solution of 1%, 5%, 10%, 30% or 50% at controlled flows, in a similar span range to those observed in natural nectar sources. We measured foraging times, nectar loads collected, and CO(2) production during actual feeding, as an indication of the energy expenditure for a single forager. Results show an increase in individual metabolic rates with increasing flow rate of sugar solution, but no dependence on sucrose concentration. This increase in metabolic expenditure does not depend on the crop load attained while feeding, as intuitively expected, and is therefore a result of an increased activity brought about by the food-source profitability experienced by the forager. The energy gained during collection of sugar solution is always higher than the energy spent by the ant. Even with a food source of lower quality than a natural source, the ants gain ca. tenfold of what they spend. Based on a simplified model, we calculated that foragers of C. rufipes could travel from 0.5 to 9 km with the energy gained in a single foraging trip only. These results suggest that decreasing foraging time is more important than increasing individual energetic efficiency when workers of the nectar-feeding ant C. rufipes decide to stop drinking and return to the nest with partial crop loads.

  10. Higher expression of somatic repair genes in long-lived ant queens than workers

    PubMed Central

    Lucas, Eric R.; Privman, Eyal; Keller, Laurent

    2016-01-01

    Understanding why organisms senesce is a fundamental question in biology. One common explanation is that senescence results from an increase in macromolecular damage with age. The tremendous variation in lifespan between genetically identical queen and worker ants, ranging over an order of magnitude, provides a unique system to study how investment into processes of somatic maintenance and macromolecular repair influence lifespan. Here we use RNAseq to compare patterns of expression of genes involved in DNA and protein repair of age-matched queens and workers. There was no difference between queens and workers in 1-day-old individuals, but the level of expression of these genes increased with age and this up-regulation was greater in queens than in workers, resulting in significantly queen-biased expression in 2-month-old individuals in both legs and brains. Overall, these differences are consistent with the hypothesis that higher longevity is associated with increased investment into somatic repair. PMID:27617474

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2007-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Dussutour, A.; Simpson, S. J.

    2012-01-01

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

  14. Restaurant manager and worker food safety certification and knowledge.

    PubMed

    Brown, Laura G; Le, Brenda; Wong, Melissa R; Reimann, David; Nicholas, David; Faw, Brenda; Davis, Ernestine; Selman, Carol A

    2014-11-01

    Over half of foodborne illness outbreaks occur in restaurants. To combat these outbreaks, many public health agencies require food safety certification for restaurant managers, and sometimes workers. Certification entails passing a food safety knowledge examination, which is typically preceded by food safety training. Current certification efforts are based on the assumption that certification leads to greater food safety knowledge. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted this study to examine the relationship between food safety knowledge and certification. We also examined the relationships between food safety knowledge and restaurant, manager, and worker characteristics. We interviewed managers (N=387) and workers (N=365) about their characteristics and assessed their food safety knowledge. Analyses showed that certified managers and workers had greater food safety knowledge than noncertified managers and workers. Additionally, managers and workers whose primary language was English had greater food safety knowledge than those whose primary language was not English. Other factors associated with greater food safety knowledge included working in a chain restaurant, working in a larger restaurant, having more experience, and having more duties. These findings indicate that certification improves food safety knowledge, and that complex relationships exist among restaurant, manager, and worker characteristics and food safety knowledge.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  17. Cryptic lineages hybridize for worker production in the harvester ant Messor barbarus

    PubMed Central

    Darras, Hugo; Aron, Serge

    2016-01-01

    The reproductive division of labour between queen and worker castes in social insects is a defining characteristic of eusociality and a classic example of phenotypic plasticity. Whether social insect larvae develop into queens or workers has long been thought to be determined by environmental cues, i.e. larvae are developmentally totipotent. Contrary to this paradigm, several recent studies have revealed that caste is determined by genotype in some ant species, but whether this is restricted to just a few exceptional species is still unclear. Here, we show that the Mediterranean harvester ant Messor barbarus possesses an unusual reproductive system, in which the female castes are genetically determined. Using both nuclear and mitochondrial data, we show that Iberian populations have two distinct, cryptic lineages. Workers are always inter-lineage hybrids whereas queens are always produced from pure-lineage matings. The results suggest that genetic caste determination may be more widespread in ants than previously thought, and that further investigation in other species is needed to understand the frequency and evolution of this remarkable reproductive system. PMID:27852941

  18. Division of labour influences the rate of ageing in weaver ant workers.

    PubMed Central

    Chapuisat, Michel; Keller, Laurent

    2002-01-01

    The evolutionary theory of ageing predicts that the timing of senescence has been primarily shaped by the extrinsic mortality rate, which causes selection intensity to decline over time. One difficulty in testing the evolutionary theory of ageing is that extrinsic mortality risk is often confounded with body size and fecundity, which may also directly affect lifespan. Social insects with a pronounced division of labour between worker castes provide a unique opportunity to study the direct effect of extrinsic mortality on the evolution of ageing rates independently of body size, reproductive effort and genetic configuration. In the weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina, the major (large) workers perform the risky tasks outside the nest, while the minor (small) workers stay within the highly protected arboreal nest. Hence, this pronounced division of labour is associated with high differences in extrinsic mortality risks. The evolutionary theory of ageing predicts that the minor workers should have a longer intrinsic lifespan than the major workers. In line with this prediction, we found that in a protected environment the minor workers lived significantly longer than the major workers did. Hence, the ageing rate appears to have been moulded by variation in the extrinsic mortality rate independently of size, reproductive effort and genetic configuration. PMID:12028773

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

    PubMed Central

    Molet, Mathieu; Maicher, Vincent; Peeters, Christian

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-05-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leclerc, Jean-Baptiste; Detrain, Claire

    2016-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Bolek, Siegfried; Wittlinger, Matthias; Wolf, Harald

    2012-09-15

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barndt, Deborah

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barker, Ellen; And Others

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

  6. Extreme genetic differences between queens and workers in hybridizing Pogonomyrmex harvester ants.

    PubMed Central

    Helms Cahan, Sara; Parker, Joel D; Rissing, Steven W; Johnson, Robert A; Polony, Tatjana S; Weiser, Michael D; Smith, Deborah R

    2002-01-01

    The process of reproductive caste determination in eusocial insect colonies is generally understood to be mediated by environmental, rather than genetic factors. We present data demonstrating unexpected genetic differences between reproductive castes in a variant of the rough harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex rugosus var. fuscatus. Across multiple loci, queens were consistently more homozygous than expected, while workers were more heterozygous. Adult colony queens were divided into two highly divergent genetic groups, indicating the presence of two cryptic species, rather than a single population. The observed genetic differences between castes reflect differential representation of heterospecific and conspecific patrilines in these offspring groups. All workers were hybrids; by contrast, winged queens were nearly all pure-species. The complete lack of pure-species workers indicates a loss of worker potential in pure-species female offspring. Hybrids appear to be bipotential, but do not normally develop into reproductives because they are displaced by pure-species females in the reproductive pool. Genetic differences between reproductive castes are expected to be rare in non-hybridizing populations, but within hybrid zones they may be evolutionarily stable and thus much more likely to occur. PMID:12350248

  7. Listening to food workers: Factors that impact proper health and hygiene practice in food service

    PubMed Central

    Clegg Smith, Katherine; Neff, Roni A.; Pollack, Keshia M.; Ensminger, Margaret

    2015-01-01

    Background Foodborne disease is a significant problem worldwide. Research exploring sources of outbreaks indicates a pronounced role for food workers' improper health and hygiene practice. Objective To investigate food workers' perceptions of factors that impact proper food safety practice. Method Interviews with food service workers in Baltimore, MD, USA discussing food safety practices and factors that impact implementation in the workplace. A social ecological model organizes multiple levels of influence on health and hygiene behavior. Results Issues raised by interviewees include factors across the five levels of the social ecological model, and confirm findings from previous work. Interviews also reveal many factors not highlighted in prior work, including issues with food service policies and procedures, working conditions (e.g., pay and benefits), community resources, and state and federal policies. Conclusion Food safety interventions should adopt an ecological orientation that accounts for factors at multiple levels, including workers' social and structural context, that impact food safety practice. PMID:26243248

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

    PubMed Central

    Nyamukondiwa, Casper; Addison, Pia

    2014-01-01

    Control of ants using baits of low toxicity cannot be effective without knowledge of bait distribution patterns and bait station densities, which are determined by ants' foraging activities. Furthermore, the success of toxic baits also depends upon attractiveness of bait carriers. Here, we assessed ground and vine foraging activity and food preferences for the three ant species (Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), Anoplolepis custodiens (F. Smith) and Crematogaster peringueyi Emery) under field conditions. We found that L. humile's vineyard foraging activity was high and that movement of ant bait by C. peringueyi and A. custodiens in the vineyard was relatively low. Consequently, more bait stations need to be dispensed for more effective control of C. peringueyi and A. custodiens than for L. humile. Different bait densities are discussed for the various ant species. Food preference trials indicated that vineyard foraging ants preferred wet bait attractants over dry ones, making liquids the most ideal carriers for baiting these ants. Linepithema humile was attracted to 25% sugar water, while C. peringueyi was attracted to both 25% sugar water and honey. Anoplolepis custodiens was attracted to tuna but was also attracted to 25% sugar water. Thus, future bait formulations should be tailor made to suit these specific food requirements if baits are to be successful in ant pest management. PMID:25373195

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

    PubMed

    Nyamukondiwa, Casper; Addison, Pia

    2014-04-10

    Control of ants using baits of low toxicity cannot be effective without knowledge of bait distribution patterns and bait station densities, which are determined by ants' foraging activities. Furthermore, the success of toxic baits also depends upon attractiveness of bait carriers. Here, we assessed ground and vine foraging activity and food preferences for the three ant species ( Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), Anoplolepis custodiens (F. Smith) and Crematogaster peringueyi Emery) under field conditions. We found that L. humile's vineyard foraging activity was high and that movement of ant bait by C. peringueyi and A. custodiens in the vineyard was relatively low. Consequently, more bait stations need to be dispensed for more effective control of C. peringueyi and A. custodiens than for L. humile. Different bait densities are discussed for the various ant species. Food preference trials indicated that vineyard foraging ants preferred wet bait attractants over dry ones, making liquids the most ideal carriers for baiting these ants. Linepithema humile was attracted to 25% sugar water, while C. peringueyi was attracted to both 25% sugar water and honey. Anoplolepis custodiens was attracted to tuna but was also attracted to 25% sugar water. Thus, future bait formulations should be tailor made to suit these specific food requirements if baits are to be successful in ant pest management.

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

    PubMed Central

    Cammaerts, Marie-Claire

    2014-01-01

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

  11. On the morphology of the worker immatures of the leafcutter ant Atta sexdens Linnaeus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Solis, Daniel Russ; Fox, Eduardo Gonçalves Paterson; Ceccato, Marcela; Reiss, Itamar Cristina; Décio, Pâmela; Lorenzon, Natalia; Da Silva, Natiele Gonçalves; Bueno, Odair Correa

    2012-08-01

    Leafcutter ants of the genus Atta Fabricius are serious agricultural pests. Morphological studies of immature stages within this group are few, and the data provided for species of considerable importance are usually incomplete. In this study, the immatures of Atta sexdens Linnaeus are described and compared using light and scanning electron microscopy. Only specimens from founding stage colonies (i.e., lacking adult workers) were used. The existence of four larval instars was estimated by a frequency plot of maximum head widths, and the larvae of different instars differed from each other mainly by their bodily dimensions. Worker larvae belonged to two distinct morphological castes: (1) gardeners and nurses and (2) within-nest generalists. The worker larvae described in this study differed from a previous description of the same species by the following traits: the existence of a genal lobe, the number of clypeal hairs, the presence of two hairs on the ninth abdominal somite, the presence of hairs on the anterior surface of the labrum, and the shape of the maxillary palpus. This study provides a comparative analysis of immature stages of A. sexdens that may be relevant to future morphological and biological studies of the Attini.

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

    PubMed Central

    Greenwald, Efrat; Segre, Enrico; Feinerman, Ofer

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greenwald, Efrat; Segre, Enrico; Feinerman, Ofer

    2015-07-01

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

  14. Food worker hand washing practices: an observation study.

    PubMed

    Green, Laura R; Selman, Carol A; Radke, Vincent; Ripley, Danny; Mack, James C; Reimann, David W; Stigger, Tammi; Motsinger, Michelle; Bushnell, Lisa

    2006-10-01

    Improvement of food worker hand washing practices is critical to the reduction of foodborne illness and is dependent upon a clear understanding of current hand washing practices. To that end, this study collected detailed observational data on food worker hand washing practices. Food workers (n = 321) were observed preparing food, and data were recorded on specific work activities for which hand washing is recommended (e.g., food preparation, handling dirty equipment). Data were also recorded on hand washing behaviors that occurred in conjunction with these work activities. Results indicated that workers engaged in approximately 8.6 work activities per hour for which hand washing is recommended. However, workers made hand washing attempts (i.e., removed gloves, if worn, and placed hands in running water) in only 32% of these activities and washed their hands appropriately (i.e., removed gloves, if worn, placed hands in running water, used soap, and dried hands) in only 27% of these work activities. Attempted and appropriate hand washing rates varied by work activity--they were significantly higher in conjunction with food preparation than other work activities (46 versus < or = 37% for attempted hand washing; 41 versus < or = 30% for appropriate hand washing) and were significantly lower in conjunction with touching the body than other work activities (13 versus > or = 27% for attempted hand washing; 10 versus > or = 23% for appropriate hand washing). Attempted and appropriate hand washing rates were significantly lower when gloves were worn (18 and 16%) than when gloves were not worn (37 and 30%). These findings suggest that the hand washing practices of food workers need to be improved, glove use may reduce hand washing, and restaurants should consider reorganizing their food preparation activities to reduce the frequency with which hand washing is needed.

  15. Hand washing compliance among retail food establishment workers in Minnesota.

    PubMed

    Allwood, Paul B; Jenkins, Timothy; Paulus, Colleen; Johnson, Lars; Hedberg, Craig W

    2004-12-01

    Inadequate hand washing by food workers is an important contributing factor to foodborne disease outbreaks in retail food establishments (RFEs). We conducted a survey of RFEs to investigate the effect of hand washing training, availability of hand washing facilities, and the ability of the person in charge (PIC) to describe hand washing according to the Minnesota Food Code (food code) on workers' ability to demonstrate food code-compliant hand washing. Only 52% of the PICs could describe the hand washing procedure outlined in the food code, and only 48% of workers could demonstrate code-compliant hand washing. The most common problems observed were failure to wash for 20 s and failure to use a fingernail brush. There was a strong positive association between the PIC being a certified food manager and being able to describe the food code hand washing procedure (odds ratio [OR], 5.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.2 to 13.7), and there was an even stronger association between the PIC being able to describe hand washing and workers being able to demonstrate code-compliant hand washing (OR, 15; 95% CI, 6 to 37). Significant associations were detected among correct hand washing demonstration, physical infrastructure for hand washing, and the hand washing training methods used by the establishment. However, the principal determinant of successful hand washing demonstration was the PIC's ability to describe proper hand washing procedure. These results suggest that improving hand washing practices among food workers will require interventions that address PIC knowledge of hand washing requirement and procedure and the development and implementation of effective hand washing training methods.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-07

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Linksvayer, Timothy A.

    2007-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

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

  4. Mathematical model for path selection by ants between nest and food source.

    PubMed

    Bodnar, Marek; Okińczyc, Natalia; Vela-Pérez, M

    2017-03-01

    Several models have been proposed to describe the behavior of ants when moving from nest to food sources. Most of these studies where based on numerical simulations with no mathematical justification. In this paper, we propose a mechanism for the formation of paths of minimal length between two points by a collection of individuals undergoing reinforced random walks taking into account not only the lengths of the paths but also the angles (connected to the preference of ants to move along straight lines). Our model involves reinforcement (pheromone accumulation), persistence (tendency to preferably follow straight directions in absence of any external effect) and takes into account the bifurcation angles of each edge (represented by a probability of willingness of choosing the path with the smallest angle). We describe analytically the results for 2 ants and different path lengths and numerical simulations for several ants.

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

    PubMed

    Bolek, Siegfried; Wolf, Harald

    2015-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

  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. Occupational exposure to Aspergillus and aflatoxins among food-grain workers in India

    PubMed Central

    Malik, Abida; Ali, Sana; Shahid, Mohd; Bhargava, Rakesh

    2014-01-01

    Background: Aflatoxins are a metabolite of Aspergillus molds and are widespread in the natural environment. Workers who handle food grains are at increased risk of exposure to aflatoxins and subsequently certain respiratory conditions. In India, more than half of the employed population is engaged in some type of agricultural work, yet little known about the respiratory problems as a result of exposure to aflatoxins among workers who handle food grains in India. Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the risk of occupational exposure to aflatoxins in food-grain workers compared to workers who are not occupationally exposed to food grains. Methods: Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and serum samples from 46 food-grain workers and 44 non-food-grain workers were analyzed for the presence of aflatoxins. Microscopy and culture of BAL samples were performed to detect Aspergillus species. Results: Aflatoxins were detected in 32.6% of the food-grain workers and 9.1% of non food grain workers (P<0.01). A significant difference was also found in BAL culture for Aspergillus (P<0.01) between the two groups. About 47.8% of the food-grain workers and 11.4% of non-food-grain workers had chronic respiratory symptoms. Conclusion: Occupational exposure to aflatoxins in food-grain workers was found to be associated with the increased presence of respiratory symptoms. PMID:25000106

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-08-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2012-01-01

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

  12. Growth and patterning are evolutionarily dissociated in the vestigial wing discs of workers of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Bowsher, Julia H; Wray, Gregory A; Abouheif, Ehab

    2007-12-15

    Over the last decade, it has become clear that organismal form is largely determined by developmental and evolutionary changes in the growth and pattern formation of tissues. Yet, there is little known about how these two integrated processes respond to environmental cues or how they evolve relative to one another. Here, we present the discovery of vestigial wing imaginal discs in worker larvae of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. These vestigial wing discs are present in all worker larvae, which is uncommon for a species with a large worker size distribution. Furthermore, the growth trajectory of these vestigial discs is distinct from all of the ant species examined to date because they grow at a rate slower than the leg discs. We predicted that the growth trajectory of the vestigial wing discs would be mirrored by evolutionary changes in their patterning. We tested this prediction by examining the expression of three patterning genes, extradenticle, ultrabithorax, and engrailed, known to underlie the wing polyphenism in ants. Surprisingly, the expression patterns of these three genes in the vestigial wing discs was the same as those found in ant species with different worker size distributions and wing disc growth than fire ants. We conclude that growth and patterning are evolutionarily dissociated in the vestigial wing discs of S. invicta because patterning in these discs is conserved, whereas their growth trajectories are not. The evolutionary dissociation of growth and patterning may be an important feature of gene networks that underlie polyphenic traits.

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

    PubMed Central

    Deutsch, Jonathan; Patinella, Stefania; Freudenberg, Nicholas

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-01

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

  16. Ants use partner specific odors to learn to recognize a mutualistic partner.

    PubMed

    Hojo, Masaru K; Yamamoto, Ari; Akino, Toshiharu; Tsuji, Kazuki; Yamaoka, Ryohei

    2014-01-01

    Regulation via interspecific communication is an important for the maintenance of many mutualisms. However, mechanisms underlying the evolution of partner communication are poorly understood for many mutualisms. Here we show, in an ant-lycaenid butterfly mutualism, that attendant ants selectively learn to recognize and interact cooperatively with a partner. Workers of the ant Pristomyrmex punctatus learn to associate cuticular hydrocarbons of mutualistic Narathura japonica caterpillars with food rewards and, as a result, are more likely to tend the caterpillars. However, the workers do not learn to associate the cuticular hydrocarbons of caterpillars of a non-ant-associated lycaenid, Lycaena phlaeas, with artificial food rewards. Chemical analysis revealed cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of the mutualistic caterpillars were complex compared with those of non-ant-associated caterpillars. Our results suggest that partner-recognition based on partner-specific chemical signals and cognitive abilities of workers are important mechanisms underlying the evolution and maintenance of mutualism with ants.

  17. [Investigation of intestinal parasites in food workers in hospitals in Aydin, Turkey].

    PubMed

    Yazici, Vesile; Siriken, Fatih; Ertabaklar, Hatice; Ertuğ, Sema

    2007-01-01

    Food workers are an important risk group for intestinal parasite contamination and dissemination. In the present study food workers, working in food preparation and distribution in the Adnan Menderes University Hospital, Aydin State Hospital and 82. Yil State Hospital, were screened for the presence of intestinal parasites. Out of 58 food workers 22 were females and 36 were males, and the age of workers ranged from 20 to 56. All workers included in the study answered a questionnaire concerned with their social demographic situation and hygiene habits. Stool specimens and cellophane tape specimens were taken from food workers and studied for the presence of parasites. Stool samples were studied using native Lugol, precipitation by formol ethyl acetate, trichrome and acid fast staining methods. Cellophane tape slides were examined for Enterobius vermicularis with the 10X objective. Out of 58 food workers investi-gated, 17 (29.31%) had at least one parasite; nine had Blastocystis hominis (15.51%), five had E. vermicularis (8.62%), one had Giardia intestinalis (1.72%), one had both Entamoeba histolytica/dispar and Entamoeba coli (1.72%), and one had both E. vermicularis and B. hominis (1.72%). All workers with parasites were treated and taken under surveillance. The oral-fecal route is the main source for intes-tinal parasite contamination. It should be considered that food workers may be the main source for the contamination of hospital workers as well as patients which may cause serious problems especially for the cases with immune deficiency.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2016-01-01

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

  19. The effects of age and past and present behavioral specialization on behavior of workers of the red wood ant Formica polyctena Först. during nestmate reunion tests.

    PubMed

    Korczyńska, Julita; Szczuka, Anna; Symonowicz, Beata; Wnuk, Andrzej; Anna, Gonzalez Szwacka; Mazurkiewicz, Paweł Jarosław; Studnicki, Marcin; Godzińska, Ewa Joanna

    2014-09-01

    Social insect workers usually participate first in intranidal tasks and then switch to extranidal ones. However, foragers may switch again to intranidal brood care. This process is called the behavioral reversion. We applied dyadic nestmate reunion tests to explore behavioral differences between five groups of workers of the red wood ant Formica polyctena: callows (newly eclosed workers), nurses, reverted nurses (foragers that switched back to intranidal brood care in response to exposure to brood in absence of nurses), and two groups of foragers. Inter-group differences between the tested ants were related both to age and past and present behavioral specialization. Callows were the least active and their behavior was characterized by the lowest tempo. Nurses usually behaved in a way intermediate in respect to behavior of callows and the ants that had already passed the transition to extranidal tasks. The behavior of reverted nurses showed both similarities and differences with respect to behavior of foragers. Some traits of behavior of reverted nurses were similar as in the case of nurses, or intermediate in respect to both nurses and foragers. Behavioral reversion of workers of F. polyctena has thus other behavioral correlates besides the reappearance of intranidal brood care.

  20. Evaluating the Influence of Nutrition Determinants on Construction Workers' Food Choices.

    PubMed

    Okoro, Chioma Sylvia; Musonda, Innocent; Agumba, Justus

    2016-01-27

    Nutritional knowledge as well as economic, social, biological, and cultural factors have been known to determine an individual's food choices. Despite the existence of research on the factors which influence nutrition globally, there is little known about the extent to which these factors influence the food choices of construction workers, which in turn influence their health and safety during construction activities. The present article investigates the extent to which construction workers' nutrition is influenced by nutritional knowledge, as well as economic, environmental, social, psychological, and physiological factors. A field questionnaire survey was conducted on site construction workers in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. Principal components analysis and multiple regression analysis were used to analyze the data. Findings revealed that consumption of foods termed alternative foods including dairy products, eggs, nuts, fish, and cereals, was influenced by nutritional knowledge and resources. Foods termed traditional core foods were influenced by cultural background; foods termed secondary core foods comprising fruits and vegetables were influenced by economic factors, resources, and cultural background; while foods termed core foods were mostly influenced by nutritional knowledge. By providing evidence of the factors which most influence selection and consumption of certain foods by construction workers, relevant nutrition interventions will be designed and implemented, taking cognizance of these factors.

  1. Does farm worker health vary between localised and globalised food supply systems?

    PubMed

    Cross, Paul; Edwards, Rhiannon T; Opondo, Maggie; Nyeko, Philip; Edwards-Jones, Gareth

    2009-10-01

    Significant environmental benefits are claimed for local food systems, but these biophysical indicators are increasingly recognised as inadequate descriptors of supply chain ethics. Social factors such as health are also important indicators of good practice, and are recognised by the organic and local food movements as important to the development of rounded sustainable agricultural practices. This study compared the self-reported health status of farm workers in the United Kingdom, Spain, Kenya and Uganda who were supplying distant markets with fresh vegetables. Workers on Kenyan export horticulture farms reported significantly higher levels of physical health than did Kenyan non-export farm workers and workers in the other study countries. Mean health levels for farm workers in the United Kingdom were significantly lower than relevant population norms, indicating widespread levels of poor health amongst these workers. These results suggest that globalised supply chains can provide social benefits to workers, while local food systems do not always provide desirable social outcomes. The causal mechanisms of these observations probably relate more to the social conditions of workers than directly to income.

  2. Differences in sNPF receptor-expressing neurons in brains of fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) worker subcastes: indicators for division of labor and nutritional status?

    PubMed

    Castillo, Paula; Pietrantonio, Patricia V

    2013-01-01

    In the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, the neuronal and molecular mechanisms related to worker division of labor are poorly understood. Workers from different subcastes (major, medium and minors) perform different tasks, which are loosely associated with their size. We hypothesized that the short neuropeptide F (sNPF) signaling system (NPY-like) could be involved in mechanisms of worker division of labor and sensing or responding to colony nutritional requirements. Thus, we investigated the expression of the short neuropeptide F receptor (sNPFR) in the brain and subesophageal ganglion (SEG) of workers from colonies with and without brood. Across worker subcastes a total of 9 clusters of immunoreactive sNPFR cells were localized in the brain and the subesophageal ganglion (SEG); some of these cells were similar to those observed previously in the queen. Worker brain sNPFR cell clusters were found in the protocerebrum near mushroom bodies, in the central complex and in the lateral horn. Other sNPFR immunoreactive cells were found at the edge of the antennal lobes. Across subcastes, we observed both a constant and a differential pattern of sNPFR clusters, with a higher number of sNPFR cells found in minor than in major workers. Those sNPFR cells detected in all worker subcastes appear to be involved in olfaction or SEG functions. The differential expression of clusters in subcastes suggests that sNPFR signaling is involved in regulating behaviors associated with specific subcastes and thus, division of labor. Some sNPFR cells appear to be involved in nutrient sensing and/or brood care, feeding behavior and locomotion. In colonies without brood, workers showed a lower cluster number, and an overall reduced sNPFR signal. Our results suggest the sNPF signaling system is a candidate for the neurobiological control of worker division of labor and sensing brood presence, perhaps correlating with protein requirements and availability.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rajagopal, Lakshman

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Cerdá, Xim; van Oudenhove, Louise; Bernstein, Carlos; Boulay, Raphaël R

    2014-08-01

    Ants use many different chemical compounds to communicate with their nestmates. Foraging success depends on how efficiently ants communicate the presence of food and thus recruit workers to exploit the food resource. Trail pheromones, produced by different exocrine glands, are a key part of ant foraging strategies. By combing through the literature, we compiled a list of the identity and glandular origin of the chemical compounds found in the trail pheromones of 75 different ant species. Of the 168 compounds identified, more than 40% are amines. In the subfamily Myrmicinae, trail pheromones are mostly produced in the venom gland, while in the subfamily Formicinae, they come from the rectal gland.

  6. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Workers in Accommodation and Food Services--United States, 2011-2013.

    PubMed

    Syamlal, Girija; Jamal, Ahmed; Mazurek, Jacek M

    2015-07-31

    Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. One of the Healthy People 2020 objectives calls for reducing the proportion of U.S. adults who smoke cigarettes to ≤12% (objective TU-1.1). Despite progress in reducing smoking prevalence over the past several decades, nearly one in five U.S. adults, including millions of workers, still smoke cigarettes. During 2004-2010, nearly one fifth (19.6%) of U.S. working adults aged ≥18 years smoked cigarettes, and of all the industry sectors, current smoking prevalence among the accommodation and food services sector workers (30%) was the highest. CDC analyzed National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data for 2011-2013 to estimate current cigarette smoking prevalence among adults working in the accommodation and food services sector, and found that these workers had higher cigarette smoking prevalence (25.9%) than all other workers (17.3%). Among workers in accommodation and food services sector, the highest smoking prevalences were observed among males, non-Hispanic whites, those aged 25-44 years, those with a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate and no college education, those with an annual family income <$35,000, those with no health insurance, and those working in the food services and drinking places industry. These results indicate a need to better understand the reasons for higher smoking prevalence observed among accommodation and food services workers (e.g., workplace culture), so that appropriate intervention strategies can be developed and implemented. Evidence suggests that smoke-free worksites and workplace cessation programs, including comprehensive worksite smoke-free policies, health promotion, access to smoking cessation programs, and increasing the cost of tobacco products, can substantially reduce smoking among workers.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  8. Awareness of food nutritive value and eating practices among Nigerian bank workers

    PubMed Central

    Eze, Ngozi M.; Maduabum, Felicia O.; Onyeke, Nkechi G.; Anyaegunam, Ngozi J.; Ayogu, Chinwe A.; Ezeanwu, Bibian Amaka; Eseadi, Chiedu

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Adequate nutrition is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle for all individuals, including bank staff. The objective of this study was to investigate the awareness of food nutritive value and eating practices among bank workers in Lagos State, Nigeria. The study adopted a cross-sectional descriptive survey design. A purposive sample of 250 bank workers took part in the study. Means and Student t tests were employed for data analysis. Results showed that bank workers were aware of the nutritive value of foods, and that eating practices commonly adopted included skipping breakfast, eating breakfast at work, buying food at work from the bank canteen, eating in between meals, buying snacks as lunch, and consuming soft drinks daily, among others. There were no significant differences between male and female bank workers in mean responses on food nutritive value or in eating practices adopted. Good eating habits will help bank workers not only to improve their nutritional well-being, but also to prevent nutrition-related diseases. The implications for nutritional counseling and education are discussed in the context of these findings. PMID:28272248

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Ball, Brita; Wilcock, Anne; Aung, May

    2009-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-04-01

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

  13. 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

  14. Food Insecurity Increases HIV Risk Among Young Sex Workers in Metro Vancouver, Canada.

    PubMed

    Barreto, Daniella; Shannon, Kate; Taylor, Chrissy; Dobrer, Sabina; Jean, Jessica St; Goldenberg, Shira M; Duff, Putu; Deering, Kathleen N

    2017-03-01

    This research aimed to determine the effect of food insecurity on sexual HIV risk with clients among youth sex workers (YSWs) <30 years in Metro Vancouver, Canada. Data were drawn from a prospective community cohort of sex workers (2010-2013). We examined the independent relationship between YSWs' food insecurity and being pressured into sex without a condom by clients ("client condom refusal"). Of 220 YSWs, 34.5 % (n = 76) reported client condom refusal over the 3.5-year study period and 76.4 % (n = 168) reported any food insecurity. Adjusting for other HIV risk pathways, food insecurity retained an independent effect on client condom refusal (AOR 2.08, 95 % CI 1.23-3.51), suggesting that food insecurity is significantly associated with HIV risk among YSWs. This study indicates a critical relationship between food insecurity and HIV risk, and demonstrates YSWs' particular vulnerability. Public policies for food assistance as a harm reduction measure may be key to addressing this disparity.

  15. Prey Capture Behavior in an Arboreal African Ponerine Ant

    PubMed Central

    Dejean, Alain

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  18. 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

  19. Food habits and nutritional status of agricultural migrant workers in Southern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Desai, I D; Garcia Tavares, M L; Dutra de Oliveira, B S; Douglas, A; Duarte, F A; Dutra de Oliveira, J E

    1980-03-01

    A new class of migrant workers, commonly known as "Boia-Frias", is rapidly growing in the periurban slumbs (favelas) of Brazil. In 1978 a collaborative study was undertaken to assess the food habits and nutritional status of 100 migrant worker families of Vila Recreio, a typical Boia-Fria settlement near Ribeirao Preto in the state of Sao Paulo. The findings of this survey revealed that the traditional diet of Boia-Frias is nutritionally inadequate both in quality and quantity. Their rice and bean-based diet lacks sufficient variety because of the infrequent use of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are available locally, and of supplemental amounts of protein-rich foods of animal origin. Empty-calorie foods such as carbonated drinks and alcoholic beverages are consumed freely; and starchy foods, traditionally used in the North and Northeast of Brazil, are used commonly as weaning foods. Although dietary practices of pregnant and lactating women are poor, breast-feeding is still practiced by most mothers. The biochemical analysis of blood samples did not indicate major subclinical deficiencies except low hematological values and low plasma vitamin A concentrations in about 25% of the population examined. Plasma cholesterol and plasma vitamin E values were found to be normal. However, anthropometric examinations revealed clear signs of malnutrition and/or undernourishment, which likely impairs their capacity for physical work and adversely affects their overall health.

  20. Salmonella infections in food workers identified through routine Public Health Surveillance in Minnesota: impact on outbreak recognition.

    PubMed

    Medus, Carlota; Smith, Kirk E; Bender, Jeffrey B; Leano, Fe; Hedberg, Craig W

    2010-11-01

    The frequency of Salmonella-infected food workers identified through routine surveillance from 1997 to 2004 in Minnesota was determined in order to evaluate the impact of surveillance on the detection of outbreaks in restaurants and to quantify the duration of Salmonella shedding in stool. Of 4,976 culture-confirmed Salmonella cases reported to the Minnesota Department of Health, 110 (2.2%) were identified as food workers; this was less than one-half the number expected based on the incidence of Salmonella in the general population. Twenty food workers (18%) were associated with outbreaks. Twelve were involved in nine independent outbreaks at the restaurants where they worked. The identification of the index food worker in six of these outbreaks was critical to the initiation of outbreak investigations that revealed much larger problems. Among food workers who submitted specimens until at least one negative result was obtained (n = 69), the median duration of shedding was 22 days (range, 1 to 359 days). Among the four most common serotypes (Enteritidis, Typhimurium, Heidelberg, and Newport) the median duration of shedding was significantly longer for Salmonella Newport (80 days; P = 0.02) and for Salmonella Enteritidis (32 days; P = 0.04) than for Salmonella Heidelberg (8 days). Food workers should be considered an important source of Salmonella transmission, and those identified through surveillance should raise a high index of suspicion of a possible outbreak at their place of work. Food service managers need to be alert to Salmonella-like illnesses among food workers to facilitate prevention and control efforts, including exclusion of infected food workers or restriction of their duties.

  1. Cold Exposure and Health Effects Among Frozen Food Processing Workers in Eastern Thailand

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  2. Restaurant Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak associated with an asymptomatic infected food worker.

    PubMed

    Hedican, Erin; Hooker, Carol; Jenkins, Timothy; Medus, Carlota; Jawahir, Selina; Leano, Fe; Smith, Kirk

    2009-11-01

    Salmonella is the most common bacterial cause of foodborne outbreaks in the United States; approximately half of Salmonella outbreaks occur in restaurant settings. In February 2008, investigation of a cluster of Salmonella Enteritidis cases with indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns revealed that five cases had eaten at the same restaurant. Cases were identified through routine surveillance activities and by contacting meal companions of culture-confirmed cases. Well meal companions and well patrons contacted via check stubs served as controls. Illness histories and stool samples were collected from all restaurant employees. Sandwiches were the only menu item or ingredient significantly associated with illness (15 of 15 cases versus 17 of 37 controls; odds ratio, undefined; P < 0.001). None of the six restaurant employees reported experiencing recent gastrointestinal symptoms. The outbreak PFGE subtype of Salmonella Enteritidis was identified in two food workers. One of the positive employees began working at the restaurant shortly before the first exposure date reported by a case, and assisted in the preparation of sandwiches and other foods consumed by cases. The other positive employee rarely, if ever, handled food. The restaurant did not have a glove use policy. There was no evidence of ongoing transmission after exclusion of the positive food workers. This was a restaurant Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak associated with an asymptomatic infected food worker. Routine PFGE subtyping of Salmonella Enteritidis isolates, routine interviewing of cases, and an iterative approach to cluster investigations allowed for timely identification of the source of an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections.

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Lone, Shahnaz Rahman; Sharma, Vijay Kumar

    2011-12-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rajagopal, Lakshman

    2012-01-01

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

  7. The re-discovered Maculinea rebeli (Hirschke, 1904): Host ant usage, parasitoid and initial food plant around the type locality with taxonomical aspects (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae).

    PubMed

    Tartally, András; Koschuh, Anton; Varga, Zoltán

    2014-01-01

    The taxonomy of the myrmecophilous Maculinea alcon group (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) is highly debated. The host-plant and host-ant usage of these butterflies have conventionally been important in their identification. Maculinea 'rebeli' has generally been considered to be the xerophilous form of Ma. alcon (Ma. alcon X hereafter) with Gentiana cruciata as initial food plant. However, the type locality and all other known sites of Ma. rebeli are found above the coniferous zone, and are well separated from the lower regions where Ma. alcon X sites are found. Furthermore, no food plant and host ant data for the nominotypic Ma. rebeli have yet been published. Our aim was therefore to identify the host ant(s) of Ma. rebeli around the type locality and compare this with the host ant usage of nearby Ma. alcon X. Nests of Myrmica spp. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) close to the host plants were opened on one Ma. alcon X (host plant: Gentiana cruciata) and two Ma. rebeli (host plant: Gentianella rhaetica, first record, confirmed by oviposition and emerging larvae) sites just before the flying period, to find prepupal larvae and pupae. Three Myrmica species (My. lobulicornis, My. ruginodis, My. sulcinodis) were found on the two Ma. rebeli sites, which parasitized exclusively My. sulcinodis (22 individuals in 7 nests). On the Ma. alcon X site Myrmica sabuleti and My. lonae were found, with My. sabuleti the exclusive host (51 individuals in 10 nests). Ichneumon cf. eumerus parasitized both butterflies. The results highlight the differentiation of Maculinea rebeli from Ma. alcon X, from both conservation biological and ecological points of view. Thus, it should be concluded that Ma. rebeli does not simply represent an individual form of Ma. alcon but it can be considered as at least an ecological form adapted to high mountain conditions both in its initial food plant and host ant species. In addition, it should be emphasized that Ma. alcon X (= Ma. rebeli auct. nec Hirschke) cannot be

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  9. Weeding and grooming of pathogens in agriculture by ants.

    PubMed

    Currie, C R; Stuart, A E

    2001-05-22

    The ancient mutualism between fungus-growing ants and the fungi they cultivate for food is a textbook example of symbiosis. Fungus-growing ants' ability to cultivate fungi depends on protection of the garden from the aggressive microbes associated with the substrate added to the garden as well as from the specialized virulent garden parasite Escovopsis. We examined ants' ability to remove alien microbes physically by infecting Atta colombica gardens with the generalist pathogen Trichoderma viride and the specialist pathogen Escovopsis. The ants sanitized the garden using two main behaviours: grooming of alien spores from the garden (fungus grooming) and removal of infected garden substrate (weeding). Unlike previously described hygienic behaviours (e.g. licking and self-grooming), fungus-grooming and garden-removal behaviours are specific responses to the presence of fungal pathogens. In the presence of pathogens, they are the primary activities performed by workers, but they are uncommon in uninfected gardens. In fact, workers rapidly eliminate Trichoderma from their gardens by fungus grooming and weeding, suggesting that these behaviours are the primary method of garden defence against generalist pathogens. The same sanitary behaviours were performed in response to the presence of the specialist pathogen Escovopsis. However, the intensity and duration of these behaviours were much greater in this treatment. Despite the increased effort, the ants were unable to eliminate Escovopsis from their gardens, suggesting that this specialized pathogen has evolved counter-adaptations in order to overcome the sanitary defences of the ants.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rupf, Thomas; Roisin, Yves

    2008-09-01

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

  12. Awareness of food nutritive value and eating practices among Nigerian bank workers: Implications for nutritional counseling and education.

    PubMed

    Eze, Ngozi M; Maduabum, Felicia O; Onyeke, Nkechi G; Anyaegunam, Ngozi J; Ayogu, Chinwe A; Ezeanwu, Bibian Amaka; Eseadi, Chiedu

    2017-03-01

    Adequate nutrition is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle for all individuals, including bank staff. The objective of this study was to investigate the awareness of food nutritive value and eating practices among bank workers in Lagos State, Nigeria.The study adopted a cross-sectional descriptive survey design. A purposive sample of 250 bank workers took part in the study. Means and Student t tests were employed for data analysis.Results showed that bank workers were aware of the nutritive value of foods, and that eating practices commonly adopted included skipping breakfast, eating breakfast at work, buying food at work from the bank canteen, eating in between meals, buying snacks as lunch, and consuming soft drinks daily, among others. There were no significant differences between male and female bank workers in mean responses on food nutritive value or in eating practices adopted.Good eating habits will help bank workers not only to improve their nutritional well-being, but also to prevent nutrition-related diseases. The implications for nutritional counseling and education are discussed in the context of these findings.

  13. 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)

  14. Food workers' perspectives on handwashing behaviors and barriers in the restaurant environment.

    PubMed

    Pragle, Aimee S; Harding, Anna K; Mack, James C

    2007-06-01

    Food handler focus groups in two Oregon counties discussed knowledge, practices, and barriers related to handwashing in the restaurant environment. Current knowledge-based handwashing training programs do not address the internal and external barriers that affect handwashing practice. According to the focus groups, important barriers were time pressure, inadequate facilities and supplies, lack of accountability, lack of involvement of managers and coworkers, and organizations that were not supportive of handwashing. Because barriers to handwashing are multi-dimensional in nature, the authors recommend that future educational and training programs include 1) a hands-on training program that orients new employees to correct handwashing practice and more advanced education about foodborne illness; 2) involvement of both managers and coworkers in the training; 3) easily accessible hand-washing facilities stocked with necessary supplies; 4) continued handwashing training and support involving the food service industry, managers, and coworkers; and 5) involvement of health departments and inspectors in providing managers and food workers with advice and consultation on improvement of handwashing practice.

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

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2011-01-01

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

  17. Outbreaks where food workers have been implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. Part 4. Infective doses and pathogen carriage.

    PubMed

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

    2008-11-01

    In this article, the fourth in a series reviewing the role of food workers in foodborne outbreaks, background information on the presence of enteric pathogens in the community, the numbers of organisms required to initiate an infection, and the length of carriage are presented. Although workers have been implicated in outbreaks, they were not always aware of their infections, either because they were in the prodromic phase before symptoms began or because they were asymptomatic carriers. Pathogens of fecal, nose or throat, and skin origin are most likely to be transmitted by the hands, highlighting the need for effective hand hygiene and other barriers to pathogen contamination, such as no bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food. The pathogens most likely to be transmitted by food workers are norovirus, hepatitis A virus, Salmonella, Shigella, and Staphylococcus aureus. However, other pathogens have been implicated in worker-associated outbreaks or have the potential to be implicated. In this study, the likelihood of pathogen involvement in foodborne outbreaks where infected workers have been implicated was examined, based on infectious dose, carriage rate in the community, duration of illness, and length of pathogen excretion. Infectious dose estimates are based on volunteer studies (mostly early experiments) or data from outbreaks. Although there is considerable uncertainty associated with these data, some pathogens appear to be able to infect at doses as low as 1 to 100 units, including viruses, parasites, and some bacteria. Lengthy postsymptomatic shedding periods and excretion by asymptomatic individuals of many enteric pathogens is an important issue for the hygienic management of food workers.

  18. The re-discovered Maculinea rebeli (Hirschke, 1904): Host ant usage, parasitoid and initial food plant around the type locality with taxonomical aspects (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae)

    PubMed Central

    Tartally, András; Koschuh, Anton; Varga, Zoltán

    2014-01-01

    Abstract The taxonomy of the myrmecophilous Maculinea alcon group (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) is highly debated. The host-plant and host-ant usage of these butterflies have conventionally been important in their identification. Maculinea ‘rebeli’ has generally been considered to be the xerophilous form of Ma. alcon (Ma. alcon X hereafter) with Gentiana cruciata as initial food plant. However, the type locality and all other known sites of Ma. rebeli are found above the coniferous zone, and are well separated from the lower regions where Ma. alcon X sites are found. Furthermore, no food plant and host ant data for the nominotypic Ma. rebeli have yet been published. Our aim was therefore to identify the host ant(s) of Ma. rebeli around the type locality and compare this with the host ant usage of nearby Ma. alcon X. Nests of Myrmica spp. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) close to the host plants were opened on one Ma. alcon X (host plant: Gentiana cruciata) and two Ma. rebeli (host plant: Gentianella rhaetica, first record, confirmed by oviposition and emerging larvae) sites just before the flying period, to find prepupal larvae and pupae. Three Myrmica species (My. lobulicornis, My. ruginodis, My. sulcinodis) were found on the two Ma. rebeli sites, which parasitized exclusively My. sulcinodis (22 individuals in 7 nests). On the Ma. alcon X site Myrmica sabuleti and My. lonae were found, with My. sabuleti the exclusive host (51 individuals in 10 nests). Ichneumon cf. eumerus parasitized both butterflies. The results highlight the differentiation of Maculinea rebeli from Ma. alcon X, from both conservation biological and ecological points of view. Thus, it should be concluded that Ma. rebeli does not simply represent an individual form of Ma. alcon but it can be considered as at least an ecological form adapted to high mountain conditions both in its initial food plant and host ant species. In addition, it should be emphasized that Ma. alcon X (= Ma. rebeli auct. nec

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Buczkowski, Grzegorz; Roper, Elray; Chin, Darren

    2014-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. Exclusive rewards in mutualisms: ant proteases and plant protease inhibitors create a lock-key system to protect Acacia food bodies from exploitation.

    PubMed

    Orona-Tamayo, Domancar; Wielsch, Natalie; Blanco-Labra, Alejandro; Svatos, Ales; Farías-Rodríguez, Rodolfo; Heil, Martin

    2013-08-01

    Myrmecophytic Acacia species produce food bodies (FBs) to nourish ants of the Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus group, with which they live in an obligate mutualism. We investigated how the FBs are protected from exploiting nonmutualists. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of the FB proteomes and consecutive protein sequencing indicated the presence of several Kunitz-type protease inhibitors (PIs). PIs extracted from Acacia FBs were biologically active, as they effectively reduced the trypsin-like and elastase-like proteolytic activity in the guts of seed-feeding beetles (Prostephanus truncatus and Zabrotes subfasciatus), which were used as nonadapted herbivores representing potential exploiters. By contrast, the legitimate mutualistic consumers maintained high proteolytic activity dominated by chymotrypsin 1, which was insensitive to the FB PIs. Larvae of an exploiter ant (Pseudomyrmex gracilis) taken from Acacia hosts exhibited lower overall proteolytic activity than the mutualists. The proteases of this exploiter exhibited mainly elastase-like and to a lower degree chymotrypsin 1-like activity. We conclude that the mutualist ants possess specifically those proteases that are least sensitive to the PIs in their specific food source, whereas the congeneric exploiter ant appears partly, but not completely, adapted to consume Acacia FBs. By contrast, any consumption of the FBs by nonadapted exploiters would effectively inhibit their digestive capacities. We suggest that the term 'exclusive rewards' can be used to describe situations similar to the one that has evolved in myrmecophytic Acacia species, which reward mutualists with FBs but safeguard the reward from exploitation by generalists by making the FBs difficult for the nonadapted consumer to use.

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

    PubMed Central

    Lanan, Michele

    2014-01-01

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

  5. Evaluation of the nutritional status of workers of transformation industries adherent to the Brazilian Workers’ Food Program. A comparative study

    PubMed Central

    Oliveira, António Gouveia; Sampaio, Luciano M. B.

    2017-01-01

    The objective of this study was to assess whether the Brazilian Workers’ Food Program (WFP) is associated with changes in the nutritional status of workers in the transformation industry. We conducted a cross-sectional, observational, comparative study, based on prospectively collected data from a combined stratified and two-stage probability sample of workers from 26 small and medium size companies, 13 adherent and 13 non-adherent to the WFP, in the food, mining and textile sectors. Study variables were body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and dietary intake at lunch obtained by 24-hour dietary recall. Data were analyzed with nested mixed effects linear regression with adjustment by subject variables. Sampling weights were applied in computing population parameters. The final sample consisted of 1069 workers, 541 from WFP-adherent and 528 from WFP non-adherent companies. The groups were different only in education level, income and in-house training. Workers in WFP-adherent companies have greater BMI (27.0 kg/m2 vs. 26.0 kg/m2, p = 0.002) and WC (87.9 cm vs. 86.5, p = 0.04), higher prevalence of excessive weight (62.6% vs. 55.5%, p<0.001) and of increased WC (49.1% vs. 39.9%). Workers of WFP companies have lower intake of saturated fat (–1.34 g, p<0.01) and sodium (–0.3 g, p<0.01) at lunch. In conclusion, this study showed that workers of companies adherent to the Brazilian WFP have greater rates of excessive weight and increased cardiovascular risk—a negative finding—as well as lower intake of sodium and saturated fat—a positive finding. Therefore, the WFP needs to be revisited and its aims redefined according to the current epidemiological status of the target population of the program. PMID:28182763

  6. Fire ants

    MedlinePlus

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

  7. [Evaluation of Brazilian public policies to promote food security and fight hunger, 1995-2002. 2 - the Workers' Nutrition Program].

    PubMed

    Pacheco Santos, Leonor Maria; Nazaré Araújo, Maria da Purificação; Martins, Maísa Cruz; Veloso, Iracema Santos; Assunção, Marilena Pacheco; Chaves dos Santos, Sandra Maria

    2007-08-01

    This study evaluated the Workers' Nutrition Program in Brazil from 1995 to 2002, from a structure-process-results perspective. The methodology involved documental research and a case study in 45 municipalities in the State of Bahia, resulting in 2,389 household interviews. In relation to structure, we analyzed the program's normative evolution until 2002. As for nutritional recommendations, the program shifted from insufficient calorie supply in the 1980s to a positive association between overweight and employment in companies adopting the Workers' Nutrition Program. In Bahia, overall program coverage was insufficient among the 5,120 adults 20 years or older who were interviewed. A significant difference was observed in access to food benefits among workers in the interior of the State (6.1%) as compared to the State capital, Salvador (26.1%). However, targeting was adequate: all workers benefiting from the program in the interior and 92.4% of those in Salvador earned less than five times the minimum wage (approximately US dollars 950/month). It is necessary to improve the program's coverage in the target population in order to raise workers' awareness about their rights and the actions developed by the program.

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

    PubMed

    Bologna, Audrey; Detrain, Claire

    2015-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Missouri Univ., Columbia. Instructional Materials Lab.

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

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

  14. Consumers and Workers Opinions of A Proposed Cash Food System: NAS Alameda

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1975-08-01

    attitudes toward the current food system and a proposed system under which all personnel would receive a monetary food allowance and would pay for food in...the dining hall on an item-by-item basis. The results indicated a clear preference by the consumer for a monetary food allowance, although...Data: Food Features , 19 C7. Survey Data: Summary 24 D. Attitudes Toward the Proposed System 24 Dl. Interview Data: CCMRATS Policy 26 D2

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2000-08-31

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

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Park, Young Il

    2016-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

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

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

    PubMed

    Ometto, Lino; Shoemaker, DeWayne; Ross, Kenneth G; Keller, Laurent

    2011-04-01

    Ants provide remarkable examples of equivalent genotypes developing into divergent and discrete phenotypes. Diploid eggs can develop either into queens, which specialize in reproduction, or workers, which participate in cooperative tasks such as building the nest, collecting food, and rearing the young. In contrast, the differentiation between males and females generally depends upon whether eggs are fertilized, with fertilized (diploid) eggs giving rise to females and unfertilized (haploid) eggs giving rise to males. To obtain a comprehensive picture of the relative contributions of gender (sex), caste, developmental stage, and species divergence to gene expression evolution, we investigated gene expression patterns in pupal and adult queens, workers, and males of two species of fire ants, Solenopsis invicta and S. richteri. Microarray hybridizations revealed that variation in gene expression profiles is influenced more by developmental stage than by caste membership, sex, or species identity. The second major contributor to variation in gene expression was the combination of sex and caste. Although workers and queens share equivalent diploid nuclear genomes, they have highly distinctive patterns of gene expression in both the pupal and the adult stages, as might be expected given their extraordinary level of phenotypic differentiation. Overall, the difference in the proportion of differentially expressed genes was greater between workers and males than between workers and queens or queens and males, consistent with the fact that workers and males share neither gender nor reproductive capability. Moreover, between-species comparisons revealed that the greatest difference in gene expression patterns occurred in adult workers, a finding consistent with the fact that adult workers most directly experience the distinct external environments characterizing the different habitats occupied by the two species. Thus, much of the evolution of gene expression in ants may

  1. Arboreal Ants Use the “Velcro® Principle” to Capture Very Large Prey

    PubMed Central

    Dejean, Alain; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Roux, Olivier; Céréghino, Régis; Orivel, Jérôme; Boulay, Raphaël

    2010-01-01

    Plant-ants live in a mutualistic association with host plants known as “myrmecophytes” that provide them with a nesting place and sometimes with extra-floral nectar (EFN) and/or food bodies (FBs); the ants can also attend sap-sucking Hemiptera for their honeydew. In return, plant-ants, like most other arboreal ants, protect their host plants from defoliators. To satisfy their nitrogen requirements, however, some have optimized their ability to capture prey in the restricted environment represented by the crowns of trees by using elaborate hunting techniques. In this study, we investigated the predatory behavior of the ant Azteca andreae which is associated with the myrmecophyte Cecropia obtusa. We noted that up to 8350 ant workers per tree hide side-by-side beneath the leaf margins of their host plant with their mandibles open, waiting for insects to alight. The latter are immediately seized by their extremities, and then spread-eagled; nestmates are recruited to help stretch, carve up and transport prey. This group ambush hunting technique is particularly effective when the underside of the leaves is downy, as is the case for C. obtusa. In this case, the hook-shaped claws of the A. andreae workers and the velvet-like structure of the underside of the leaves combine to act like natural Velcro® that is reinforced by the group ambush strategy of the workers, allowing them to capture prey of up to 13,350 times the mean weight of a single worker. PMID:20593032

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dejean, Alain; Labrière, Nicolas; Touchard, Axel; Petitclerc, Frédéric; Roux, Olivier

    2014-04-01

    We tested if nesting habits influence ant feeding preferences and predatory behavior in the monophyletic genus Pseudomyrmex (Pseudomyrmecinae) which comprises terrestrial and arboreal species, and, among the latter, plant-ants which are obligate inhabitants of myrmecophytes (i.e., plants sheltering so-called plant-ants in hollow structures). A cafeteria experiment revealed that the diet of ground-nesting Pseudomyrmex consists mostly of prey and that of arboreal species consists mostly of sugary substances, whereas the plant-ants discarded all the food we provided. Workers forage solitarily, detecting prey from a distance thanks to their hypertrophied eyes. Approach is followed by antennal contact, seizure, and the manipulation of the prey to sting it under its thorax (next to the ventral nerve cord). Arboreal species were not more efficient at capturing prey than were ground-nesting species. A large worker size favors prey capture. Workers from ground- and arboreal-nesting species show several uncommon behavioral traits, each known in different ant genera from different subfamilies: leaping abilities, the use of surface tension strengths to transport liquids, short-range recruitment followed by conflicts between nestmates, the consumption of the prey's hemolymph, and the retrieval of entire prey or pieces of prey after having cut it up. Yet, we never noted group ambushing. We also confirmed that Pseudomyrmex plant-ants live in a kind of food autarky as they feed only on rewards produced by their host myrmecophyte, or on honeydew produced by the hemipterans they attend and possibly on the fungi they cultivate.

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

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Labrière, Nicolas; Touchard, Axel; Petitclerc, Frédéric; Roux, Olivier

    2014-04-01

    We tested if nesting habits influence ant feeding preferences and predatory behavior in the monophyletic genus Pseudomyrmex (Pseudomyrmecinae) which comprises terrestrial and arboreal species, and, among the latter, plant-ants which are obligate inhabitants of myrmecophytes (i.e., plants sheltering so-called plant-ants in hollow structures). A cafeteria experiment revealed that the diet of ground-nesting Pseudomyrmex consists mostly of prey and that of arboreal species consists mostly of sugary substances, whereas the plant-ants discarded all the food we provided. Workers forage solitarily, detecting prey from a distance thanks to their hypertrophied eyes. Approach is followed by antennal contact, seizure, and the manipulation of the prey to sting it under its thorax (next to the ventral nerve cord). Arboreal species were not more efficient at capturing prey than were ground-nesting species. A large worker size favors prey capture. Workers from ground- and arboreal-nesting species show several uncommon behavioral traits, each known in different ant genera from different subfamilies: leaping abilities, the use of surface tension strengths to transport liquids, short-range recruitment followed by conflicts between nestmates, the consumption of the prey's hemolymph, and the retrieval of entire prey or pieces of prey after having cut it up. Yet, we never noted group ambushing. We also confirmed that Pseudomyrmex plant-ants live in a kind of food autarky as they feed only on rewards produced by their host myrmecophyte, or on honeydew produced by the hemipterans they attend and possibly on the fungi they cultivate.

  4. Hunger and malnutrition: the determinant of development: the case for Africa and its food and nutrition workers.

    PubMed

    Maletnlema, T N

    1992-08-01

    Hunger and malnutrition in Africa have been on the increase since 1960's reaching a climax in the 1980's when over 150 million people were affected by one form or another. Methods so far used to solve the problem do not seem to succeed, but the scientists and leaders in Africa could now take the opportunity to consider and act on the problem in their own way. The formation of an African food and nutrition group to work with others on the problems, could give an impetus to this kind of initiative. A call is made to all African food and nutrition workers to combine efforts to harness Africa resources, which have not been fully utilized in solving the problem.

  5. 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.

  6. [The role of motivation in the performance of a conditioned switching-over of the maze habit in ants Myrmica rubra after a change in the quality of the food reinforcement].

    PubMed

    Udalova, G P; Karas', A Ia

    2005-01-01

    Active foragers Myrmica rubra were trained in a maze under conditions of different levels of colony need in food with carbohydrate (sugar syrup) or protein (ants Lasius niger pupae) reinforcement. Acquisition of the maze habit was better under conditions of reinforcement with pupae, especially by its time indices. Ants were able to modify the acquired habit when the reinforcement quality was changed. It was shown that learning was possible only when the colony and after a change pupae for the syrup was "hungry". Under these conditions, after a change of the syrup for pupae or visa versa the previously acquired optimum habit was transferred. Several hours later, with satiation of the colony, food reactions learned with protein reinforcement switched-over to "stochastic" non-optimized behavior with the dominance of exploratory reactions. Thus, it was shown that higher social insects ants were capable for conditioned switching-over. Different forms of this phenomenon depended on the level of the colony need in food and, consequently, on the level of the social food motivation of foragers ants.

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

    PubMed

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

    2000-10-01

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

  8. Investigating the Occupational Challenges of Corner Store Workers Operating in Baltimore City Food Deserts.

    PubMed

    Ceryes, Caitlin A; Flamm, Laura; Fitzgerald, Sheila

    2017-02-01

    A qualitative pilot study was conducted in Baltimore City with the aim of documenting specific occupational safety challenges of small-scale urban retailers, or "corner store" owners. Semistructured interviews with a small sample ( n = 4) revealed significant challenges for owners and workers, and revealed potential areas for occupational health intervention.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cunningham, Shea

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  11. [Food and nutrition safety of children under two years of age in families of landless rural workers].

    PubMed

    Lang, Regina Maria Ferreira; Almeida, Cláudia Choma Bettega; Taddei, José Augusto de Aguiar Carrazedo

    2011-07-01

    To date little is known of health, nutrition and food safety conditions of children living in rural camps and settlements. The present cross-sectional descriptive study seeks to present and discuss such conditions for children under two years of age in families of landless rural workers in the Central Western region of the State of Paraná. The study was conducted with a total of 337 children under two years of age in families living in two rural settlements and two rural camps. The main variables related with protein-energy malnutrition were assessed. Results indicated that the prevalence of protein-energy malnutrition was 4.7% in settlements and 10% in camps. Home location, home type and the possibility of producing food for private consumption were the distal variables that influenced most the nutritional status of the pediatric population analyzed. This study established that the search for nutritional and food safety must consider the right of accessing resources and proper means to produce safe and healthy foods in order to enable adequate feeding compatible with the habits and practices of the region.

  12. Ants, Wasps, and Bees (Hymenoptera)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  13. 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.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    The ant Oecophylla longinoda Latreille forms a trophobiotic relationship with the invasive mealybug Rastrococus iceryoides Green and promotes the latter’s infestations to unacceptable levels in the presence of their natural enemies. In this regard, the antagonistic interactions between the ant and the parasitoid Anagyrus pseudococci Girault were assessed under laboratory conditions. The percentage of parasitism of R. iceryoides by A. pseudococci was significantly higher on “ant-excluded” treatments (86.6% ± 1.27%) compared to “ant-tended” treatments (51.4% ± 4.13%). The low female-biased sex-ratio observed in the “ant-tended” treatment can be attributed to ants’ interference during the oviposition phase, which disrupted parasitoids’ ability to fertilize eggs. The mean foraging time, host handling time and number of successful oviposition in “ant-excluded” treatment were significantly higher compared to “ant-tended” treatments. When ant workers were allowed access to sterilized sand grains, mummified and unmummified R. iceryoides, they selectively removed the mummified mealybugs, indicating that they recognized the mummies as potential foods (1.2 ± 0.46 to 7.8 ± 1.17 mummies at 10 min intervals for 2 h). Percentage emergence from mummified R. iceryoides removed by the ants was significantly lower compared to emergence from mummies not exposed to ants. Although, host seeking parasitoids frequently evaded attacks, some were killed by the foraging ant workers (2.0 ± 0.38 to 6.0 ± 0.88 at 10 min intervals for 2 h). These results suggest for the first time that the presence of O. longinoda has a detrimental effect on the abundance, reproductive success and possibly oviposition strategy of female parasitoids, which might be a delimiting factor in field conditions if both natural enemies are to be recommended for use within the same agro-ecosystem. PMID:26703741

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

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

  20. 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

  1. Fast and flexible: argentine ants recruit from nearby trails.

    PubMed

    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.

  2. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    Trophallaxis between individual worker ants and the toxicant load in dead and live Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in colonies exposed to fipronil and hydramethylnon experimental baits were examined using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). About 50% of the content of the crop containing trace levels of 14C-sucrose, 14C-hydramethylnon, and 14C-fipronil was shared between single donor and recipient ants. Dead workers and queens contained significantly more hydramethylnon (122.7 and 22.4 amol/μg ant, respectively) than did live workers and queens (96.3 and 10.4 amol/μg ant, respectively). Dead workers had significantly more fipronil (420.3 amol/μg ant) than did live workers (208.5 amol/μg ant), but dead and live queens had equal fipronil levels (59.5 and 54.3 amol/μg ant, respectively). The distribution of fipronil differed within the bodies of dead and live queens; the highest amounts of fipronil were recovered in the thorax of dead queens whereas live queens had the highest levels in the head. Resurgence of polygynous ant colonies treated with hydramethylnon baits may be explained by queen survival resulting from sublethal doses due to a slowing of trophallaxis throughout the colony. Bait strategies and dose levels for controlling insect pests need to be based on the specific toxicant properties and trophic strategies for targeting the entire colony. PMID:26504258

  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. 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.

  5. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants

    DOE PAGES

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

    2015-07-03

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Lanan, M C; Bronstein, J L

    2013-07-01

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

  8. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  10. Training new community health, food service, and environmental protection workers could boost health, jobs, and growth.

    PubMed

    Freudenberg, Nicholas; Tsui, Emma

    2011-11-01

    General job training programs, and separate disease prevention or health promotion programs, are usually viewed as two different strategies for reducing poverty and promoting community development. We propose that with better alignment of the strategies, new jobs with the potential to simultaneously improve population health, lower the cost of health care, and reduce unemployment could be created and filled. Initiatives for three types of entry-level positions-in the fields of community health, environmental remediation and protection, and food preparation-show particular promise as vehicles for health and economic improvement at the individual and community levels. Building on current federal programs, new pilot projects financed by federal funding should be created to test and refine such initiatives and their impact and assemble an evidence base for future policy action.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

  12. The role of symbiont genetic distance and potential adaptability in host preference towards Pseudonocardia symbionts in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Poulsen, Michael; Maynard, Janielle; Roland, Damien L; Currie, Cameron R

    2011-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants display symbiont preference in behavioral assays, both towards the fungus they cultivate for food and Actinobacteria they maintain on their cuticle for antibiotic production against parasites. These Actinobacteria, genus Pseudonocardia Henssen (Pseudonocardiacea: Actinomycetales), help defend the ants' fungal mutualist from specialized parasites. In Acromyrmex Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) leaf-cutting ants, individual colonies maintain either a single or a few strains of Pseudonocardia, and the symbiont is primarily vertically transmitted between generations by colony-founding queens. A recent report found that Acromyrmex workers are able to differentiate between their native Pseudonocardia strain and non-native strains isolated from sympatric or allopatric Acromyrmex species, and show preference for their native strain. Here we explore worker preference when presented with two non-native strains, elucidating the role of genetic distance on preference between strains and Pseudonocardia origin. Our findings suggest that ants tend to prefer bacteria more closely related to their native bacterium and that genetic similarity is probably more important than whether symbionts are ant-associated or free-living. Preliminary findings suggest that when continued exposure to a novel Pseudonocardia strain occurs, ant symbiont preference is potentially adaptable, with colonies apparently being able to alter symbiont preference over time. These findings are discussed in relation to the role of adaptive recognition, potential ecological flexibility in symbiont preference, and more broadly, in relation to self versus non-self recognition.

  13. Ants on plants: a meta-analysis of the role of ants as plant biotic defenses.

    PubMed

    Rosumek, Felix B; Silveira, Fernando A O; de S Neves, Frederico; de U Barbosa, Newton P; Diniz, Livia; Oki, Yumi; Pezzini, Flavia; Fernandes, G Wilson; Cornelissen, Tatiana

    2009-06-01

    We reviewed the evidence on the role of ants as plant biotic defenses, by conducting meta-analyses for the effects of experimental removal of ants on plant herbivory and fitness with data pooled from 81 studies. Effects reviewed were plant herbivory, herbivore abundance, hemipteran abundance, predator abundance, plant biomass and reproduction in studies where ants were experimentally removed (n = 273 independent comparisons). Ant removal exhibited strong effects on herbivory rates, as plants without ants suffered almost twice as much damage and exhibited 50% more herbivores than plants with ants. Ants also influenced several parameters of plant fitness, as plants without ants suffered a reduction in biomass (-23.7%), leaf production (-51.8%), and reproduction (-24.3%). Effects were much stronger in tropical regions compared to temperate ones. Tropical plants suffered almost threefold higher herbivore damage than plants from temperate regions and exhibited three times more herbivores. Ant removal in tropical plants resulted in a decrease in plant fitness of about 59%, whereas in temperate plants this reduction was not statistically significant. Ant removal effects were also more important in obligate ant-plants (=myrmecophytes) compared to plants exhibiting facultative relationships with hemiptera or those plants with extrafloral nectaries and food bodies. When only tropical plants were considered and the strength of the association between ants and plants taken into account, plants with obligate association with ants exhibited almost four times higher herbivory compared to plants with facultative associations with ants, but similar reductions in plant reproduction. The removal of a single ant species increased plant herbivory by almost three times compared to the removal of several ant species. Altogether, these results suggest that ants do act as plant biotic defenses, but the effects of their presence are more pronounced in tropical systems, especially in

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Ants swimming in pitcher plants: kinematics of aquatic and terrestrial locomotion in Camponotus schmitzi.

    PubMed

    Bohn, Holger Florian; Thornham, Daniel George; Federle, Walter

    2012-06-01

    Camponotus schmitzi ants live in symbiosis with the Bornean pitcher plant Nepenthes bicalcarata. Unique among ants, the workers regularly dive and swim in the pitcher's digestive fluid to forage for food. High-speed motion analysis revealed that C. schmitzi ants swim at the surface with all legs submerged, with an alternating tripod pattern. Compared to running, swimming involves lower stepping frequencies and larger phase delays within the legs of each tripod. Swimming ants move front and middle legs faster and keep them more extended during the power stroke than during the return stroke. Thrust estimates calculated from three-dimensional leg kinematics using a blade-element approach confirmed that forward propulsion is mainly achieved by the front and middle legs. The hind legs move much less, suggesting that they mainly serve for steering. Experiments with tethered C. schmitzi ants showed that characteristic swimming movements can be triggered by submersion in water. This reaction was absent in another Camponotus species investigated. Our study demonstrates how insects can use the same locomotory system and similar gait patterns for moving on land and in water. We discuss insect adaptations for aquatic/amphibious lifestyles and the special adaptations of C. schmitzi to living on an insect-trapping pitcher plant.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schatz, Bertrand; Hossaert-McKey, Martine

    2010-01-01

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

  18. 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)

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. The evolution of multiple mating in army ants.

    PubMed

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

    2007-02-01

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

  4. Thermal constraints on foraging of tropical canopy ants.

    PubMed

    Spicer, Michelle Elise; Stark, Alyssa Y; Adams, Benjamin J; Kneale, Riley; Kaspari, Michael; Yanoviak, Stephen P

    2017-04-01

    Small cursorial ectotherms risk overheating when foraging in the tropical forest canopy, where the surfaces of unshaded tree branches commonly exceed 50 °C. We quantified the heating and subsequent cooling rates of 11 common canopy ant species from Panama and tested the hypothesis that ant workers stop foraging at temperatures consistent with the prevention of overheating. We created hot experimental "sunflecks" on existing foraging trails of four ant species from different clades and spanning a broad range of body size, heating rate, and critical thermal maxima (CTmax). Different ant species exhibited very different heating rates in the lab, and these differences did not follow trends predicted by body size alone. Experiments with ant models showed that heating rates are strongly affected by color in addition to body size. Foraging workers of all species showed strong responses to heating and consistently abandoned focal sites between 36 and 44 °C. Atta colombica and Azteca trigona workers resumed foraging shortly after heat was removed, but Cephalotes atratus and Dolichoderus bispinosus workers continued to avoid the heated patch even after >5 min of cooling. Large foraging ants (C. atratus) responded slowly to developing thermal extremes, whereas small ants (A. trigona) evacuated sunflecks relatively quickly, and at lower estimated body temperatures than when revisiting previously heated patches. The results of this study provide the first field-based insight into how foraging ants respond behaviorally to the heterogeneous thermal landscape of the tropical forest canopy.

  5. Outbreaks where food workers have been implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. Part 1. Description of the problem, methods, and agents involved.

    PubMed

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

    2007-07-01

    Food workers in many settings have been responsible for foodborne disease outbreaks for decades, and there is no indication that this is diminishing. The Committee on Control of Foodborne Illnesses of the International Association for Food Protection was tasked with collecting and evaluating any data on worker-associated outbreaks. A total of 816 reports with 80,682 cases were collected from events that occurred from 1927 until the first quarter of 2006. Most of the outbreaks reviewed were from the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia, with relatively few from other parts of the world, indicating the skewed set of data because of availability in the literature or personal contact. Outbreaks were caused by 14 agents: norovirus or probable norovirus (338), Salmonella enterica (151), hepatitis A virus (84), Staphylococcus aureus (53), Shigella spp. (33), Streptococcus Lancefield groups A and G (17), and parasites Cyclospora, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium (23). Streptococcal, staphylococcal, and typhoid outbreaks seem to be diminishing over time; hepatitis A virus remains static, whereas norovirus and maybe nontyphoidal Salmonella are increasing. Multiple foods and multi-ingredient foods were identified most frequently with outbreaks, perhaps because of more frequent hand contact during preparation and serving.

  6. Information Needs at the Beginning of Foraging: Grass-Cutting Ants Trade Off Load Size for a Faster Return to the Nest

    PubMed Central

    Bollazzi, Martin; Roces, Flavio

    2011-01-01

    Background Acquisition of information about food sources is essential for animals that forage collectively like social insects. Foragers deliver two commodities to the nest, food and information, and they may favor the delivery of one at the expenses of the other. We predict that information needs should be particularly high at the beginning of foraging: the decision to return faster to the nest will motivate a grass-cutting ant worker to reduce its loading time, and so to leave the source with a partial load. Principal Findings Field results showed that at the initial foraging phase, most grass-cutting ant foragers (Acromyrmex heyeri) returned unladen to the nest, and experienced head-on encounters with outgoing workers. Ant encounters were not simply collisions in a probabilistic sense: outgoing workers contacted in average 70% of the returning foragers at the initial foraging phase, and only 20% at the established phase. At the initial foraging phase, workers cut fragments that were shorter, narrower, lighter and tenderer than those harvested at the established one. Foragers walked at the initial phase significantly faster than expected for the observed temperatures, yet not at the established phase. Moreover, when controlling for differences in the fragment-size carried, workers still walked faster at the initial phase. Despite the higher speed, their individual transport rate of vegetable tissue was lower than that of similarly-sized workers foraging later at the same patch. Conclusions/Significance At the initial foraging phase, workers compromised their individual transport rates of material in order to return faster to the colony. We suggest that the observed flexible cutting rules and the selection of partial loads at the beginning of foraging are driven by the need of information transfer, crucial for the establishment and maintenance of a foraging process to monopolize a discovered resource. PMID:21408014

  7. 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.

  8. Plasticity of Daily Behavioral Rhythms in Foragers and Nurses of the Ant Camponotus rufipes: Influence of Social Context and Feeding Times

    PubMed Central

    Mildner, Stephanie; Roces, Flavio

    2017-01-01

    Daily activities within an ant colony need precise temporal organization, and an endogenous clock appears to be essential for such timing processes. A clock drives locomotor rhythms in isolated workers in a number of ant species, but its involvement in activities displayed in the social context is unknown. We compared locomotor rhythms in isolated individuals and behavioral rhythms in the social context of workers of the ant Camponotus rufipes. Both forager and nurse workers exhibited circadian rhythms in locomotor activity under constant conditions, indicating the involvement of an endogenous clock. Activity was mostly nocturnal and synchronized with the 12:12h light-dark-cycle. To evaluate whether rhythmicity was maintained in the social context and could be synchronized with non-photic zeitgebers such as feeding times, daily behavioral activities of single workers inside and outside the nest were quantified continuously over 24 hours in 1656 hours of video recordings. Food availability was limited to a short time window either at day or at night, thus mimicking natural conditions of temporally restricted food access. Most foragers showed circadian foraging behavior synchronized with food availability, either at day or nighttime. When isolated thereafter in single locomotor activity monitors, foragers mainly displayed arrhythmicity. Here, high mortality suggested potential stressful effects of the former restriction of food availability. In contrast, nurse workers showed high overall activity levels in the social context and performed their tasks all around the clock with no circadian pattern, likely to meet the needs of the brood. In isolation, the same individuals exhibited in turn strong rhythmic activity and nocturnality. Thus, endogenous activity rhythms were inhibited in the social context, and timing of daily behaviors was flexibly adapted to cope with task demands. As a similar socially-mediated plasticity in circadian rhythms was already shown in honey

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

    PubMed Central

    Kost, Christian; Tremmel, Martin; Wirth, Rainer

    2011-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants (LCAs) are polyphagous, yet highly selective herbivores. The factors that govern their selection of food plants, however, remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that the induction of anti-herbivore defences by attacked food plants, which are toxic to either ants or their mutualistic fungus, should significantly affect the ants' foraging behaviour. To test this “induced defence hypothesis,” we used lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus), a plant that emits many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) upon herbivore attack with known anti-fungal or ant-repellent effects. Our results provide three important insights into the foraging ecology of LCAs. First, leaf-cutting by Atta ants can induce plant defences: Lima bean plants that were repeatedly exposed to foraging workers of Atta colombica over a period of three days emitted significantly more VOCs than undamaged control plants. Second, the level to which a plant has induced its anti-herbivore defences can affect the LCAs' foraging behaviour: In dual choice bioassays, foragers discriminated control plants from plants that have been damaged mechanically or by LCAs 24 h ago. In contrast, strong induction levels of plants after treatment with the plant hormone jasmonic acid or three days of LCA feeding strongly repelled LCA foragers relative to undamaged control plants. Third, the LCA-specific mode of damaging leaves allows them to remove larger quantities of leaf material before being recognized by the plant: While leaf loss of approximately 15% due to a chewing herbivore (coccinelid beetle) was sufficient to significantly increase VOC emission levels after 24 h, the removal of even 20% of a plant's leaf area within 20 min by LCAs did not affect its VOC emission rate after 24 h. Taken together, our results support the “induced defence hypothesis” and provide first empirical evidence that the foraging behaviour of LCAs is affected by the induction of plant defence responses. PMID:21799831

  10. 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.

  11. Red legs and golden gasters: Batesian mimicry in australian ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Merrill, D. N.; Elgar, Mark A.

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

    Pinter-Wollman, Noa

    2015-10-01

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

  16. Nest architecture shapes the collective behaviour of harvester ants

    PubMed Central

    Pinter-Wollman, Noa

    2015-01-01

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

  17. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-09-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. Variation in Extrafloral Nectary Productivity Influences the Ant Foraging.

    PubMed

    Lange, Denise; Calixto, Eduardo Soares; Del-Claro, Kleber

    2017-01-01

    Extrafloral nectar is the main food source offered by plants to predatory ants in most land environments. Although many studies have demonstrated the importance of extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) to plant defense against herbivores, the influence of EFNs secretory activity pattern on predatory ants remains yet not fully understood. Here, we verified the relation between the extrafloral nectar production of a plant community in Cerrado in different times of the day, and its attractiveness to ants. The extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) of seven plant species showed higher productivity overnight. Ant abundance was higher in times of large extrafloral nectar production, however, there was no positive relation between ant richness on plants and EFNs productivity. There was temporal resource partitioning among ant species, and it indicates strong resource competition. The nectar productivity varied among plant species and time of the day, and it influenced the visitation patterns of ants. Therefore, EFNs are a key ant-plant interaction driver in the studied system.

  1. Variation in Extrafloral Nectary Productivity Influences the Ant Foraging

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    Extrafloral nectar is the main food source offered by plants to predatory ants in most land environments. Although many studies have demonstrated the importance of extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) to plant defense against herbivores, the influence of EFNs secretory activity pattern on predatory ants remains yet not fully understood. Here, we verified the relation between the extrafloral nectar production of a plant community in Cerrado in different times of the day, and its attractiveness to ants. The extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) of seven plant species showed higher productivity overnight. Ant abundance was higher in times of large extrafloral nectar production, however, there was no positive relation between ant richness on plants and EFNs productivity. There was temporal resource partitioning among ant species, and it indicates strong resource competition. The nectar productivity varied among plant species and time of the day, and it influenced the visitation patterns of ants. Therefore, EFNs are a key ant-plant interaction driver in the studied system. PMID:28046069

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-05-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-22

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

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

    Czaczkes, Tomer J; Grüter, Christoph; Ellis, Laura; Wood, Elizabeth; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2013-01-15

    Ants are central place foragers and use multiple information sources to navigate between the nest and feeding sites. Individual ants rapidly learn a route, and often prioritize memory over pheromone trails when tested on a simple trail with a single bifurcation. However, in nature, ants often forage at locations that are reached via more complex routes with multiple trail bifurcations. Such routes may be more difficult to learn, and thus ants would benefit from additional information. We hypothesized that trail pheromones play a more significant role in ant foraging on complex routes, either by assisting in navigation or route learning or both. We studied Lasius niger workers foraging on a doubly bifurcating trail with four end points. Route learning was slower and errors greater on alternating (e.g. left-right) versus repeating routes (e.g. left-left), with error rates of 32 and 3%, respectively. However, errors on alternating routes decreased by 30% when trail pheromone was present. Trail pheromones also aid route learning, leading to reduced errors in subsequent journeys without pheromone. If an experienced forager makes an error when returning to a food source, it reacts by increasing pheromone deposition on the return journey. In addition, high levels of trail pheromone suppress further pheromone deposition. This negative feedback mechanism may act to conserve pheromone or to regulate recruitment. Taken together, these results demonstrate further complexity and sophistication in the foraging system of ant colonies, especially in the role of trail pheromones and their relationship with learning and the use of private information (memory) in a complex environment.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-02-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-03-08

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

  10. Special Issue: Rural Workers.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Goodson, Elizabeth; And Others

    1995-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Davidson, Diane W

    2005-01-01

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

  13. The genome sequence of the leaf-cutter ant Atta cephalotes reveals insights into its obligate symbiotic lifestyle.

    PubMed

    Suen, Garret; Teiling, Clotilde; Li, Lewyn; Holt, Carson; Abouheif, Ehab; Bornberg-Bauer, Erich; Bouffard, Pascal; Caldera, Eric J; Cash, Elizabeth; Cavanaugh, Amy; Denas, Olgert; Elhaik, Eran; Favé, Marie-Julie; Gadau, Jürgen; Gibson, Joshua D; Graur, Dan; Grubbs, Kirk J; Hagen, Darren E; Harkins, Timothy T; Helmkampf, Martin; Hu, Hao; Johnson, Brian R; Kim, Jay; Marsh, Sarah E; Moeller, Joseph A; Muñoz-Torres, Mónica C; Murphy, Marguerite C; Naughton, Meredith C; Nigam, Surabhi; Overson, Rick; Rajakumar, Rajendhran; Reese, Justin T; Scott, Jarrod J; Smith, Chris R; Tao, Shu; Tsutsui, Neil D; Viljakainen, Lumi; Wissler, Lothar; Yandell, Mark D; Zimmer, Fabian; Taylor, James; Slater, Steven C; Clifton, Sandra W; Warren, Wesley C; Elsik, Christine G; Smith, Christopher D; Weinstock, George M; Gerardo, Nicole M; Currie, Cameron R

    2011-02-10

    Leaf-cutter ants are one of the most important herbivorous insects in the Neotropics, harvesting vast quantities of fresh leaf material. The ants use leaves to cultivate a fungus that serves as the colony's primary food source. This obligate ant-fungus mutualism is one of the few occurrences of farming by non-humans and likely facilitated the formation of their massive colonies. Mature leaf-cutter ant colonies contain millions of workers ranging in size from small garden tenders to large soldiers, resulting in one of the most complex polymorphic caste systems within ants. To begin uncovering the genomic underpinnings of this system, we sequenced the genome of Atta cephalotes using 454 pyrosequencing. One prediction from this ant's lifestyle is that it has undergone genetic modifications that reflect its obligate dependence on the fungus for nutrients. Analysis of this genome sequence is consistent with this hypothesis, as we find evidence for reductions in genes related to nutrient acquisition. These include extensive reductions in serine proteases (which are likely unnecessary because proteolysis is not a primary mechanism used to process nutrients obtained from the fungus), a loss of genes involved in arginine biosynthesis (suggesting that this amino acid is obtained from the fungus), and the absence of a hexamerin (which sequesters amino acids during larval development in other insects). Following recent reports of genome sequences from other insects that engage in symbioses with beneficial microbes, the A. cephalotes genome provides new insights into the symbiotic lifestyle of this ant and advances our understanding of host-microbe symbioses.

  14. Evolution of social parasitism in ants: size of sexuals, sex ratio and mechanisms of caste determination

    PubMed Central

    Aron, S.; Passera, L.; Keller, L.

    1999-01-01

    Social parasitism, one of the most intriguing phenomena in ants, has evolved to various levels, the most extreme form being parasites that have lost the worker caste and rely completely on the host's worker force to raise their brood. A remarkable feature of workerless social parasites is the small size of sexuals. It has been suggested that reduced size evolved as a means to take advantage of the host's caste-determination system, so that parasite larvae develop into sexuals with less food than is required to produce host workers. An important consequence of size reduction is that it might restrict the host workers' ability to discriminate between the brood of the social parasite and their own brood and might protect parasite sexuals from elimination. We found that sexuals of the workerless inquiline ant Plagiolepis xene were significantly smaller than the sexuals of their host Plagiolepis pygmaea, but remarkably similar to the host workers. The size variance of parasite sexuals was much lower than that of their host; this result possibly suggests that there is very stabilizing selection acting on size of the parasite sexuals. Comparison of the primary (egg) and secondary (adult) sex ratios of the parasite and host showed that miniaturization of P. xene sexuals has been accompanied by their ability to develop into sexuals even when the host P. pygmaea actively prevents production of its own sexuals. These results suggest that the inquiline's size and caste threshold have been reduced such that all individuals in a parasite brood will develop into sexuals. We also found that the adult sex ratio of P. xene was heavily female-biased. This bias probably stems from local mate competition that arises from sexuals mating within the nest. There was no significant difference between the proportion of haploid eggs and adult males produced; this observation indicates that a female-biased sex ratio is achieved by queens producing a higher proportion of diploid eggs rather

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

  20. [Ants: species-area relationship in tropical dry forest fragments].

    PubMed

    Lozano-Zambrano, Fabio H; Ulloa-Chacón, Patricia; Armbrecht, Inge

    2009-01-01

    We analyzed the effect of fragmentation on ant species-area and specimen frequency-area relationships in nine patches of tropical dry forest in the middle Cauca river basin in Colombia. Species richness and specimen relative frequency of ants were positively correlated with area, whereas no significant correlation was found between species richness and the degree of isolation calculated for the forest patches. As the fragmentation affects different functional groups in different ways, we analyzed the species-area relationship for separate functional groups of ants. According to the habitat requirements we found that the species richness increased faster as area increased for ants inhabiting decomposing wood, followed by ants associated with trees, while species richness of ants living under dead leaves did not correlate with area. According to the food preference, species richness was positively correlated with area for the army ant group, while no significant correlation was found for solitary hunters or for leaf-cutting ants. Ant species richness and specimen density were calculated from equal size samples and examined in relation to the habitat area. An inverse correlation was found only for specimen density, the opposite of what was expected. To our knowledge this is one of the first studies showing differential responses of functional groups of ants to habitat loss. Moreover, it emphasizes the conservation value of small forest fragments for ants in a tropical dry forest.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-22

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    Fire plays a key role in ecosystem dynamics worldwide, altering energy flows and species community structure and composition. However, the functional mechanisms underlying these effects are not well understood. Many ground-dwelling animal species can shelter themselves from exposure to heat and therefore rarely suffer direct mortality. However, fire-induced alterations to the environment may change a species' relative trophic level within a food web and its mode of foraging. We assessed how fire could affect ant resource utilization at different scales in a Mediterranean forest. First, we conducted isotopic analyses on entire ant species assemblages and their potential food resources, which included plants and other arthropods, in burned and unburned plots 1 year postfire. Second, we measured the production of males and females by nests of a fire-resilient species, Aphaenogaster gibbosa, and analyzed the differences in isotopic values among workers, males, and females to test whether fire constrained resource allocation. We found that, in spite of major modifications in biotic and abiotic conditions, fire had little impact on the relative trophic position of ant species. The studied assemblage was composed of species with a wide array of diets. They ranged from being mostly herbivorous to completely omnivorous, and a given species' trophic level was the same in burned and unburned plots. In A. gibbosa nests, sexuals had greater δ(15)N values than workers in both burned and unburned plots, which suggests that the former had a more protein-rich diet than the latter. Fire also appeared to have a major effect on A. gibbosa sex allocation: The proportion of nests that produced male brood was greater on burned zones, as was the mean number of males produced per nest with the same reproductive investment. Our results show that generalist ants with relatively broad diets maintained a constant trophic position, even following a major disturbance like fire. However, the

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-10

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

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

    PubMed

    Lighton, John R B; Duncan, Frances D

    2005-08-01

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

  7. Fire Ant Bites

    MedlinePlus

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

  8. Toxicity and sublethal effects of sulfoxaflor on the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Pan, Fengxiang; Lu, Yongyue; Wang, Lei

    2017-05-01

    To understand whether sulfoxaflor, a novel neonicotinoid, poses unacceptable risks to the environment, it is important to assess its effects on nontarget insects. Therefore, the effects of short-term exposure (28 days) of free-feeding sublethal concentrations (1-2μg/ml) of sulfoxaflor to the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, were investigated. The following parameters were evaluated to determine the impact of exposure: colony growth, food consumption (sugar water and locusts), and interspecific interactions. Sulfoxaflor exposure produced significant negative effects on S. invicta colony growth, with cumulative colony weight losses of 83.36% and 100.00% after treatment with 1μg/ml and 2μg/ml, respectively. The consumption of sugar water (containing sulfoxaflor) of surviving colonies decreased with increasing sulfoxaflor concentration. Moreover, the consumption of locusts decreased after treatment with 2μg/ml, but not 1μg/ml, sulfoxaflor. Sulfoxaflor treatment for 14 days led to reduced aggressiveness of S. invicta workers in interspecific confrontations (S. invicta vs. unexposed Pheidole fervida), and their probability of survival of aggressive encounters was reduced significantly to 48% of that of control ants. Our results indicate that sublethal concentrations of sulfoxaflor are likely to have a negative impact on ants.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-05-01

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

  10. Experience influences aggressive behaviour in the Argentine ant

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-29

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

  12. 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

  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. Microfungal "weeds" in the leafcutter ant symbiosis.

    PubMed

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

    2008-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Okita, Ichiro; Tsuchida, Koji

    2016-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Okita, Ichiro; Tsuchida, Koji

    2016-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-07-01

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

  3. Foraging leaf-cutting ants learn to reject Vitis vinifera ssp. vinifera plants that emit herbivore-induced volatiles.

    PubMed

    Thiele, Theresa; Kost, Christian; Roces, Flavio; Wirth, Rainer

    2014-06-01

    Leaf-cutting ants (LCAs) are dominant herbivores of the Neotropics, as well as economically important pests. Their foraging ecology and patterns/mechanisms of food selection have received considerable attention. Recently, it has been documented that LCAs exhibit a delayed rejection of previously accepted food plants following treatment with a fungicide that makes the plants unsuitable as substrate for their symbiotic fungus. Here, we investigated whether LCAs similarly reject plants with induced chemical defenses, by combining analysis of volatile emissions with dual-choice bioassays that used LCA subcolonies (Atta sexdens L.). On seven consecutive days, foraging ants were given the choice between leaf disks from untreated control plants and test plants of Vitis vinifera ssp. vinifera L. treated with the phytohormone jasmonic acid (JA) to mimic herbivore attack. Chemical analysis revealed the emission of a characteristic set of herbivore-induced volatile organic compounds (VOC) from JA-induced plants. Dual-choice experiments indicated that workers did not show any preference initially, but that they avoided JA-treated plants from day five onwards. Our finding that A. sexdens foragers learn to avoid VOC-emitting plants, which are likely detrimental to their symbiotic fungus, represents the first evidence for avoidance learning in attine ants toward plants with induced defenses.

  4. 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.

  5. Social coercion of larval development in an ant species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Mitrus, S

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

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

    PubMed

    Dornhaus, Anna

    2008-11-18

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Bharti, Himender

    2015-01-01

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

  12. General Dissection of Female Ant Reproductive System and Brain

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  13. Hybridization in East African swarm-raiding army ants

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

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

  14. Desert ants achieve reliable recruitment across noisy interactions.

    PubMed

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

    2013-05-06

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  16. By their own devices: invasive Argentine ants have shifted diet without clear aid from symbiotic microbes.

    PubMed

    Hu, Yi; Holway, David A; Łukasik, Piotr; Chau, Linh; Kay, Adam D; LeBrun, Edward G; Miller, Katie A; Sanders, Jon G; Suarez, Andrew V; Russell, Jacob A

    2017-03-01

    The functions and compositions of symbiotic bacterial communities often correlate with host ecology. Yet cause-effect relationships and the order of symbiont vs. host change remain unclear in the face of ancient symbioses and conserved host ecology. Several groups of ants exemplify this challenge, as their low-nitrogen diets and specialized symbioses appear conserved and ancient. To address whether nitrogen-provisioning symbionts might be important in the early stages of ant trophic shifts, we studied bacteria from the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile - an invasive species that has transitioned towards greater consumption of sugar-rich, nitrogen-poor foods in parts of its introduced range. Bacteria were present at low densities in most L. humile workers, and among those yielding quality 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing data, we found just three symbionts to be common and dominant. Two, a Lactobacillus and an Acetobacteraceae species, were shared between native and introduced populations. The other, a Rickettsia, was found only in two introduced supercolonies. Across an eight-year period of trophic reduction in one introduced population, we found no change in symbionts, arguing against a relationship between natural dietary change and microbiome composition. Overall, our findings thus argue against major changes in symbiotic bacteria in association with the invasion and trophic shift of L. humile. In addition, genome content from close relatives of the identified symbionts suggests that just one can synthesize most essential amino acids; this bacterium was only modestly abundant in introduced populations, providing little support for a major role of nitrogen-provisioning symbioses in Argentine ant's dietary shift.

  17. Water surface locomotion in tropical canopy ants.

    PubMed

    Yanoviak, S P; Frederick, D N

    2014-06-15

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  19. Fire Ant Allergy

    MedlinePlus

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heinze, J.

    2008-08-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. Tissue, developmental, and caste-specific expression of odorant binding proteins in a eusocial insect, the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Wei; Wanchoo, Arun; Ortiz-Urquiza, Almudena; Xia, Yuxian; Keyhani, Nemat O

    2016-10-21

    Insects interact with the surrounding environment via chemoreception, and in social insects such as ants, chemoreception functions to mediate diverse behaviors including food acquisition, self/non-self recognition, and intraspecific communication. The invasive red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, has spread worldwide, displaying a remarkable environmental adaptability. Odorant binding proteins (OBPs) are chemical compound carriers, involved in diverse physiological processes including odor detection and chemical transport. S. invicta contains a highly divergent 17-member OBP gene family, that includes an ant-specific expansion and the social organization implicated Gp-9 (OBP3) gene. A systematic gene expression analysis of the SiOBP repertoire was performed across social caste (workers, male and female alates), tissues (antennae, head, thorax, and abdomen), and developmental stages (egg, larvae, and pupae), revealing that although SiOBPs were expressed in the antennae, the major regions of expression were in the head and thorax across all castes, and the abdomen in male and female alates. SiOBPs were very highly expressed in female alates and at somewhat lower levels in male alates and workers. SiOBPs were differentially expressed, with unique signatures in various castes and tissues, suggesting functionality of SiOBPs beyond olfaction Expression patterns of SiOBP subgroups also showed relationships with their evolutionary relatedness.

  3. Tissue, developmental, and caste-specific expression of odorant binding proteins in a eusocial insect, the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Wei; Wanchoo, Arun; Ortiz-Urquiza, Almudena; Xia, Yuxian; Keyhani, Nemat O.

    2016-01-01

    Insects interact with the surrounding environment via chemoreception, and in social insects such as ants, chemoreception functions to mediate diverse behaviors including food acquisition, self/non-self recognition, and intraspecific communication. The invasive red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, has spread worldwide, displaying a remarkable environmental adaptability. Odorant binding proteins (OBPs) are chemical compound carriers, involved in diverse physiological processes including odor detection and chemical transport. S. invicta contains a highly divergent 17-member OBP gene family, that includes an ant-specific expansion and the social organization implicated Gp-9 (OBP3) gene. A systematic gene expression analysis of the SiOBP repertoire was performed across social caste (workers, male and female alates), tissues (antennae, head, thorax, and abdomen), and developmental stages (egg, larvae, and pupae), revealing that although SiOBPs were expressed in the antennae, the major regions of expression were in the head and thorax across all castes, and the abdomen in male and female alates. SiOBPs were very highly expressed in female alates and at somewhat lower levels in male alates and workers. SiOBPs were differentially expressed, with unique signatures in various castes and tissues, suggesting functionality of SiOBPs beyond olfaction Expression patterns of SiOBP subgroups also showed relationships with their evolutionary relatedness. PMID:27765943

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-03-15

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

  5. Migrant Workers.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Social and Labour Bulletin, 1983

    1983-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Azémar, Frédéric; Roux, Olivier

    2014-01-01

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

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-02-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2003-01-01

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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Nectar foraging behaviour is affected by ant body size in Camponotus mus.

    PubMed

    Medan, Violeta; Josens, Roxana B

    2005-08-01

    The nectivorous ant Camponotus mus shows a broad size variation within the worker caste. Large ants can ingest faster and larger loads than small ones. Differences in physiological abilities in fluid ingestion due to the insect size could be related to differences in decision-making according to ant size during nectar foraging. Sucrose solutions of different levels of sugar concentration (30% or 60%w/w), viscosity (high or low) or flow rate (ad libitum or 1microl/min) were offered in combination to analyse the behavioural responses to each of these properties separately. Differences were found depending on ant body size and the property compared. A regulated flow produced smaller crop loads for medium and large ants compared to the same solution given ad libitum. All foragers remained longer times feeding at the regulated flow source but larger ants often made longer interruptions. When sugar concentration was constant but viscosity was high, only large ants increased feeding time. Constant viscosity with different sugar concentration determined longer feeding time and bigger loads for the most concentrated solution for small but not for large ants. Small ants reached similar crop loads in a variety of conditions while large ants did not. These differences could be evidence of a possible specialization for nectar foraging based on ant body size.

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Trettin, Jürgen; Seyferth, Thomas; Heinze, Jürgen

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2007-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-06-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  3. 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...

  4. 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...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-10-01

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

  6. Occurrence of antennal glands in ants.

    PubMed

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

    2008-11-01

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

  7. The Trail Pheromone of the Venomous Samsum Ant, Pachycondyla sennaarensis

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  8. [Indian workers in Oman].

    PubMed

    Longuenesse, E

    1985-01-01

    savings. Working and living conditions are difficult: the hours are long, the weather is hot, housing conditions are primitive and provide no relief from the heat, the food supply is the minimum required, and almost no diversions are available. There are no unions even among Omani workers, and troublemakers are quickly repatriated. The Indian embassy occasionally intercedes for workers, brief work stoppages may occur if pay is delayed, and some conflicts are settled individually. Resistence among Indian workers may take less visible forms, especially absenteeism and requests for leave.

  9. Army ants: an evolutionary bestseller?

    PubMed

    Berghoff, Stefanie M

    2003-09-02

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

  10. 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

  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. Ant brood function as life preservers during floods.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-15

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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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…

  17. 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.

  18. Contingent workers.

    PubMed

    Guerrina, Ryan T; Burns, Candace M; Conlon, Helen

    2011-03-01

    Contingent workers compose a large portion of the U.S. work force. Contingent workers include temporary employees, contracted employees, day laborers, and freelancers. The skill level and educational requirements for their jobs vary from basic to highly advanced. Construction, housekeeping, engineering, and nursing have such positions. U.S. contingent workers are more likely to engage in occupations associated with increased risk of injury, and a variety of factors increase their risk of work injuries, particularly those leading to death. This article focuses on select occupational health and safety issues affecting contingent workers and their implications for occupational health nurses.

  19. Ants: the supreme soil manipulators

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  20. Ant Colonies Prefer Infected over Uninfected Nest Sites

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Sendoya, Sebastián F; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2015-03-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. Current and potential ant impacts in the Pacific region

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Loope, Lloyd L.; Krushelnycky, Paul D.

    2007-01-01

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

  4. Trophic ecology of the invasive argentine ant: spatio-temporal variation in resource assimilation and isotopic enrichment.

    PubMed

    Menke, Sean B; Suarez, Andy V; Tillberg, Chadwick V; Chou, Cheng T; Holway, David A

    2010-11-01

    Studies of food webs often employ stable isotopic approaches to infer trophic position and interaction strength without consideration of spatio-temporal variation in resource assimilation by constituent species. Using results from laboratory diet manipulations and monthly sampling of field populations, we illustrate how nitrogen isotopes may be used to quantify spatio-temporal variation in resource assimilation in ants. First, we determined nitrogen enrichment using a controlled laboratory experiment with the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). After 12 weeks, worker δ(15)N values from colonies fed an animal-based diet had δ(15)N values that were 5.51% greater compared to colonies fed a plant-based diet. The shift in δ(15)N values in response to the experimental diet occurred within 10 weeks. We next reared Argentine ant colonies with or without access to honeydew-producing aphids and found that after 8 weeks workers from colonies without access to aphids had δ(15)N values that were 6.31% larger compared to colonies with access to honeydew. Second, we sampled field populations over a 1-year period to quantify spatio-temporal variability in isotopic ratios of L. humile and those of a common native ant (Solenopsis xyloni). Samples from free-living colonies revealed that fluctuations in δ(15)N were 1.6-2.4‰ for L. humile and 1.8-2.9‰ for S. xyloni. Variation was also detected among L. humile castes: time averaged means of δ(15)N varied from 1.2 to 2.5‰ depending on the site, with δ(15)N values for queens ≥ workers > brood. The estimated trophic positions of L. humile and S. xyloni were similar within a site; however, trophic position for each species differed significantly at larger spatial scales. While stable isotopes are clearly useful for examining the trophic ecology of arthropod communities, our results suggest that caution is warranted when making ecological interpretations when stable isotope collections come from single time periods or

  5. Trophic ecology of the invasive argentine ant: spatio-temporal variation in resource assimilation and isotopic enrichment

    PubMed Central

    Suarez, Andy V.; Tillberg, Chadwick V.; Chou, Cheng T.; Holway, David A.

    2010-01-01

    Studies of food webs often employ stable isotopic approaches to infer trophic position and interaction strength without consideration of spatio-temporal variation in resource assimilation by constituent species. Using results from laboratory diet manipulations and monthly sampling of field populations, we illustrate how nitrogen isotopes may be used to quantify spatio-temporal variation in resource assimilation in ants. First, we determined nitrogen enrichment using a controlled laboratory experiment with the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). After 12 weeks, worker δ15N values from colonies fed an animal-based diet had δ15N values that were 5.51% greater compared to colonies fed a plant-based diet. The shift in δ15N values in response to the experimental diet occurred within 10 weeks. We next reared Argentine ant colonies with or without access to honeydew-producing aphids and found that after 8 weeks workers from colonies without access to aphids had δ15N values that were 6.31% larger compared to colonies with access to honeydew. Second, we sampled field populations over a 1-year period to quantify spatio-temporal variability in isotopic ratios of L. humile and those of a common native ant (Solenopsis xyloni). Samples from free-living colonies revealed that fluctuations in δ15N were 1.6–2.4‰ for L. humile and 1.8–2.9‰ for S. xyloni. Variation was also detected among L. humile castes: time averaged means of δ15N varied from 1.2 to 2.5‰ depending on the site, with δ15N values for queens ≥ workers > brood. The estimated trophic positions of L. humile and S. xyloni were similar within a site; however, trophic position for each species differed significantly at larger spatial scales. While stable isotopes are clearly useful for examining the trophic ecology of arthropod communities, our results suggest that caution is warranted when making ecological interpretations when stable isotope collections come from single time periods or

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Kadochová, Štěpánka; Frouz, Jan

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kadochová, Stěpánka; Frouz, Jan

    2013-01-01

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

  9. Non-transferable signals on ant queen eggs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-03-01

    How biological systems resolve internal conflicts is a major evolutionary question. Social insect workers cooperate but also pursue individual interests, such as laying male eggs. The rewards of this individual selfishness can be reduced by policing, such as by killing worker-laid eggs. However, selfish individuals may evade policing. What factors prevent individuals from being able to evade policing? In the ant Pachycondyla inversa, workers kill (police) worker-laid eggs. Because the colony keeps eggs in piles and worker-laid and queen-laid eggs are chemically distinct, worker-laid eggs might become more acceptable once placed in the egg pile by odour transfer from touching queen-laid eggs. Here, we show that such “cue scrambling” does not occur. Worker-laid eggs that were sandwiched between three queen-laid eggs for 45 min were not more acceptable in a policing bioassay than control worker-laid eggs. Chemical analyses also showed that the surface hydrocarbon profile of these eggs was unchanged. Policing, therefore, is stable against this potential cheating mechanism probably because queen-laid eggs are made chemically distinct using chemicals, that are not easily transferred by physical contact.

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Julian; Cahan

    1999-08-01

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

  12. 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

  13. Design development scopes towards occupational wellness of women workers: specific reference to local agro based food processing industries in NE India.

    PubMed

    Bhattacharyya, Nandita; Chakrabarti, Debkumar

    2012-01-01

    Women workers constitute one of the most vulnerable segments of the country's labour force. They often face different workplace health challenges than men do. They are engaged in a range of work that extends from heavy, monotonous, repetitive jobs, which are in many times experienced with low-paid and involves in long hours of work. Women's workplace health problems are frequently compounded by getting more of the same at home--the "double jeopardy" of domestic work. Specific issues to improve the workers motivation leading to enhancement of productivity and improving occupational health and safety were addressed. Context specific application of ergonomics principles were studied in the process of designing of work related equipment of local fruit processing units, as well as in tea industry, covering 180 subjects selected purposively. Ergonomic risk factors prevailed among the workers associates productivity and relevant health issues were quantified using QEC, RULA. NMQ was used to gather data on prevalence of CTDs among the workers. Pineapple peeling, tea leaves plucking were found highly labour intensive, done manually. Postures scores found were very high. WRMSDs were prevalent among the workers. Scope for ergonomic design intervention was observed to improve productivity and occupational health.

  14. The Frugal Cosmic Ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2007-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Cammaerts, Roger

    2016-01-01

    Working on three ant species of the genus Myrmica, M. ruginodis, M. rubra, and M. sabuleti, we showed that foragers can expect the subsequent time at which food will be available on the basis of the previous times at which food was present. The ants acquired this expectative ability right after having experienced two time shifts of food delivery. Moreover, the ants' learning score appeared to be a logarithmic function of time (i.e., of the number of training days). This ability to expect subsequent times at which an event will occur may be an advantageous ethological trait. PMID:27403457

  16. Polymorphism and division of labour in a socially complex ant: neuromodulation of aggression in the Australian weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina

    PubMed Central

    Kamhi, J. Frances; Nunn, Kelley; Robson, Simon K. A.; Traniello, James F. A.

    2015-01-01

    Complex social structure in eusocial insects can involve worker morphological and behavioural differentiation. Neuroanatomical variation may underscore worker division of labour, but the regulatory mechanisms of size-based task specialization in polymorphic species are unknown. The Australian weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina, exhibits worker polyphenism: larger major workers aggressively defend arboreal territories, whereas smaller minors nurse brood. Here, we demonstrate that octopamine (OA) modulates worker size-related aggression in O. smaragdina. We found that the brains of majors had significantly higher titres of OA than those of minors and that OA was positively and specifically correlated with the frequency of aggressive responses to non-nestmates, a key component of territorial defence. Pharmacological manipulations that effectively switched OA action in major and minor worker brains reversed levels of aggression characteristic of each worker size class. Results suggest that altering OA action is sufficient to produce differences in aggression characteristic of size-related social roles. Neuromodulators therefore may generate variation in responsiveness to task-related stimuli associated with worker size differentiation and collateral behavioural specializations, a significant component of division of labour in complex social systems. PMID:26136448

  17. Temperature limits trail following behaviour through pheromone decay in ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Oudenhove, Louise; Billoir, Elise; Boulay, Raphaël; Bernstein, Carlos; Cerdá, Xim

    2011-12-01

    In Mediterranean habitats, temperature affects both ant foraging behaviour and community structure. Many studies have shown that dominant species often forage at lower temperature than subordinates. Yet, the factors that constrain dominant species foraging activity in hot environments are still elusive. We used the dominant ant Tapinoma nigerrimum as a model species to test the hypothesis that high temperatures hinder trail following behaviour by accelerating pheromone degradation. First, field observations showed that high temperatures (> 30°C) reduce the foraging activity of T. nigerrimum independently of the daily and seasonal rhythms of this species. Second, we isolated the effect of high temperatures on pheromone trail efficacy from its effect on worker physiology. A marked substrate was heated during 10 min (five temperature treatments from 25°C to 60°C), cooled down to 25°C, and offered in a test choice to workers. At hot temperature treatments (>40°C), workers did not discriminate the previously marked substrate. High temperatures appeared therefore to accelerate pheromone degradation. Third, we assessed the pheromone decay dynamics by a mechanistic model fitted with Bayesian inference. The model predicted ant choice through the evolution of pheromone concentration on trails as a function of both temperature and time since pheromone deposition. Overall, our results highlighted that the effect of high temperatures on recruitment intensity was partly due to pheromone evaporation. In the Mediterranean ant communities, this might affect dominant species relying on chemical recruitment, more than subordinate ant species, less dependent on chemical communication and less sensitive to high temperatures.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

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

  19. Caste-specific RNA editomes in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior

    PubMed Central

    Li, Qiye; Wang, Zongji; Lian, Jinmin; Schiøtt, Morten; Jin, Lijun; Zhang, Pei; Zhang, Yanyan; Nygaard, Sanne; Peng, Zhiyu; Zhou, Yang; Deng, Yuan; Zhang, Wenwei; Boomsma, Jacobus J.; Zhang, Guojie

    2014-01-01

    Eusocial insects have evolved the capacity to generate adults with distinct morphological, reproductive and behavioural phenotypes from the same genome. Recent studies suggest that RNA editing might enhance the diversity of gene products at the post-transcriptional level, particularly to induce functional changes in the nervous system. Using head samples from the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior, we compare RNA editomes across eusocial castes, identifying ca. 11,000 RNA editing sites in gynes, large workers and small workers. Those editing sites map to 800 genes functionally enriched for neurotransmission, circadian rhythm, temperature response, RNA splicing and carboxylic acid biosynthesis. Most A. echinatior editing sites are species specific, but 8–23% are conserved across ant subfamilies and likely to have been important for the evolution of eusociality in ants. The level of editing varies for the same site between castes, suggesting that RNA editing might be a general mechanism that shapes caste behaviour in ants. PMID:25266559

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Ants Learn Aphid Species as Mutualistic Partners: Is the Learning Behavior Species-Specific?

    PubMed

    Hayashi, Masayuki; Nakamuta, Kiyoshi; Nomura, Masashi

    2015-12-01

    In ant-aphid associations, many aphid species provide ants with honeydew and are tended by ants, whereas others are never tended and are frequently preyed upon by ants. In these relationships, ants must have the ability to discriminate among aphid species, with mutualistic aphids being accepted as partners rather than prey. Although ants reportedly use cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) of aphids to differentiate between mutualistic and non-mutualistic species, it is unclear whether the ability to recognize mutualistic aphid species as partners is innate or involves learning. Therefore, we tested whether aphid recognition by ants depends on learning, and whether the learning behavior is species-specific. When workers of the ant Tetramorium tsushimae had previously tended the cowpea aphid, Aphis craccivora, they were less aggressive toward this species. In addition, ants also reduced their aggressiveness toward another mutualistic aphid species, Aphis fabae, after tending A. craccivora, whereas ants remained aggressive toward the non-mutualistic aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, regardless of whether or not they had previous experience in tending A. craccivora. When ants were offered glass dummies treated with CHCs of these aphid species, ants that had tended A. craccivora displayed reduced aggression toward CHCs of A. craccivora and A. fabae. Chemical analyses showed the similarity of the CHC profiles between A. craccivora and A. fabae but not with A. pisum. These results suggest that aphid recognition of ants involves learning, and that the learning behavior may not be species-specific because of the similarity of CHCs between different aphid species with which they form mutualisms.

  4. Ant Mimicry by an Aphid Parasitoid, Lysiphlebus fabarum

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    In Iran, Lysiphlebus fabarum (Marshall) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Aphidiinae) is a uniparental parasitoid of the black bean aphid, Aphis fabae Scopoli (Hemiptera: Aphididae), that possesses various highly evolved adaptations for foraging within ant-tended aphid colonies. Direct observations and video recordings were used to analyze the behavior of individual females foraging for A. fabae on bean leaf disks in open arenas in the laboratory. Females exploited aphids as hosts and as a source of food, allocating within-patch time as follows: resting - 10.4%, grooming - 8.2%, searching - 11.5%, antennation (host recognition) - 7.5%, antennation (honeydew solicitation mimicking ants) - 31.9%, abdominal bending (attack preparation) 19.7%, probing with the ovipositor (attack) - 10.8%. The mean handling time for each aphid encountered was 2.0 ± 0.5 min. Females encountered an average of 47.4 ± 6.4 aphids per hour, but laid only 1.2 eggs per hour. The ovipositor insertion time for parasitism ranged from 2 sec to longer than a minute, but most insertions did not result in an egg being laid. A. fabae defensive behaviors included kicking, raising and swiveling the body, and attempts to smear the attacker with cornicle secretions, sometimes with lethal results. Food deprivation for 4–6 h prior to testing increased the frequency of ant mimcry by L. fabarum. Females also used ant-like antennation to reduce A. fabae defensive behavior, e.g. the frequency of kicking. L. fabarum attacks primed A. fabae to be more responsive to subsequent honeydew solicitation, such that experienced females improved their feeding success by alternating between the roles of parasitoid and ant mimic. These results reveal the possibility for mutualisms to evolve between L. fabarum and the ant species that tend A. fabae, since L. fabarum receive ant protection for their progeny and may benefit the ants by improving A. fabae responsiveness to honeydew solicitation. PMID:20879920

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  6. Distributed nestmate recognition in ants

    PubMed Central

    Esponda, Fernando; Gordon, Deborah M.

    2015-01-01

    We propose a distributed model of nestmate recognition, analogous to the one used by the vertebrate immune system, in which colony response results from the diverse reactions of many ants. The model describes how individual behaviour produces colony response to non-nestmates. No single ant knows the odour identity of the colony. Instead, colony identity is defined collectively by all the ants in the colony. Each ant responds to the odour of other ants by reference to its own unique decision boundary, which is a result of its experience of encounters with other ants. Each ant thus recognizes a particular set of chemical profiles as being those of non-nestmates. This model predicts, as experimental results have shown, that the outcome of behavioural assays is likely to be variable, that it depends on the number of ants tested, that response to non-nestmates changes over time and that it changes in response to the experience of individual ants. A distributed system allows a colony to identify non-nestmates without requiring that all individuals have the same complete information and helps to facilitate the tracking of changes in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, because only a subset of ants must respond to provide an adequate response. PMID:25833853

  7. Distributed nestmate recognition in ants.

    PubMed

    Esponda, Fernando; Gordon, Deborah M

    2015-05-07

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

  8. Queen Specific Exocrine Glands in Legionary Ants and Their Possible Function in Sexual Selection

    PubMed Central

    Hölldobler, Bert

    2016-01-01

    The colonies of army ants and some other legionary ant species have single, permanently wingless queens with massive post petioles and large gasters. Such highly modified queens are called dichthadiigynes. This paper presents the unusually rich exocrine gland endowment of dichthadiigynes, which is not found in queens of other ant species. It has been suggested these kinds of glands produce secretions that attract and maintain worker retinues around queens, especially during migration. However, large worker retinues also occur in non-legionary species whose queens do not have such an exuberance of exocrine glands. We argue and present evidence in support of our previously proposed hypothesis that the enormous outfit of exocrine glands found in dichthadiigynes is due to sexual selection mediated by workers as the main selecting agents. PMID:26986740

  9. 9 CFR 352.4 - Application for ante-mortem inspection service in the field.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ... service in the field. 352.4 Section 352.4 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE... Animals § 352.4 Application for ante-mortem inspection service in the field. Any exotic animal producer desiring field ante-mortem exotic animal inspection service must receive approval of the field...

  10. 9 CFR 352.4 - Application for ante-mortem inspection service in the field.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... service in the field. 352.4 Section 352.4 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE... Animals § 352.4 Application for ante-mortem inspection service in the field. Any exotic animal producer desiring field ante-mortem exotic animal inspection service must receive approval of the field...

  11. SUMMARY OF RULES, REGULATIONS AND LAWS THAT AFFECT SEASONAL FARM AND FOOD PROCESSING WORKERS AND THEIR EMPLOYERS IN NEW YORK STATE.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    New York State Interdepartmental Committee on Farm and Food Processing Labor, Albany.

    NUMEROUS PROVISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE BY NEW YORK STATE TO ASSIST AND TO PROTECT FARMERS, THEIR WORKERS, AND THE PUBLIC. SPECIAL SERVICES AND LAWS SHOW THE NATURE OF THIS ASSISTANCE WITH REGARD TO THE ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION OF MIGRANT CHILD CARE PROGRAMS, EDUCATION OF MIGRANT CHILDREN, SANITARY REGULATIONS FOR FARM LABOR CAMPS, FARM LABOR…

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-08-01

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

  14. Foraging grass-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri) maintain stability by balancing their loads with controlled head movements.

    PubMed

    Moll, Karin; Roces, Flavio; Federle, Walter

    2010-07-01

    Grass-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri) carry leaf fragments several times heavier and longer than the workers themselves over considerable distances back to their nest. Workers transport fragments in an upright, slightly backwards-tilted position. To investigate how they maintain stability and control the carried fragment's position, we measured head and fragment positions from video recordings. Load-transporting ants often fell over, demonstrating the biomechanical difficulty of this behavior. Long fragments were carried at a significantly steeper angle than short fragments of the same mass. Workers did not hold fragments differently between the mandibles, but performed controlled up and down head movements at the neck joint. By attaching additional mass at the fragment's tip to load-carrying ants, we demonstrated that they are able to adjust the fragment angle. When we forced ants to transport loads across inclines, workers walking uphill carried fragments at a significantly steeper angle, and downhill at a shallower angle than ants walking horizontally. However, we observed similar head movements in unladen workers, indicating a generalized reaction to slopes that may have other functions in addition to maintaining stability. Our results underline the importance of proximate, biomechanical factors for the understanding of the foraging process in leaf-cutting ants.

  15. Nest site selection and induced response in a dominant arboreal ant species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dejean, Alain; Grangier, Julien; Leroy, Céline; Orivel, Jerôme; Gibernau, Marc

    2008-09-01

    It is well known that arboreal ants, both territorially dominant species and plant ants (e.g., species associated with myrmecophytes or plants housing them in hollow structures), protect their host trees from defoliators. Nevertheless, the presence of an induced defense, suggested by the fact that the workers discovering a leaf wound recruit nestmates, is only known for plant ants. Based on the results from a field study, we show here (1) that colonies of Azteca chartifex, a territorially dominant, neotropical arboreal ant species, mostly selected Goupia glabra (Goupiaceae) trees in which to build their principal carton nests and (2) that plant signals induced workers to recruit nestmates, which patrol the leaves, likely providing the plant with a biotic defense. Furthermore, the number of recruited workers was clearly higher on G. glabra, their most frequently selected host tree species, than on other tree species. These results show that contrary to what was previously believed, induced responses are also found in territorially dominant arboreal ants and so are not limited to the specific associations between myrmecophytes and plant ants.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-01-01

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

  17. Genetic caste polymorphism and the evolution of polyandry in Atta leaf-cutting ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evison, Sophie Elizabeth Frances; Hughes, William O. H.

    2011-08-01

    Multiple mating by females with different males (polyandry) is difficult to explain in many taxa because it carries significant costs to females, yet benefits are often hard to identify. Polyandry is a derived trait in social insects, the evolutionary origins of which remain unclear. One of several leading hypotheses for its evolution is that it improves division of labour by increasing intra-colonial genetic diversity. Division of labour is a key player in the ecological success of social insects, and in many successful species of ants is based on morphologically distinct castes of workers, each with their own task specialisations. Atta leaf-cutting ants exhibit one of the most extreme and complicated forms of morphologically specialised worker castes and have been reported to be polyandrous but with relatively low mating frequencies (~2.5 on average). Here, we show for the first time that there is a significant genetic influence on worker size in Atta colombica leaf-cutting ants. We also provide the first estimate of the mating frequency of Atta cephalotes (four matings) and, by analysing much higher within-colony sample sizes, find that Atta are more polyandrous than previously thought (approximately six to seven matings). The results show that high polyandry and a genetic influence on worker caste are present in both genera of leaf-cutting ants and add weight to the hypothesis that division of labour is a potential driver of the evolution of polyandry in this clade of ants.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  19. Olfactive detection of fig wasps as prey by the ant Crematogaster scutellaris (Formicidae; Myrmicinae).

    PubMed

    Schatz, Bertrand; Anstett, Marie-Charlotte; Out, Welmoed; Hossaert-McKey, Martine

    2003-10-01

    In the species-specific and obligate mutualism between the fig (Ficus carica) and its pollinator (the fig wasps Blastophaga psenes), a third participant, the ant Crematogaster scutellaris, is a predator of the wasps. Here, we ask how ant workers can rapidly localise such prey, whose availability is limited in time and space. Using a Y-tube olfactometer, we tested ant response to odours emitted by different types of figs (receptive female, ripe female or male figs) and by fig wasps (pollinators or non-pollinators). We demonstrate that ants were significantly attracted only to odours emitted by pollinators, either alone or associated with odours of male figs (releasing wasps). Detection of prey odour by ants is an important trait that can explain their observed high rate of predation on pollinators, and could have important implications on the stability of the fig/fig wasp mutualism.

  20. Neuromodulation of Nestmate Recognition Decisions by Pavement Ants

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  1. Immune priming and pathogen resistance in ant queens

    PubMed Central

    Gálvez, Dumas; Chapuisat, Michel

    2014-01-01

    Growing empirical evidence indicates that invertebrates become more resistant to a pathogen following initial exposure to a nonlethal dose; yet the generality, mechanisms, and adaptive value of such immune priming are still under debate. Because life-history theory predicts that immune priming and large investment in immunity should be more frequent in long-lived species, we here tested for immune priming and pathogen resistance in ant queens, which have extraordinarily long life span. We exposed virgin and mated queens of Lasius niger and Formica selysi to a low dose of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana, before challenging them with a high dose of the same pathogen. We found evidence for immune priming in naturally mated queens of L. niger. In contrast, we found no sign of priming in virgin queens of L. niger, nor in virgin or experimentally mated queens of F. selysi, which indicates that immune priming in ant queens varies according to mating status and mating conditions or species. In both ant species, mated queens showed higher pathogen resistance than virgin queens, which suggests that mating triggers an up-regulation of the immune system. Overall, mated ant queens combine high reproductive output, very long life span, and elevated investment in immune defense. Hence, ant queens are able to invest heavily in both reproduction and maintenance, which can be explained by the fact that mature queens will be protected and nourished by their worker offspring. PMID:24963375

  2. 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.

  3. Queen pheromones in Temnothorax ants: control or honest signal?

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The division of reproductive labor among group members in insect societies is regulated by "queen pheromones". However, it remains controversial whether these are manipulative, i.e., actively suppress worker reproduction, or honestly signal the fertility status of the queen to which workers react in their own interest by refraining from laying eggs. Manipulative queen control is thought to lead to an evolutionary arms race between queens and workers, resulting in complex queen bouquets that diverge strongly among different populations and species. In contrast, honest signals would evolve more slowly and might therefore differ less strongly within and among species. Results We aimed at determining the tempo of the evolution of queen signals in two ways. First, we investigated whether queens of Temnothorax ants are capable of controlling egg laying by workers of their own, closely, and distantly related species. Second, we compared the species- and caste-specific patterns of cuticular hydrocarbons, which are assumed to convey information on reproductive status. In mixed-species colonies, queens were not able to fully suppress egg-laying and male production by workers of unrelated species, while workers did not reproduce under the influence of a queen from their own species. Furthermore, the chemical profiles differed more strongly among queens of different species than among the respective workers. Conclusions Our results suggest that cuticular hydrocarbons associated with fecundity are not fully conserved in evolution and evolve slightly faster than worker-specific components in the blend of cuticular hydrocarbons. While this higher rate of evolution might reflect an arms race between queens and workers, the observation that workers still respond to the presence of a queen from another species support the honest signal hypothesis. Future studies need to examine alternative explanations for a higher rate of evolution of queen-specific substances, such as

  4. Range expansion induces variation in a behavioural trait in an ant-plant mutualism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vittecoq, Marion; Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; McKey, Doyle; Blatrix, Rumsaïs

    2012-01-01

    Climate oscillations produce dramatic changes in species distribution, even in the tropics. The ant-plant Leonardoxa africana africana hosts and feeds the ant Petalomyrmex phylax, which provides protection against herbivores in return. Both partners of this symbiosis present a recent southward range expansion. To test whether the higher investment in sexuals (and thus lower investment in protective workers) previously documented on the colonization front is compensated by a more effective protective behaviour, we compared ant behavioural investment in plant defence between two populations, one in the core of the range and one on the colonization front. We induced ant patrolling activity by artificially damaging leaflets and measured this activity by counting patrolling ants and calculating the increase relative to constitutive patrolling activity measured on control (undamaged) leaflets. Contrary to our expectation, ant behavioural investment in plant defence was lower on the colonization front. Thus, production of fewer workers is not compensated by more protective behaviour of each. Instead, both traits contribute to a phenotype that is less mutualistic as a whole. By favouring increased allocation to dispersal, range expansion can shape ant behavioural traits and potentially the outcome of mutualism.

  5. Circadian consequences of social organization in the ant species Camponotus compressus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharma, Vijay Kumar; Lone, Shahnaz Rahman; Goel, Anubhuthi; Chandrashekaran, M. K.

    The locomotor activity rhythm of different castes of the ant species Camponotus compressus was monitored individually under laboratory light/dark (LD) cycles, and under continuous darkness (DD). The colony of this ant species comprises two sexual castes, the queens and the males, and three worker castes, namely the major, media, and minor workers. The virgin males and virgin queens display rhythmic activity patterns, but the mated queens were arrhythmic while laying eggs, with the rhythmicity resuming soon after egg-laying. Under the LD regime, major workers showed nocturnal patterns, while about 75% of the media workers displayed nocturnal patterns and about 25% showed diurnal patterns. Under the DD regime, most major workers exhibited circadian rhythm of activity with a single steady state, whereas media workers displayed two types of activity patterns, with activity patterns changing after 6-9 days in DD (turn-arounds). The pre-turn-around τ of the ants that showed nocturnal activity patterns during LD entrainment was <24 h after release into DD, which then became >24 h, after 6-9 days. On the other hand, the pre-turn-around τ of those ants that exhibited diurnal patterns during LD entrainment was first >24 h after release into DD, and then became <24 h, after 6-9 days. The activity of the minor workers neither entrained to LD cycles nor showed any sign of free-run in DD. It appears that the circadian clocks of the ant species C. compressus are flexible, and may perhaps depend upon the tasks assigned to them in the colony.

  6. 9 CFR 381.71 - Condemnation on ante mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2012-01-01 2012-01-01 false Condemnation on ante mortem inspection. 381.71 Section 381.71 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF... signs of drug or chemical poisoning shall be withheld from slaughter. (e) Ratites identified as...

  7. 9 CFR 381.71 - Condemnation on ante mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2014-01-01 2014-01-01 false Condemnation on ante mortem inspection. 381.71 Section 381.71 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF... signs of drug or chemical poisoning shall be withheld from slaughter. (e) Ratites identified as...

  8. 9 CFR 354.121 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2014-01-01 2014-01-01 false Ante-mortem inspection. 354.121 Section 354.121 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE... he may issue from time to time, be made of rabbits on the day of slaughter in any official...

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

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2011-01-01 2011-01-01 false Condemnation on ante mortem inspection. 381.71 Section 381.71 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF... signs of drug or chemical poisoning shall be withheld from slaughter. (e) Ratites identified as...

  10. 9 CFR 354.121 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2011-01-01 2011-01-01 false Ante-mortem inspection. 354.121 Section 354.121 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE... he may issue from time to time, be made of rabbits on the day of slaughter in any official...

  11. 9 CFR 354.121 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2012-01-01 2012-01-01 false Ante-mortem inspection. 354.121 Section 354.121 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE... he may issue from time to time, be made of rabbits on the day of slaughter in any official...

  12. 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...

  13. Effect of aromatic cedar mulch on Argentine ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) foraging activity and nest establishment.

    PubMed

    Meissner, Heike E; Silverman, Jules

    2003-06-01

    In the laboratory, Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), mortality was positively correlated to the length of an aromatic cedar mulch section that had to be crossed before food could be reached. When ants could access food without crossing the mulch, mortality was not correlated to mulch section length. In the field, Argentine ants showed a tendency to avoid aromatic cedar mulch as a nesting substrate. In plant beds alongside buildings the number of ant nests (pockets containing brood) found was not significantly different between aromatic cedar and cypress mulch. However, when pine straw mulch around oak trees was replaced with aromatic cedar or cypress mulch, a similar number of ant nests was found in the cypress mulch as in the original pine straw, whereas numbers in aromatic cedar mulch were significantly lower. Also, fewer ants were trailing on the trees surrounded by aromatic cedar mulch compared with cypress mulch or the original pine straw. The number of ants attracted to apple jelly baits placed alongside the buildings did not differ between mulch types; neither did the number of ant trails crossing the mulch beds around the buildings. We suggest that aromatic cedar mulch may help control Argentine ants and reduce insecticide input when applied in combination with conventional control methods.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Managerial practices regarding workers working while ill.

    PubMed

    Norton, D M; Brown, L G; Frick, R; Carpenter, L R; Green, A L; Tobin-D'Angelo, M; Reimann, D W; Blade, H; Nicholas, D C; Egan, J S; Everstine, K

    2015-01-01

    Surveillance data indicate that handling of food by an ill worker is a cause of almost half of all restaurant-related outbreaks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code contains recommendations for food service establishments, including restaurants, aimed at reducing the frequency with which food workers work while ill. However, few data exist on the extent to which restaurants have implemented FDA recommendations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net) conducted a study on the topic of ill food workers in restaurants. We interviewed restaurant managers (n = 426) in nine EHS-Net sites. We found that many restaurant policies concerning ill food workers do not follow FDA recommendations. For example, one-third of the restaurants' policies did not specifically address the circumstances under which ill food workers should be excluded from work (i.e., not be allowed to work). We also found that, in many restaurants, managers are not actively involved in decisions about whether ill food workers should work. Additionally, almost 70% of managers said they had worked while ill; 10% said they had worked while having nausea or "stomach flu," possible symptoms of foodborne illness. When asked why they had worked when ill, a third of the managers said they felt obligated to work or their strong work ethic compelled them to work. Other reasons cited were that the restaurant was understaffed or no one was available to replace them (26%), they felt that their symptoms were mild or not contagious (19%), they had special managerial responsibilities that no one else could fulfill (11%), there was non-food handling work they could do (7%), and they would not get paid if they did not work or the restaurant had no sick leave policy (5%). Data from this study can inform future research and help policy makers target interventions designed to reduce the frequency with which food workers work while ill.

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

    PubMed

    Czaczkes, Tomer J; Heinze, Jürgen

    2015-07-07

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

  18. Attracting predators without falling prey: chemical camouflage protects honeydew-producing treehoppers from ant predation.

    PubMed

    Silveira, Henrique C P; Oliveira, Paulo S; Trigo, José R

    2010-02-01

    Predaceous ants are dominant organisms on foliage and represent a constant threat to herbivorous insects. The honeydew of sap-feeding hemipterans has been suggested to appease aggressive ants, which then begin tending activities. Here, we manipulated the cuticular chemical profiles of freeze-dried insect prey to show that chemical background matching with the host plant protects Guayaquila xiphias treehoppers against predaceous Camponotus crassus ants, regardless of honeydew supply. Ant predation is increased when treehoppers are transferred to a nonhost plant with which they have low chemical similarity. Palatable moth larvae manipulated to match the chemical background of Guayaquila's host plant attracted lower numbers of predatory ants than unchanged controls. Although aggressive tending ants can protect honeydew-producing hemipterans from natural enemies, they may prey on the trophobionts under shortage of alternative food resources. Thus chemical camouflage in G. xiphias allows the trophobiont to attract predaceous bodyguards at reduced risk of falling prey itself.

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

    Menzel, F; Blüthgen, N

    2010-01-01

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

  1. Pseudacteon calderensis, a new fly species (Diptera:Phoridae) attacking the fire ant Solenopsis interrupta (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) in northwestern Argentina

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A new species of Pseudacteon phorid fly Pseudacteon calderis (Diptera: Phoridae) is described from females attacking worker ants of Solenopsis interrupta Santschi in Salta and Jujuy provinces, northwestern Argentina. Pseudacteon calderis differs from almost all other South American Pseudacteon speci...

  2. Low host-pathogen specificity in the leaf-cutting ant-microbe symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Taerum, Stephen J; Cafaro, Matías J; Little, Ainslie E F; Schultz, Ted R; Currie, Cameron R

    2007-08-22

    Host-parasite associations are shaped by coevolutionary dynamics. One example is the complex fungus-growing ant-microbe symbiosis, which includes ancient host-parasite coevolution. Fungus-growing ants and the fungi they cultivate for food have an antagonistic symbiosis with Escovopsis, a specialized microfungus that infects the ants' fungus gardens. The evolutionary histories of the ant, cultivar and Escovopsis are highly congruent at the deepest phylogenetic levels, with specific parasite lineages exclusively associating with corresponding groups of ants and cultivar. Here, we examine host-parasite specificity at finer phylogenetic levels, within the most derived clade of fungus-growing ants, the leaf-cutters (Atta spp. and Acromyrmex spp.). Our molecular phylogeny of Escovopsis isolates from the leaf-cutter ant-microbe symbiosis confirms specificity at the broad phylogenetic level, but reveals frequent host-switching events between species and genera of leaf-cutter ants. Escovopsis strains isolated from Acromyrmex and Atta gardens occur together in the same clades, and very closely related strains can even infect the gardens of both ant genera. Experimental evidence supports low host-parasite specificity, with phylogenetically diverse strains of Escovopsis being capable of overgrowing all leaf-cutter cultivars examined. Thus, our findings indicate that this host-pathogen association is shaped by the farming ants having to protect their cultivated fungus from phylogenetically diverse Escovopsis garden pathogens.

  3. 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.

  4. Acquisition and expression of memories of distance and direction in navigating wood ants.

    PubMed

    Fernandes, A Sofia D; Philippides, Andrew; Collett, Tom S; Niven, Jeremy E

    2015-11-01

    Wood ants, like other central place foragers, rely on route memories to guide them to and from a reliable food source. They use visual memories of the surrounding scene and probably compass information to control their direction. Do they also remember the length of their route and do they link memories of direction and distance? To answer these questions, we trained wood ant (Formica rufa) foragers in a channel to perform either a single short foraging route or two foraging routes in opposite directions. By shifting the starting position of the route within the channel, but keeping the direction and distance fixed, we tried to ensure that the ants would rely upon vector memories rather than visual memories to decide when to stop. The homeward memories that the ants formed were revealed by placing fed or unfed ants directly into a channel and assessing the direction and distance that they walked without prior performance of the food-ward leg of the journey. This procedure prevented the distance and direction walked being affected by a home vector derived from path integration. Ants that were unfed walked in the feeder direction. Fed ants walked in the opposite direction for a distance related to the separation between start and feeder. Vector memories of a return route can thus be primed by the ants' feeding state and expressed even when the ants have not performed the food-ward route. Tests on ants that have acquired two routes indicate that memories of the direction and distance of the return routes are linked, suggesting that they may be encoded by a common neural population within the ant brain.

  5. Effects of predatory ants on lower trophic levels across a gradient of coffee management complexity.

    PubMed

    Philpott, S M; Perfecto, I; Vandermeer, J

    2008-05-01

    1. Ants are important predators in agricultural systems, and have complex and often strong effects on lower trophic levels. Agricultural intensification reduces habitat complexity, food web diversity and structure, and affects predator communities. Theory predicts that strong top-down cascades are less likely to occur as habitat and food web complexity decrease. 2. To examine relationships between habitat complexity and predator effects, we excluded ants from coffee plants in coffee agroecosystems varying in vegetation complexity. Specifically, we studied the effects of eliminating ants on arthropod assemblages, herbivory, damage by the coffee berry borer and coffee yields in four sites differing in management intensification. We also sampled ant assemblages in each management type to see whether changes in ant assemblages relate to any observed changes in top-down effects. 3. Removing ants did not change total arthropod densities, herbivory, coffee berry borer damage or coffee yields. Ants did affect densities of some arthropod orders, but did not affect densities of different feeding groups. The effects of ants on lower trophic levels did not change with coffee management intensity. 4. Diversity and activity of ants on experimental plants did not change with coffee intensification, but the ant species composition differed. 5. Although variation in habitat complexity may affect trophic cascades, manipulating predatory ants across a range of coffee agroecosystems varying in management intensity did not result in differing effects on arthropod assemblages, herbivory, coffee berry borer attack or coffee yields. Thus, there is no clear pattern that top-down effects of ants in coffee agroecosystems intensify or dampen with decreased habitat complexity.

  6. The ant genus Carebara Westwood in the Arabian Peninsula (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

    PubMed Central

    Sharaf, Mostafa R.; Aldawood, Abdulrahman S.

    2013-01-01

    Abstract The ant genus Carebara of the Arabian Peninsula is revised. Carebara abuhurayri Sharaf & Aldawood, 2011 is synonymized under Carebara arabica Collingwood & van Harten, 2001. Carebara arabica is redescribed and a Neotype is fixed based on a specimen collected from southwestern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A new species, C. fayrouzae sp. n. is described from Saudi Arabia based on queens, major and minor workers. Keys to major and minor workers of the two Arabian Carebara species are given. PMID:24363580

  7. Variation in butterfly larval acoustics as a strategy to infiltrate and exploit host ant colony resources.

    PubMed

    Sala, Marco; Casacci, Luca Pietro; Balletto, Emilio; Bonelli, Simona; Barbero, Francesca

    2014-01-01

    About 10,000 arthropods live as ants' social parasites and have evolved a number of mechanisms allowing them to penetrate and survive inside the ant nests. Many of them can intercept and manipulate their host communication systems. This is particularly important for butterflies of the genus Maculinea, which spend the majority of their lifecycle inside Myrmica ant nests. Once in the colony, caterpillars of Maculinea "predatory species" directly feed on the ant larvae, while those of "cuckoo species" are fed primarily by attendance workers, by trophallaxis. It has been shown that Maculinea cuckoo larvae are able to reach a higher social status within the colony's hierarchy by mimicking the acoustic signals of their host queen ants. In this research we tested if, when and how myrmecophilous butterflies may change sound emissions depending on their integration level and on stages of their life cycle. We studied how a Maculinea predatory species (M. teleius) can acoustically interact with their host ants and highlighted differences with respect to a cuckoo species (M. alcon). We recorded sounds emitted by Maculinea larvae as well as by their Myrmica hosts, and performed playback experiments to assess the parasites' capacity to interfere with the host acoustic communication system. We found that, although varying between and within butterfly species, the larval acoustic emissions are more similar to queens' than to workers' stridulations. Nevertheless playback experiments showed that ant workers responded most strongly to the sounds emitted by the integrated (i.e. post-adoption) larvae of the cuckoo species, as well as by those of predatory species recorded before any contact with the host ants (i.e. in pre-adoption), thereby revealing the role of acoustic signals both in parasite integration and in adoption rituals. We discuss our findings in the broader context of parasite adaptations, comparing effects of acoustical and chemical mimicry.

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

    PubMed Central

    Sala, Marco; Casacci, Luca Pietro; Balletto, Emilio; Bonelli, Simona; Barbero, Francesca

    2014-01-01

    About 10,000 arthropods live as ants' social parasites and have evolved a number of mechanisms allowing them to penetrate and survive inside the ant nests. Many of them can intercept and manipulate their host communication systems. This is particularly important for butterflies of the genus Maculinea, which spend the majority of their lifecycle inside Myrmica ant nests. Once in the colony, caterpillars of Maculinea “predatory species” directly feed on the ant larvae, while those of “cuckoo species” are fed primarily by attendance workers, by trophallaxis. It has been shown that Maculinea cuckoo larvae are able to reach a higher social status within the colony's hierarchy by mimicking the acoustic signals of their host queen ants. In this research we tested if, when and how myrmecophilous butterflies may change sound emissions depending on their integration level and on stages of their life cycle. We studied how a Maculinea predatory species (M. teleius) can acoustically interact with their host ants and highlighted differences with respect to a cuckoo species (M. alcon). We recorded sounds emitted by Maculinea larvae as well as by their Myrmica hosts, and performed playback experiments to assess the parasites' capacity to interfere with the host acoustic communication system. We found that, although varying between and within butterfly species, the larval acoustic emissions are more similar to queens' than to workers' stridulations. Nevertheless playback experiments showed that ant workers responded most strongly to the sounds emitted by the integrated (i.e. post-adoption) larvae of the cuckoo species, as well as by those of predatory species recorded before any contact with the host ants (i.e. in pre-adoption), thereby revealing the role of acoustic signals both in parasite integration and in adoption rituals. We discuss our findings in the broader context of parasite adaptations, comparing effects of acoustical and chemical mimicry. PMID:24718496

  9. Assessor Judgements and Everyday Worker Performance

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Timma, Hilary

    2005-01-01

    The subjective nature of assessment focuses attention on the prior perceptions that workplace assessors can bring to formal assessment activities, regarding the competence of workers. This paper draws on a study into workplace learning and assessment practices and the construction of worker identities, which was conducted at three food production…

  10. Thelytokous parthenogenesis and its consequences on inbreeding in an ant.

    PubMed

    Pearcy, M; Hardy, O; Aron, S

    2006-05-01

    Thelytokous parthenogenesis, that is, the production of diploid daughters from unfertilized eggs, may involve various cytological mechanisms, each having a different impact on the genetic structure of populations. Here, we determined the cytological mechanism of thelytokous parthenogenesis and its impact on inbreeding in the ant Cataglyphis cursor, a species where queens use both sexual and asexual reproduction to produce, respectively, workers and new queens. It has been suggested that thelytokous parthenogenesis in C. cursor might have been selected for to face high queen mortality and, originally, to allow workers to replace the queen when she passes away. We first determined the mode of thelytokous parthenogenesis by comparing the rate of transition to homozygosity at four highly polymorphic loci to expectations under the different modes of parthenogenesis. Our data show that thelytoky is achieved through automictic parthenogenesis with central fusion. We then estimated the proportion of colonies headed by worker-produced queens in a natural population. We designed a model linking the observed homozygosity in queens to the proportion of queens produced by workers, based on the assumption that (i) parthenogenesis is automictic with central fusion and (ii) queen lineage is asexually produced, resulting in an increase of the inbreeding over generations, whereas workers are sexually produced and therefore not inbred. Our results indicate that more than 60% of the colonies should be headed by a worker-produced queen, suggesting that queen's lifespan is low in this species.

  11. Pseudacteon decapitating flies (Diptera: Phoridae): Are they potential vectors of the fire ant pathogens Kneallhazia(=Thelohania)solenopsae (Microsporidia: Thelohaniidae)and Vairimorpha invictae (Microsporidia: Burenellidae)?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fire ant decapitating flies in the genus Pseudacteon were tested for their potential as hosts or vectors of two microsporidian pathogens of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Decapitating flies which attacked or were reared from S. invicta workers infected by Kneallhazia (=Thelohania)...

  12. Quantification of Supercolonial Traits in the Yellow Crazy Ant, Anoplolepis gracilipes

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Supercoloniality is a social structure displayed by many invasive ant species, but there has been surprisingly little research quantifying the extent to which individual species display traits underlying such social organisation. This study quantifies three traits for the yellow crazy ant, Anoplolepis gracilipes Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): little or no aggression between workers from different nests; the exchange of workers among nests; and resource exchange among nests, as well as supercolony structure arising from patterns of distribution and density of detections. Supercolonies displayed a structural continuum from being small (< 10 ha) and “aggregated” with great continuity among detections through to being large (> 10,000 ha) and “diffuse” with little continuity among detections. Smaller supercolonies had greater ant densities than larger supercolonies. In laboratory trials, no aggression was observed between workers from different nests sourced from different supercolonies, and paired nests merged within 24 hours. Workers lacked nest fidelity by rapidly populating artificial nests containing alien queens. The daily worker turnover rate per nest was estimated to be below 20%. Resources were readily moved among nests, with a resource being detected up to 13 m away from a source within 24 hours, and as far as 32 m after four days. The rate and distance of resource movement increased with increasing worker and nest density. This research has demonstrated that A. gracilipes displays supercoloniality equivalent to that of the well-studied Argentine ant Linepithema humile. Quantification of these traits is required for other supercolonial species to improve our understanding of this social strategy, especially for invasive ants to aid in understanding factors that promote invasion success and to improve management. PMID:25373172

  13. Norovirus: Food Handlers

    MedlinePlus

    ... Norovirus Infection, National Institutes of Health NoroCORE Food Virology For Food Workers Language: English Español (Spanish) Recommend ... Norovirus Infection, National Institutes of Health NoroCORE Food Virology Language: English Español (Spanish) File Formats Help: How ...

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-02-11

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

  15. Mushroom body volumes and visual interneurons in ants: comparison between sexes and castes.

    PubMed

    Ehmer, Birgit; Gronenberg, Wulfila

    2004-02-02

    The mushroom bodies are brain centers involved in complex behaviors such as learning and orientation. Here we examine the organization of mushroom bodies in ants, focusing on visual input. We describe the structure of visual neurons and compare the volume of brain structures involved in visual processing, especially the optic lobes and parts of the mushroom bodies receiving visual input in males, winged females, and workers of carpenter ants (Camponotus). A relatively small number of neurons connect the medulla with the mushroom bodies, and these neurons have relatively large dendritic fields in the medulla, suggesting low spatial resolution in ants. These neurons terminate in different yet overlapping strata in the mushroom bodies' collar region. While males have larger optic lobes than workers, their collar region is smaller than in females. Male ants have an additional type of medulla-mushroom body neuron with dendrites probing the distal medulla. These neurons are absent in female and worker ants. Most mushroom body Kenyon cells that are postsynaptic to visual input neurons appear to integrate visual as well as antennal input. This is in contrast to honey bees, where visual input to the mushroom bodies is more prominent and where Kenyon cells are not known to combine visual and antennal input.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  18. How to escape from the host nest: imperfect chemical mimicry in eucharitid parasitoids and exploitation of the ants' hygienic behavior.

    PubMed

    Pérez-Lachaud, Gabriela; Bartolo-Reyes, Juan Carlos; Quiroa-Montalván, Claudia M; Cruz-López, Leopoldo; Lenoir, Alain; Lachaud, Jean-Paul

    2015-04-01

    Communication in ants is based to a great extent on chemical compounds. Recognition of intruders is primarily based on cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) profile matching but is prone to being cheated. Eucharitid wasps are specific parasitoids of the brood of ants; the immature stages are either well integrated within the colony or are protected within the host cocoons, whereas adult wasps at emergence must leave their host nest to reproduce and need to circumvent the ant recognition system to escape unscathed. The behavioral interactions between eucharitid wasps and workers of their host, the Neotropical ant Ectatomma tuberculatum, are characterized. In experimental bioassays, newly emerged parasitoids were not violently aggressed. They remained still and were grabbed by ants upon contact and transported outside the nest; host workers were even observed struggling to reject them. Parasitoids were removed from the nest within five minutes, and most were unharmed, although two wasps (out of 30) were killed during the interaction with the ants. We analyzed the CHCs of the ant and its two parasitoids, Dilocantha lachaudii and Isomerala coronata, and found that although wasps shared all of their compounds with the ants, each wasp species had typical blends and hydrocarbon abundance was also species specific. Furthermore, the wasps had relatively few CHCs compared to E. tuberculatum (22-44% of the host components), and these were present in low amounts. Wasps, only partially mimicking the host CHC profile, were immediately recognized as alien and actively removed from the nest by the ants. Hexane-washed wasps were also transported to the refuse piles, but only after being thoroughly inspected and after most of the workers had initially ignored them. Being recognized as intruder may be to the parasitoids' advantage, allowing them to quickly leave the natal nest, and therefore enhancing the fitness of these very short lived parasitoids. We suggest that eucharitids take advantage

  19. 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

  20. Piperideine Alkaloids from the Poison Gland of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    It is well known that the major chemical components in the venom of the red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, are 2-methyl-6-alkyl or alkenyl piperidines. After isolating the extracts of poison glands and whole worker bodies with a column chromatography, we have obtained fractions conta...

  1. Intergenerational effect of juvenile hormone on offspring in Pogonomyrmex harvester ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Parents can influence the phenotypes of their offspring via a number of mechanisms. In harvester ants, whether female progeny develop into workers or daughter queens is strongly influenced by the age and temperature conditions experienced by their mother, which is associated with variation in mater...

  2. Honeydew-producing hemipterans in Florida associated with Nylanderia fulva (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), an invasive crazy ant

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) (Formicidae) is an invasive pest ant that has been reported in Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Workers tend various honeydew producing hemipterans in Florida landscapes and natural areas. We sought to understand the seasonal foraging activities of N. fulva and its ...

  3. Dynamic Wolbachia prevalence in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants: potential for a nutritional symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Andersen, S B; Boye, M; Nash, D R; Boomsma, J J

    2012-07-01

    Wolbachia are renowned as reproductive parasites, but their phenotypic effects in eusocial insects are not well understood. We used a combination of qrt-PCR, fluorescence in situ hybridization and laser scanning confocal microscopy to evaluate the dynamics of Wolbachia infections in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex octospinosus across developmental stages of sterile workers. We confirm that workers are infected with one or two widespread wsp genotypes of Wolbachia, show that colony prevalence is always 100% and characterize two rare recombinant genotypes. One dominant genotype is always present and most abundant, whereas another only proliferates in adult workers of some colonies and is barely detectable in larvae and pupae. An explanation may be that Wolbachia genotypes compete for host resources in immature stages while adult tissues provide substantially more niche space. Tissue-specific prevalence of the two genotypes differs, with the rarer genotype being over-represented in the adult foregut and thorax muscles. Both genotypes occur extracellularly in the foregut, suggesting an unknown mutualistic function in worker ant nutrition. Both genotypes are also abundant in the faecal fluid of the ants, suggesting that they may have extended functional phenotypes in the fungus garden that the ants manure with their own faeces.

  4. The Morphometry of Solenopsis Fire Ants

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2013-01-01

    Size-related changes of body shape were explored in 15 polymorphic species of Solenopsis fire ants by analyzing body weight along with linear measurements of 24 body parts. Log regression slopes were used to detect changes of shape with increasing size. Within species, the largest workers weighed from about 5 to 30-fold as much as the smallest. The range of within-species body lengths varied from 1.6 mm to 4 mm. As worker size increased, the gaster tended to make up a larger proportion of body length, usually at the cost of the petiole, and rarely at the cost of head length or mesosoma length. In most, the relative volume of the gaster increased and that of the head and mesosoma decreased. Most also showed an increasingly “humped” mesosoma. For all species, head shape changed from barrel-shaped to heart-shaped as worker size increased. Antennae became relatively shorter as the relative size of the club decreased. Shape changes of the legs were more variable. S. geminata was exceptional in the extreme nature of its head shape change, and was the only species in which relative head volume increased and gaster volume decreased with increasing body size. With the exception of S. geminata, the allometric rules governing shape are remarkably similar across species, suggesting a genus-level developmental scheme that is not easily modified by evolution. It also suggests that the evolution of shape is highly constrained by these conserved growth rules, and that it acts primarily (perhaps only) through allometric growth. The results are discussed in light of the growth of imaginal discs in a resource-limited body (the pupa). The substantial variation of allometries within species and across localities is also discussed in relation to using allometric patterns to identify species or to construct phylogenies. PMID:24260250

  5. Tax reform for low-wage workers.

    PubMed

    Seipel, M M

    2000-01-01

    As a result of the recent implementation of work-oriented antipoverty programs, more welfare recipients can be expected to be working in low-wage jobs. With these jobs there is little hope that these workers' incomes will rise above the poverty level. One way to help support these low-wage workers is through tax reform. Although low-wage workers pay little or no federal tax, they still pay high payroll and local taxes. To help such workers keep more of their earnings, refundable taxes like earned income tax credit and child refund taxes should be expanded, and sales taxes on food should be eliminated.

  6. Workers and alate queens of Solenopsis geminata share qualitatively similar but quantitatively different venom alkaloid chemistry

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The cis and trans alkaloids from body extracts of workers and alate queens of the tropical fire ant, Solenopsis geminata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), were successfully separated by silica gel chromatography, identified, and quantitated by GC-MS analysis. Both workers and alate queens produce primarily...

  7. Effects of Invasive European Fire Ants (Myrmica rubra) on Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) Reproduction

    PubMed Central

    DeFisher, Luke E.; Bonter, David N.

    2013-01-01

    Various invasive ant species have negatively affected reproductive success in birds by disrupting nest site selection, incubation patterns, food supply, and by direct predation on nestlings. Impacts can be particularly severe when non-native ants colonize seabird nesting islands where thousands of birds may nest in high densities on the ground or in burrows or crevices. Here we report on the first documented effects of Myrmica rubra, the European fire ant, on the reproduction of birds in its non-native range. We documented herring gulls (Larus argentatus) on Appledore Island, Maine, engaging in more erratic incubation behaviors at nests infested by the ants. Newly-hatched chicks in some nests were swarmed by ants, leading to rapid chick death. Due to high overall rates of chick mortality, survival probabilities did not vary between nests with and without ant activity, however chick growth rates were slower at nests with ants than at ant-free nests. Ant infestation likely leads to longer-term fitness consequences because slower growth rates early in life may ultimately lead to lower post-fledging survival probabilities. PMID:23691168

  8. Species-Specific Seed Dispersal in an Obligate Ant-Plant Mutualism

    PubMed Central

    Youngsteadt, Elsa; Baca, Jeniffer Alvarez; Osborne, Jason; Schal, Coby

    2009-01-01

    Throughout lowland Amazonia, arboreal ants collect seeds of specific plants and cultivate them in nutrient-rich nests, forming diverse yet obligate and species-specific symbioses called Neotropical ant-gardens (AGs). The ants depend on their symbiotic plants for nest stability, and the plants depend on AGs for substrate and nutrients. Although the AGs are limited to specific participants, it is unknown at what stage specificity arises, and seed fate pathways in AG epiphytes are undocumented. Here we examine the specificity of the ant-seed interaction by comparing the ant community observed at general food baits to ants attracted to and removing seeds of the AG plant Peperomia macrostachya. We also compare seed removal rates under treatments that excluded vertebrates, arthropods, or both. In the bait study, only three of 70 ant species collected P. macrostachya seeds, and 84% of observed seed removal by ants was attributed to the AG ant Camponotus femoratus. In the exclusion experiment, arthropod exclusion significantly reduced seed removal rates, but vertebrate exclusion did not. We provide the most extensive empirical evidence of species specificity in the AG mutualism and begin to quantify factors that affect seed fate in order to understand conditions that favor its departure from the typical diffuse model of plant-animal mutualism. PMID:19194502

  9. 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.

  10. Nestmate recognition in ants is possible without tactile interaction.

    PubMed

    Brandstaetter, Andreas Simon; Endler, Annett; Kleineidam, Christoph Johannes

    2008-07-01

    Ants of the genus Camponotus are able to discriminate recognition cues of colony members (nestmates) from recognition cues of workers of a different colony (non-nestmates) from a distance of 1 cm. Free moving, individual Camponotus floridanus workers encountered differently treated dummies on a T-bar and their behavior was recorded. Aggressive behavior was scored as mandibular threat towards dummies. Dummies were treated with hexane extracts of postpharyngeal glands (PPGs) from nestmates or non-nestmates which contain long-chain hydrocarbons in ratios comparable to what is found on the cuticle. The cuticular hydrocarbon profile bears cues which are essential for nestmate recognition. Although workers were prevented from antennating the dummies, they showed significantly less aggressive behavior towards dummies treated with nestmate PPG extracts than towards dummies treated with non-nestmate PPG extracts. In an additional experiment, we show that cis-9-tricosene, an alkene naturally not found in C. floridanus' cuticular profile, is behaviorally active and can interfere with nestmate recognition when presented together with a nestmate PPG extract. Our study demonstrates for the first time that the complex multi-component recognition cues can be perceived and discriminated by ants at close range. We conclude that contact chemosensilla are not crucial for nestmate recognition since tactile interaction is not necessary.

  11. Consequences of prescribed fire and grazing on grassland ant communities.

    PubMed

    Underwood, Emma C; Christian, Caroline E

    2009-04-01

    Prescribed fire and livestock grazing are used for the management and restoration of native grasslands the world over; however, the effects of these management techniques on ant communities are unclear. We examined the response of ants to these disturbances in grasslands in northern California. Twenty-four 30 by 30 m plots were established across two sites that received one of four treatments: grazing, fire, grazing and fire, or no treatment. Ants were censused using 240 pitfall traps with one preburn and two postburn samples (14 d and 1 yr after burning). We analyzed ant abundance using broadly defined groups based on feeding habit and/or habitat use and detected no grazing effect but a significant fire effect that differed by group. Immediate postfire sampling showed an increase in cryptic species (particularly Brachymyrmex depilis). One year after the fire, no response was detected for cryptic species, but burned plots had greater abundance of seed harvesters. Analysis of vegetation showed burned plots had significantly greater forb cover, which might have provided greater food resources, and also lower biomass, which might have facilitated foraging. Understanding the effects of these management tools on ant abundance complements our understanding of their effect on vegetation and assists conservation practitioners effectively manage grassland ecosystems both in California and beyond.

  12. Bug City: Ants [Videotape].

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    1998

    "Bug City" is a video series created to help children (grades 1-6) learn about insects and other small critters. All aspects of bug life are touched upon including body structure, food, habitat, life cycle, mating habits, camouflage, mutualism (symbiosis), adaptations, social behavior, and more. Each program features dramatic microscopic…

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Sanders, Dirk; van Veen, F J Frank

    2011-05-01

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

  15. The Cafeteria Workers' Skills Enhancement Training Program. Performance Report.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Burt, Miriam

    A program was conducted by the Food and Beverage Workers Union in Washington, D.C., to provide workplace literacy classes for food service workers in the city's government agencies, universities, and museums. A curriculum for workplace literacy skills was developed, sites were selected, and students were recruited. From a target audience of…

  16. Intrinsic worker mortality depends on behavioral caste and the queens' presence in a social insect.

    PubMed

    Kohlmeier, Philip; Negroni, Matteo Antoine; Kever, Marion; Emmling, Stefanie; Stypa, Heike; Feldmeyer, Barbara; Foitzik, Susanne

    2017-04-01

    According to the classic life history theory, selection for longevity depends on age-dependant extrinsic mortality and fecundity. In social insects, the common life history trade-off between fecundity and longevity appears to be reversed, as the most fecund individual, the queen, often exceeds workers in lifespan several fold. But does fecundity directly affect intrinsic mortality also in social insect workers? And what is the effect of task on worker mortality? Here, we studied how social environment and behavioral caste affect intrinsic mortality of ant workers. We compared worker survival between queenless and queenright Temnothorax longispinosus nests and demonstrate that workers survive longer under the queens' absence. Temnothorax ant workers fight over reproduction when the queen is absent and dominant workers lay eggs. Worker fertility might therefore increase lifespan, possibly due to a positive physiological link between fecundity and longevity, or better care for fertile workers. In social insects, division of labor among workers is age-dependant with young workers caring for the brood and old ones going out to forage. We therefore expected nurses to survive longer than foragers, which is what we found. Surprisingly, inactive inside workers showed a lower survival than nurses but comparable to that of foragers. The reduced longevity of inactive workers could be due to them being older than the nurses, or due to a positive effect of activity on lifespan. Overall, our study points to behavioral caste-dependent intrinsic mortality rates and a positive association between fertility and longevity not only in queens but also in ant workers.

  17. Adaptive Radiation in Socially Advanced Stem-Group Ants from the Cretaceous.

    PubMed

    Barden, Phillip; Grimaldi, David A

    2016-02-22

    Across terrestrial ecosystems, modern ants are ubiquitous. As many as 94 out of every 100 individual arthropods in rainforests are ants, and they constitute up to 15% of animal biomass in the Amazon. Moreover, ants are pervasive agents of natural selection as over 10,000 arthropod species are specialized inquilines or myrmecomorphs living among ants or defending themselves through mimicry. Such impact is traditionally explained by sociality: ants are the first major group of ground-dwelling predatory insects to become eusocial, increasing efficiency of tasks and establishing competitive superiority over solitary species. A wealth of specimens from rich deposits of 99 million-year-old Burmese amber resolves ambiguity regarding sociality and diversity in the earliest ants. The stem-group genus Gerontoformica maintained distinct reproductive castes including morphotypes unknown in solitary aculeate (stinging) wasps, providing insight into early behavior. We present rare aggregations of workers, indicating group recruitment as well as an instance of interspecific combat; such aggression is a social feature of modern ants. Two species and an unusual new genus are described, further expanding the remarkable diversity of early ants. Stem-group ants are recovered as a paraphyletic assemblage at the base of modern lineages varying greatly in size, form, and mouthpart structure, interpreted here as an adaptive radiation. Though Cretaceous stem-group ants were eusocial and adaptively diverse, we hypothesize that their extinction resulted from the rise of competitively superior crown-group taxa that today form massive colonies, consistent with Wilson and Hölldobler's concept of "dynastic succession."

  18. Collective choice in ants: the role of protein and carbohydrates ratios.

    PubMed

    Arganda, S; Nicolis, S C; Perochain, A; Péchabadens, C; Latil, G; Dussutour, A

    2014-10-01

    In a foraging context, social insects make collective decisions from individuals responding to local information. When faced with foods varying in quality, ants are known to be able to select the best food source using pheromone trails. Until now, studies investigating collective decisions have focused on single nutrients, mostly carbohydrates. In the environment, the foods available are a complex mixture and are composed of various nutrients, available in different forms. In this paper, we explore the effect of protein to carbohydrate ratio on ants' ability to detect and choose between foods with different protein characteristics (free amino acids or whole proteins). In a two-choice set up, Argentine ants Linepithema humile were presented with two artificial foods containing either whole protein or amino acids in two different dietary conditions: high protein food or high carbohydrate food. At the collective level, when ants were faced with high carbohydrate foods, they did not show a preference between free amino acids or whole proteins, while a preference for free amino acids emerged when choosing between high protein foods. At the individual level, the probability of feeding was higher for high carbohydrates food and for foods containing free amino acids. Two mathematical models were developed to evaluate the importance of feeding probability in collective food selection. A first model in which a forager deposits pheromone only after feeding, and a second model in which a forager always deposits pheromone, but with greater intensity after feeding. Both models were able to predict free amino acid selection, however the second one was better able to reproduce the experimental results suggesting that modulating trail strength according to feeding probability is likely the mechanism explaining amino acid preference at a collective level in Argentine ants.

  19. Caste discrimination in the ant Odontomachus hastatus: What role for behavioral and chemical cues?

    PubMed

    Berthelot, Kévin; Ramon Portugal, Felipe; Jeanson, Raphaël

    2017-04-01

    In social insects, the maintenance of genetic colony integrity requires resident workers to recognize any intruder with a reproductive potential and to behave appropriately to minimize fitness costs. In this study, our objective was to identify the relative contribution of the behavioral patterns and chemical cues of intruders with different fertility status on their likelihood of being accepted in monogynous colonies. Using the ponerine ant Odontomachus hastatus as a model organism, we introduced non-nestmate workers, founding queens and heterospecific workers on intact nests in the field. We demonstrated that resident workers were more aggressive toward founding queens than toward non-nestmates workers originating from the same or a distant population. Lab experiments showed that the patterns of aggression did not differ substantially between chilled and live ants, which suggests that chemical cues alone allow caste discrimination. However, the absence of behavioral cues produced more variable results in the outcome of interactions. We also showed that resident workers readily accepted non-nestmate mature queens. The analysis of cuticular profiles revealed that individuals belonging to different castes and fertility status have contrasted chemical signatures. Overall, our study revealed that workers exhibit a graded behavioral response depending on the reproductive status of intruders. We discussed the observed variation in the extent of aggression in relation to the potential fitness costs associated with acceptance or rejection error of individuals differing in fertility status.

  20. Actinomycetes inhibit filamentous fungi from the cuticle of Acromyrmex leafcutter ants.

    PubMed

    Dângelo, Rômulo Augusto Cotta; de Souza, Danival José; Mendes, Thais Demarchi; Couceiro, Joel da Cruz; Lucia, Terezinha Maria Castro Della

    2016-03-01

    Actinomycetes bacteria associated with leafcutter ants produce secondary metabolites with antimicrobial properties against Escovopsis, a fungus specialized in attacking the gardens of fungus-growing ants, which denies the ants their food source. Because previous studies have used fungi isolated from fungus gardens but not from ant integument, the aims of the present study were to isolate actinomycetes associated with the cuticle of the Acromyrmex spp. and to quantify their inhibition abilities against the filamentous fungal species carried by these ants. The results demonstrated that actinomycetes had varied strain-dependent effects on several filamentous fungal species in addition to antagonistic activity against Escovopsis. The strain isolated from Acromyrmex balzani was identified as a Streptomyces species, whereas the remaining isolates were identified as different strains belonging to the genus Pseudonocardia. These findings corroborate the hypothesis that actinomycetes do not act specifically against Escovopsis mycoparasites and may have the ability to inhibit other species of pathogenic fungi.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-06

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

  2. Macronutrient content of plant-based food affects growth of a carnivorous arthropod.

    PubMed

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

    2011-02-01

    Many arthropods engage in mutualisms in which they consume plant-based foods including nectar, extrafloral nectar, and honeydew. However, relatively little is known about the manner in which the specific macronutrients in these plant-based resources affect growth, especially for carnivorous arthropods. Using a combination of laboratory and field experiments, we tested (1) how plant-based foods, together with ad libitum insect prey, affect the growth of a carnivorous ant, Solenopsis invicta, and (2) which macronutrients in these resources (i.e., carbohydrates, amino acids, or both) contribute to higher colony growth. Access to honeydew increased the production of workers and brood in experimental colonies. This growth effect appeared to be due to carbohydrates alone as colonies provided with the carbohydrate component of artificial extrafloral nectar had greater worker and brood production compared to colonies deprived of carbohydrates. Surprisingly, amino acids only had a slight interactive effect on the proportion of a colony composed of brood and negatively affected worker survival. Diet choice in the laboratory and field matched performance in the laboratory with high recruitment to carbohydrate baits and only slight recruitment to amino acids. The strong, positive effects of carbohydrates on colony growth and the low cost of producing this macronutrient for plants and hemipterans may have aided the evolution of food-for-protection mutualisms and help explain why these interactions are so common in ants. In addition, greater access to plant-based resources in the introduced range of S. invicta may help to explain the high densities achieved by this species throughout the southeastern United States.

  3. Foliar Substrate Affects Cuticular Hydrocarbon Profiles and Intraspecific Aggression in the Leafcutter Ant Atta sexdens

    PubMed Central

    Valadares, Lohan; Nascimento, Daniela; Nascimento, Fabio S.

    2015-01-01

    Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) are traditionally considered to be one of the most important chemical cues used in the nestmate recognition process of social hymenopterans. However, it has been suggested that in the leafcutter ant genus Atta, it is not the CHCs, but the alarm pheromone that is involved in the nestmate recognition process. In this study we used a laboratory population of Atta sexdens to explore the association between their CHC profile variation and intraspecific aggression. In the first part of the experiment, four colonies were divided into two groups with distinct diets to stimulate differentiation of their CHC profiles. In the second part of the experiment, all colonies received the same diet to examine resemblance of chemical profiles. At the end of each part of the experiment we extracted the CHCs from workers. The results demonstrated that colonies that shared the same food resource had similar cuticular hydrocarbon profiles. Furthermore, colonies were significantly more aggressive towards conspecifics that used a different foliar substrate and consequently had greater differences in their cuticular chemical composition. This study suggests that the CHC profiles of A. sexdens can be affected by the foliar substrates used, and that the CHCs are used in the nestmate recognition process of this species. PMID:26463072

  4. Habitat contrasts reveal a shift in the trophic position of ant assemblages.

    PubMed

    Gibb, Heloise; Cunningham, Saul A

    2011-01-01

    1. Trophic structure within a guild can be influenced by factors such as resource availability and competition. While ants occupy a wide range of positions in food webs, and ant community composition changes with habitat, it is not well understood if ant genera tend to maintain their position in the trophic structure, or if trophic position varies across habitats. 2. We used ratios of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen to test for differences in the trophic structure and position of assemblages of ants among habitat types. We tested for differences between assemblages in replicate sites of the land use categories: (i) pastures with old large trees; (ii) recently revegetated pastures with small young trees; and (iii) remnant woodlands. Known insect herbivores and predatory spiders provided baselines for herbivorous and predaceous arthropods. Soil samples were used to correct for the base level of isotopic enrichment at each site. 3. We found no significant interactions between land use and ant genus for isotope enrichment, indicating that trophic structure is conserved across land use categories. The fixed relative positions of genera in the trophic structure might be re-enforced by competition or some other factor. However, the entire ant assemblage had significantly lower δ(15) N values in revegetated sites, suggesting that ants feed lower down in the food chain i.e. they are more 'herbivorous' in revegetated sites. This may be a result of the high availability of plant sugars, honeydew and herbivorous arthropod prey. 4. Surprisingly, ants in remnants and pastures with trees displayed similar isotopic compositions. Interactions within ant assemblages are thus likely to be resilient to changes in land use, but ant diets in early successional habitats may reflect the simplicity of communities, which may have comparatively lower rates of saprophagy and predation.

  5. How to find home backwards? Navigation during rearward homing of Cataglyphis fortis desert ants.

    PubMed

    Pfeffer, Sarah E; Wittlinger, Matthias

    2016-07-15

    Cataglyphis ants are renowned for their impressive navigation skills, which have been studied in numerous experiments during forward locomotion. However, the ants' navigational performance during backward homing when dragging large food loads has not been investigated until now. During backward locomotion, the odometer has to deal with unsteady motion and irregularities in inter-leg coordination. The legs' sensory feedback during backward walking is not just a simple reversal of the forward stepping movements: compared with forward homing, ants are facing towards the opposite direction during backward dragging. Hence, the compass system has to cope with a flipped celestial view (in terms of the polarization pattern and the position of the sun) and an inverted retinotopic image of the visual panorama and landmark environment. The same is true for wind and olfactory cues. In this study we analyze for the first time backward-homing ants and evaluate their navigational performance in channel and open field experiments. Backward-homing Cataglyphis fortis desert ants show remarkable similarities in the performance of homing compared with forward-walking ants. Despite the numerous challenges emerging for the navigational system during backward walking, we show that ants perform quite well in our experiments. Direction and distance gauging was comparable to that of the forward-walking control groups. Interestingly, we found that backward-homing ants often put down the food item and performed foodless search loops around the left food item. These search loops were mainly centred around the drop-off position (and not around the nest position), and increased in length the closer the ants came to their fictive nest site.

  6. Field evaluations of the efficacy of Distance Plus on invasive ant species in northern Australia.

    PubMed

    Webb, Garry A; Hoffmann, Benjamin D

    2013-08-01

    The efficacy of Distance Plus Ant Bait, containing the insect growth regulator pyriproxyfen, was tested in the field against two invasive ant species in northern Australia: African big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala (F.)) and yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes (Fr. Smith)). Results were also gained for a third pest species, Singapore ant (Monomorium destructor (Jerdon)), from one trial focused primarily on P. megacephala. Five studies were conducted throughout northern Australia, each with different protocols, but common to all was the broad-scale dispersal of Distance Plus, coupled with long-term monitoring of ant population levels. Additionally, a laboratory trial was conducted to assess if there was a direct toxic effect by the bait on A. gracilipes workers, and ant community data were collected at some sites in the A. gracilipes trial to assess nontarget impacts and subsequent ecological recovery. All three species were greatly affected by the treatments. The abundance of P. megacephala declined dramatically in all trials, and by the final assessment for each study, very few ants remained, with those remaining being attributable to edge effects from neighboring untreated properties. At both sites that it occurred, M. destructor was initially at least codominant with P. megacephala, but by the final assessment, only three M. destructor individuals were present at one lure at one site, and only a single individual at the other site. Abundance of A. gracilipes fell, on average, to 31% of control levels by 91 d and then slowly recovered, with subsequent treatments only providing slightly greater control. No direct toxic effect on workers was found in the laboratory trial, indicating that population declines of A. gracilipes were typical bait-related declines resulting from reduced worker replacement. Nontarget impacts of the bait could not be distinguished from the negative competitive impacts ofA. gracilipes, but there was a noticeable absence of some key

  7. Lazy workers are necessary for long-term sustainability in insect societies

    PubMed Central

    Hasegawa, Eisuke; Ishii, Yasunori; Tada, Koichiro; Kobayashi, Kazuya; Yoshimura, Jin

    2016-01-01

    Optimality theory predicts the maximization of productivity in social insect colonies, but many inactive workers are found in ant colonies. Indeed, the low short-term productivity of ant colonies is often the consequence of high variation among workers in the threshold to respond to task-related stimuli. Why is such an inefficient strategy among colonies maintained by natural selection? Here, we show that inactive workers are necessary for the long-term sustainability of a colony. Our simulation shows that colonies with variable thresholds persist longer than those with invariable thresholds because inactive workers perform the critical function of replacing active workers when they become fatigued. Evidence of the replacement of active workers by inactive workers has been found in ant colonies. Thus, the presence of inactive workers increases the long-term persistence of the colony at the expense of decreasing short-term productivity. Inactive workers may represent a bet-hedging strategy in response to environmental stochasticity. PMID:26880339

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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

  9. 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.

  10. Wood ant nests as hot spots of microbial activity in forest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jilkova, Veronika; Frouz, Jan

    2015-04-01

    Wood ants build large and long-lasting nests from organic materials and mineral soil which have a very special structure. Nests are well-aerated due to numerous chambers and galleries and stable temperature and moisture are maintained there thanks to ant activities. These conditions together with the constant input of easily available nutrients from food of ants support microbial activity. Due to respiration of ants and microbes, wood ant nests are known as hot spots of CO2 production in forest ecosystems. Although the main source of CO2 is represented by ant respiration, a significant amount of CO2 originates also from microbial decomposition of organic materials. Several conditions affect microbial respiration, such as moisture of nest material, changes in temperatures or food input. As mineral nutrients are released from organic materials, wood ant nests represent hot spots of mineral nutrients in forest ecosystems which can be exploited by other organisms, such as roots of trees, and can also cause heterogeneity in species abundance and composition.

  11. Phylogenomics and Divergence Dating of Fungus-Farming Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Genera Sericomyrmex and Apterostigma

    PubMed Central

    Ješovnik, Ana; González, Vanessa L.; Schultz, Ted R.

    2016-01-01

    Fungus-farming ("attine") ants are model systems for studies of symbiosis, coevolution, and advanced eusociality. A New World clade of nearly 300 species in 15 genera, all attine ants cultivate fungal symbionts for food. In order to better understand the evolution of ant agriculture, we sequenced, assembled, and analyzed transcriptomes of four different attine ant species in two genera: three species in the higher-attine genus Sericomyrmex and a single lower-attine ant species, Apterostigma megacephala, representing the first genomic data for either genus. These data were combined with published genomes of nine other ant species and the honey bee Apis mellifera for phylogenomic and divergence-dating analyses. The resulting phylogeny confirms relationships inferred in previous studies of fungus-farming ants. Divergence-dating analyses recovered slightly older dates than most prior analyses, estimating that attine ants originated 53.6–66.7 million of years ago, and recovered a very long branch subtending a very recent, rapid radiation of the genus Sericomyrmex. This result is further confirmed by a separate analysis of the three Sericomyrmex species, which reveals that 92.71% of orthologs have 99% - 100% pairwise-identical nucleotide sequences. We searched the transcriptomes for genes of interest, most importantly argininosuccinate synthase and argininosuccinate lyase, which are functional in other ants but which are known to have been lost in seven previously studied attine ant species. Loss of the ability to produce the amino acid arginine has been hypothesized to contribute to the obligate dependence of attine ants upon their cultivated fungi, but the point in fungus-farming ant evolution at which these losses occurred has remained unknown. We did not find these genes in any of the sequenced transcriptomes. Although expected for Sericomyrmex species, the absence of arginine anabolic genes in the lower-attine ant Apterostigma megacephala strongly suggests that

  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. The assembly of ant-farmed gardens: mutualism specialization following host broadening.

    PubMed

    Chomicki, Guillaume; Janda, Milan; Renner, Susanne S

    2017-03-15

    Ant-gardens (AGs) are ant/plant mutualisms in which ants farm epiphytes in return for nest space and food rewards. They occur in the Neotropics and Australasia, but not in Africa, and their evolutionary assembly remains unclear. We here use phylogenetic frameworks for important AG lineages in Australasia, namely the ant genus Philidris and domatium-bearing ferns (Lecanopteris) and flowering plants in the Apocynaceae (Hoya and Dischidia) and Rubiaceae (Myrmecodia, Hydnophytum, Anthorrhiza, Myrmephytum and Squamellaria). Our analyses revealed that in these clades, diaspore dispersal by ants evolved at least 13 times, five times in the Late Miocene and Pliocene in Australasia and seven times during the Pliocene in Southeast Asia, after Philidris ants had arrived there, with subsequent dispersal between these two areas. A uniquely specialized AG system evolved in Fiji at the onset of the Quaternary. The farming in the same AG of epiphytes that do not offer nest spaces suggests that a broadening of the ants' plant host spectrum drove the evolution of additional domatium-bearing AG-epiphytes by selecting on pre-adapted morphological traits. Consistent with this, we found a statistical correlation between the evolution of diaspore dispersal by ants and domatia in all three lineages. Our study highlights how host broadening by a symbiont has led to new farming mutualisms.

  14. Myrmecochory by small ants - Beneficial effects through elaiosome nutrition and seed dispersal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fokuhl, Gerriet; Heinze, Jürgen; Poschlod, Peter

    2012-01-01

    Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) is a common mutualism in temperate woodlands of the Northern hemisphere. In this paper we highlight the contribution of one of the most abundant ant species of Eastern Central Europe, Temnothorax crassispinus, to myrmecochory. In field and mesocosm studies we found that T. crassispinus workers disperse seeds over distances of up to 162 cm and carry them to their nests, thereby enabling the spread of Chelidonium majus seedlings. In a controlled feeding experiment with four different feeding regimes, we supplemented the respective diet of a fraction of the nests with the elaiosome-bearing seeds of C. majus and Scilla bifolia. Here, ant workers carried seeds to their nest and fed elaiosome pieces to their larvae. Subsequent production of sexual offspring and dry weights of sexual pupae were positively correlated with increasing feeding frequencies. With supplementary elaiosome feeding, the female dry weight was significantly higher, whereas the male dry weight decreased. Our results indicate a nutritional benefit from elaiosomes to the ants, which may cause shifts of investment, and at the same time underline the ecological relevance of Temnothorax ants for elaiosome-bearing plants.

  15. Trafficking and contract migrant workers in the Middle East.

    PubMed

    Jureidini, Ray

    2010-01-01

    The paper addresses a number of issues regarding the extent to which trafficking may be applied to migrant domestic workers who enter under the kafala system of sponsorship in the Middle East. Migrant domestic workers are the most numerous of those mentioned in reports on trafficking for labour exploitation in the region. The discussion seeks to determine whether "trafficking" can be ex post facto, rather than ex ante? In other words, can the label of trafficking be attributed only after the worker has arrived in the receiving country and is victimized according to the principles of trafficking protocols? In addition, must there be a proven intent to traffic by agents, or can employers who harm and/or exploit them be considered as traffickers alone? Should the harm done to workers on arrival at their place of work be classified (and assisted) as victims of trafficking, or as exploited workers?

  16. 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.

  17. Purpureocillium lilacinum, potential agent for biological control of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex lundii.

    PubMed

    Goffré, D; Folgarait, P J

    2015-09-01

    Many leaf-cutter ant species are well known pests in Latin America, including species of the genera Acromyrmex and Atta. An environmentally friendly strategy to reduce the number of leafcutter ants and avoid indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides is biological control. In this work we evaluated the effectiveness of a strain of the entomopathogen Purpureocillium lilacinum, against worker ants from six Acromyrmex lundii field colonies, after immersions in pure suspensions at a concentration of 1×10(6)conidiaml(-1). Survival of ants treated with P. lilacinum was significantly lower than that recorded in controls, and median lethal time (LT50) was 6-7days. P. lilacinum was responsible for 85.6% (80.6-89.7) of the mortality in inoculated ants, in which we found that the percentage of other entomopathogens that naturally infected ants decreased also, suggesting a good competitive capability of the fungus. Horizontal transmission to non-inoculated ants was also evidenced, given that 58.5% (41.9-64.2) of them died because of P. lilacinum. Moreover, we tested pathogenicity for three concentrations of this strain (1.0×10(4), 10(6) and 10(8)conidiaml(-1)) and found a significantly faster mortality of ants and greater median percentage of infection at 10(8)conidiaml(-1) of P. lilacinum. CL50 value was 2.8×10(5)conidiaml(-1). We thus propose the use of P. lilacinum as a biological control agent of leafcutter ants in crops and plantations.

  18. Outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis C in workers at a large food-processing plant in Brazil: challenges of controlling disease spread to the larger community.

    PubMed

    Iser, B P M; Lima, H C A V; de Moraes, C; de Almeida, R P A; Watanabe, L T; Alves, S L A; Lemos, A P S; Gorla, M C O; Gonçalves, M G; Dos Santos, D A; Sobel, J

    2012-05-01

    SUMMARYAn outbreak of meningococcal disease (MD) with severe morbidity and mortality was investigated in midwestern Brazil in order to identify control measures. A MD case was defined as isolation of Neisseria meningitidis, or detection of polysaccharide antigen in a sterile site, or presence of clinical purpura fulminans, or an epidemiological link with a laboratory-confirmed case-patient, between June and August 2008. In 8 out of 16 MD cases studied, serogroup C ST103 complex was identified. Five (31%) cases had neurological findings and five (31%) died. The attack rate was 12 cases/100 000 town residents and 60 cases/100 000 employees in a large local food-processing plant. We conducted a matched case-control study of eight primary laboratory-confirmed cases (1:4). Factors associated with illness in single variable analysis were work at the processing plant [matched odds ratio (mOR) 22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2·3-207·7, P<0·01], and residing <1 year in Rio Verde (mOR 7, 95% CI 1·11-43·9, P<0·02). Mass vaccination (>10 000 plant employees) stopped propagation in the plant, but not in the larger community.

  19. 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.

  20. New exocrine glands in ants: the hypostomal gland and basitarsal gland in the genus Melissotarsus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hölldobler, Bert; Obermayer, Malu; Plowes, Nicola J. R.; Fisher, Brian L.

    2014-07-01

    Fisher and Robertson (Insect Soc 46: 78-83, 1999) discovered the production of silk-like secretions emerging from slit-shaped openings along the anterior margin of the ventral hypostoma of Melissotarsus ant workers. The current histological study describes a hitherto unknown hypostomal gland from which this silk-like substance originates. In addition, this study describes a new basitarsal gland in the three pairs of legs of Melissotarsus workers.

  1. Predation and aggressiveness in host plant protection: a generalization using ants from the genus Azteca.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Grangier, Julien; Leroy, Céline; Orivel, Jerôme

    2009-01-01

    In studying the ant genus Azteca, a Neotropical group of arboreal species, we aimed to determine the extent to which the ants use predation and/or aggressiveness to protect their host plants from defoliating insects. We compared a territorially dominant, carton-nester, Azteca chartifex, and three plant-ant species. Azteca alfari and Azteca ovaticeps are associated with the myrmecophyte Cecropia (Cecropiaceae) and their colonies shelter in its hollow branches; whereas Azteca bequaerti is associated with Tococa guianensis (Melastomataceae) and its colonies shelter in leaf pouches situated at the base of the laminas. Whereas A. bequaerti workers react to the vibrations transmitted by the lamina when an alien insect lands on a leaf making it unnecessary for them to patrol their plant, the workers of the three other species rather discover prey by contact. The workers of all four species use a predatory behaviour involving spread-eagling alien insects after recruiting nestmates at short range, and, in some cases, at long range. Because A. alfari and A. ovaticeps discard part of the insects they kill, we deduced that the workers' predatory behaviour and territorial aggressiveness combine in the biotic defence of their host tree.

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

    PubMed Central

    Laskis, Kristina O.; Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2009-01-01

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

  3. 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

    2011-04-05

    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.

  4. Draft genome of the red harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus

    PubMed Central

    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

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21282651

  5. Species-Specific Cuticular Hydrocarbon Stability within European Myrmica Ants.

    PubMed

    Guillem, Rhian M; Drijfhout, Falko P; Martin, Stephen J

    2016-10-01

    Recognition is a fundamental process on which all subsequent behaviors are based at every organizational level, from the gene up to the super-organism. At the whole organism level, visual recognition is the best understood. However, chemical communication is far more widespread than visual communication, but despite its importance is much less understood. Ants provide an excellent model system for chemical ecology studies as it is well established that compounds known as cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) are used as recognition cues in ants. Therefore, stable species-specific odors should exist, irrespective of geographic locality. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the CHC profiles of workers of twelve species of Myrmica ants from four countries across Europe, from Iberia to the Balkans and from the Mediterranean to Fennoscandia. CHCs remained qualitatively stable within each species, right down to the isomer level. Despite the morphological similarity that occurs within the genus Myrmica, their CHCs were highly diverse but remarkably species-specific and stable across wide geographical areas. This indicates a genetic mechanism under strong selection that produces these species-specific chemical profiles, despite each species encountering different environmental conditions across its range.

  6. The Nest Architecture of the Ant Odontomachus brunneus

    PubMed Central

    Cerquera, Lina M.; Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2010-01-01

    The architecture of the subterranean nests of the ant Odontomachus brunneus (Patton) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) was studied by means of casts with dental plaster or molten metal. The entombed ants were later recovered by dissolution of plaster casts in hot running water. O. brunneus excavates simple nests, each consisting of a single, vertical shaft connecting more or less horizontal, simple chambers. Nests contained between 11 and 177 workers, from 2 to 17 chambers, and 28 to 340 cm2 of chamber floor space and reached a maximum depth of 18 to 184 cm. All components of nest size increased simultaneously during nest enlargement, number of chambers, mean chamber size, and nest depth, making the nest shape (proportions) relatively size-independent. Regardless of nest size, all nests had approximately 2 cm2 of chamber floor space per worker. Chambers were closer together near the top and the bottom of the nest than in the middle, and total chamber area was greater near the bottom. Colonies occasionally incorporated cavities made by other animals into their nests. PMID:20672980

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

    PubMed

    Masuko, Keiichi

    2014-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-01

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

  9. 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...

  10. Optimal cue integration in ants

    PubMed Central

    Wystrach, Antoine; Mangan, Michael; Webb, Barbara

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26400741

  11. Optimal cue integration in ants.

    PubMed

    Wystrach, Antoine; Mangan, Michael; Webb, Barbara

    2015-10-07

    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.

  12. Chemical structure of odorants and perceptual similarity in ants.

    PubMed

    Bos, Nick; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Guerrieri, Fernando J

    2013-09-01

    Animals are often immersed in a chemical world consisting of mixtures of many compounds rather than of single substances, and they constantly face the challenge of extracting relevant information out of the chemical landscape. To this purpose, the ability to discriminate among different stimuli with different valence is essential, but it is also important to be able to generalise, i.e. to treat different but similar stimuli as equivalent, as natural variation does not necessarily affect stimulus valence. Animals can thus extract regularities in their environment and make predictions, for instance about distribution of food resources. We studied perceptual similarity of different plant odours by conditioning individual carpenter ants to one odour, and subsequently testing their response to another, structurally different odour. We found that asymmetry in generalisation, where ants generalise from odour A to B, but not from B to A, is dependent on both chain length and functional group. By conditioning ants to a binary mixture, and testing their reaction to the individual components of the mixture, we show that overshadowing, where parts of a mixture are learned better than others, is rare. Additionally, generalisation is dependent not only on the structural similarity of odorants, but also on their functional value, which might play a crucial role. Our results provide insight into how ants make sense of the complex chemical world around them, for example in a foraging context, and provide a basis with which to investigate the neural mechanisms behind perceptual similarity.

  13. 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…

  14. 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...

  15. 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…

  16. Antennal RNA-sequencing analysis reveals evolutionary aspects of chemosensory proteins in the carpenter ant, Camponotus japonicus

    PubMed Central

    Hojo, Masaru K.; Ishii, Kenichi; Sakura, Midori; Yamaguchi, Katsushi; Shigenobu, Shuji; Ozaki, Mamiko

    2015-01-01

    Chemical communication is essential for the coordination of complex organisation in ant societies. Recent comparative genomic approaches have revealed that chemosensory genes are diversified in ant lineages, and suggest that this diversification is crucial for social organisation. However, how such diversified genes shape the peripheral chemosensory systems remains unknown. In this study, we annotated and analysed the gene expression profiles of chemosensory proteins (CSPs), which transport lipophilic compounds toward chemosensory receptors in the carpenter ant, Camponotus japonicus. Transcriptome analysis revealed 12 CSP genes and phylogenetic analysis showed that 3 of these are lineage-specifically expanded in the clade of ants. RNA sequencing and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction revealed that, among the ant specific CSP genes, two of them (CjapCSP12 and CjapCSP13) were specifically expressed in the chemosensory organs and differentially expressed amongst ant castes. Furthermore, CjapCSP12 and CjapCSP13 had a ratio of divergence at non-synonymous and synonymous sites (dN/dS) greater than 1, and they were co-expressed with CjapCSP1, which is known to bind cuticular hydrocarbons. Our results suggested that CjapCSP12 and CjapCSP13 were functionally differentiated for ant-specific chemosensory events, and that CjapCSP1, CjapCSP12, and CjapCSP13 work cooperatively in the antennal chemosensilla of worker ants. PMID:26310137

  17. Thermal adaptation and phosphorus shape thermal performance in an assemblage of rainforest ants.

    PubMed

    Kaspari, Michael; Clay, Natalie A; Lucas, Jane; Revzen, Shai; Kay, Adam; Yanoviak, Stephen P

    2016-04-01

    We studied the Thermal Performance Curves (TPCs) of 87 species of rainforest ants and found support for both the Thermal Adaptation and Phosphorus-Tolerance hypotheses. TPCs relate a fitness proxy (here, worker speed) to environmental temperature. Thermal Adaptation posits that thermal generalists (ants with flatter, broader TPCs) are favored in the hotter, more variable tropical canopy compared to the cooler, less variable litter below. As predicted, species nesting in the forest canopy 1) had running speeds less sensitive to temperature; 2) ran over a greater range of temperatures; and 3) ran at lower maximum speeds. Tradeoffs between tolerance and maximum performance are often invoked for constraining the evolution of thermal generalists. There was no evidence that ant species traded off thermal tolerance for maximum speed, however. Phosphorus-Tolerance is a second mechanism for generating ectotherms able to tolerate thermal extremes. It posits that ants active at high temperatures invest in P-rich machinery to buffer their metabolism against thermal extremes. Phosphorus content in ant tissue varied three-fold, and as predicted, temperature sensitivity was lower and thermal range was higher in P-rich species. Combined, we show how the vertical distribution of hot and variable vs. cooler and stable microclimates in a single forest contribute to a diversity of TPCs and suggest that a widely varying P stoichiometry among these ants may drive some of these differences.

  18. Can't take the heat: high temperature depletes bacterial endosymbionts of ants.

    PubMed

    Fan, Yongliang; Wernegreen, Jennifer J

    2013-10-01

    Members of the ant tribe Camponotini have coevolved with Blochmannia, an obligate intracellular bacterial mutualist. This endosymbiont lives within host bacteriocyte cells that line the ant midgut, undergoes maternal transmission from host queens to offspring, and contributes to host nutrition via nitrogen recycling and nutrient biosynthesis. While elevated temperature has been shown to disrupt obligate bacterial mutualists of some insects, its impact on the ant-Blochmannia partnership is less clear. Here, we test the effect of heat on the density of Blochmannia in two related Camponotus species in the lab. Transcriptionally active Blochmannia were quantified using RT-qPCR as the ratio of Blochmannia 16S rRNA to ant host elongation factor 1-α transcripts. Our results showed that 4 weeks of heat treatment depleted active Blochmannia by >99 % in minor workers and unmated queens. However, complete elimination of Blochmannia transcripts rarely occurred, even after 16 weeks of heat treatment. Possible mechanisms of observed thermal sensitivity may include extreme AT-richness and related features of Blochmannia genomes, as well as host stress responses. Broadly, the observed depletion of an essential microbial mutualist in heat-treated ants is analogous to the loss of zooanthellae during coral bleaching. While the ecological relevance of Blochmannia's thermal sensitivity is uncertain, our results argue that symbiont dynamics should be part of models predicting how ants and other animals will respond and adapt to a warming climate.

  19. Disruption of Ant-Aphid Mutualism in Canopy Enhances the Abundance of Beetles on the Forest Floor

    PubMed Central

    Ma, Keming

    2012-01-01

    Ant-aphid mutualism is known to play a key role in the structure of the arthropod community in the tree canopy, but its possible ecological effects for the forest floor are unknown. We hypothesized that aphids in the canopy can increase the abundance of ants on the forest floor, thus intensifying the impacts of ants on other arthropods on the forest floor. We tested this hypothesis in a deciduous temperate forest in Beijing, China. We excluded the aphid-tending ants Lasius fuliginosus from the canopy using plots of varying sizes, and monitored the change in the abundance of ants and other arthropods on the forest floor in the treated and control plots. We also surveyed the abundance of ants and other arthropods on the forest floor to explore the relationships between ants and other arthropods in the field. Through a three-year experimental study, we found that the exclusion of ants from the canopy significantly decreased the abundance of ants on the forest floor, but increased the abundance of beetles, although the effect was only significant in the large ant-exclusion plot (80*60 m). The field survey showed that the abundance of both beetles and spiders was negatively related to the abundance of ants. These results suggest that aphids located in the tree canopy have indirect negative effects on beetles by enhancing the ant abundance on the forest floor. Considering that most of the beetles in our study are important predators, the ant-aphid mutualism can have further trophic cascading effects on the forest floor food web. PMID:22558156

  20. The indirect consequences of a mutualism: comparing positive and negative components of the net interaction between honeydew-tending ants and host plants.

    PubMed

    Grinath, Joshua B; Inouye, Brian D; Underwood, Nora; Billick, Ian

    2012-03-01

    1. In ecological webs, net indirect interactions between species are composed of interactions that vary in sign and magnitude. Most studies have focused on negative component interactions (e.g. predation, herbivory) without considering the relative importance of positive interactions (e.g. mutualism, facilitation) for determining net indirect effects. 2. In plant/arthropod communities, ants have multiple top-down effects via mutualisms with honeydew-producing herbivores and harassment of and predation on other herbivores; these ant effects provide opportunities for testing the relative importance of positive and negative interspecific interactions. We manipulated the presence of ants, honeydew-producing membracids and leaf-chewing beetles on perennial host plants in field experiments in Colorado to quantify the relative strength of these different types of interactions and their impact on the ant's net indirect effect on plants. 3. In 2007, we demonstrated that ants simultaneously had a positive effect on membracids and a negative effect on beetles, resulting in less beetle damage on plants hosting the mutualism. 4. In 2008, we used structural equation modelling to describe interaction strengths through the entire insect herbivore community on plants with and without ants. The ant's mutualism with membracids was the sole strong interaction contributing to the net indirect effect of ants on plants. Predation, herbivory and facilitation were weak, and the net effect of ants reduced plant reproduction. This net indirect effect was also partially because of behavioural changes of herbivores in the presence of ants. An additional membracid manipulation showed that the membracid's effect on ant activity was largely responsible for the ant's net effect on plants; ant workers were nearly ten times as abundant on plants with mutualists, and effects on other herbivores were similar to those in the ant manipulation experiment. 5. These results demonstrate that mutualisms can

  1. Preparing Food for Preschoolers: A Guide for Food Service Personnel.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lundin, Janet, Ed.; O'Malley, Edward T., Ed.

    Guidelines and suggestions to help food service workers in children's day care centers plan, prepare, and serve a variety of nutritious, tasty, and attractive meals and snacks are presented. The following topics are included (subtopics are listed in parentheses): (1) preparation of food (seasoning foods; preparing meat, fish, vegetables, and…

  2. Body size, but not cooling rate, affects supercooling points in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Hahn, Daniel A; Martin, Adam R; Porter, Sanford D

    2008-10-01

    The level of an animal's stress resistance is set by multiple intrinsic physiological and extrinsic environmental parameters. Body size is a critical intrinsic parameter that affects numerous fitness-related organismal traits including fecundity, survival, mating success, and stress resistance. The rate of cooling is a critical extrinsic environmental factor that can affect thermal stress resistance. Workers of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), display considerable variation in adult body size. Therefore, developing ecologically realistic models of thermotolerance in this species requires a consideration of body size. We tested the hypothesis that body size and cooling rate would interact to set the supercooling point in fire ant workers by exposing workers of a range of body sizes to three different cooling regimens: a very fast ramp of -10 degrees C/min, an intermediate ramp of -1 degrees C/min, and an ecologically relevant slow ramp of -0.1 degrees C/min. Specifically, we asked whether large workers were more susceptible to differences in cooling rate than smaller workers. We found that body size had a considerable effect on supercooling point with the largest workers freezing at a temperature approximately 3 degrees C higher than the smallest workers. Cooling rate had a very small effect on supercooling point, and there was no interaction between the two factors. Therefore, the allometry of supercooling points across the range of worker body sizes does not change with cooling rate.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse</