Science.gov

Sample records for ants kukrus raul

  1. 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)

  2. 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 ...

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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)

  6. 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 ...

  7. 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. ...

  8. 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.

  9. Alate susceptibility in ants

    PubMed Central

    Ho, Eddie K H; Frederickson, Megan E

    2014-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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…

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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...

  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. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Monoculture of Leafcutter Ant Gardens

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  7. 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

  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. 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.

  11. Do aphids actively search for ant partners?

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Using Ants To Investigate the Environment.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hagevik, Rita A.

    2003-01-01

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

  18. 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...

  19. 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…

  20. Methods for Casting Subterranean Ant Nests

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2010-01-01

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

  1. Quantifying Ant Activity Using Vibration Measurements

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Ant behaviour is of great interest due to their sociality. Ant behaviour is typically observed visually, however there are many circumstances where visual observation is not possible. It may be possible to assess ant behaviour using vibration signals produced by their physical movement. We demonstrate through a series of bioassays with different stimuli that the level of activity of meat ants (Iridomyrmex purpureus) can be quantified using vibrations, corresponding to observations with video. We found that ants exposed to physical shaking produced the highest average vibration amplitudes followed by ants with stones to drag, then ants with neighbours, illuminated ants and ants in darkness. In addition, we devised a novel method based on wavelet decomposition to separate the vibration signal owing to the initial ant behaviour from the substrate response, which will allow signals recorded from different substrates to be compared directly. Our results indicate the potential to use vibration signals to classify some ant behaviours in situations where visual observation could be difficult. PMID:24658467

  2. Quantifying ant activity using vibration measurements.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-02-01

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

  5. 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

  6. Path integration in desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis

    PubMed Central

    Müller, Martin; Wehner, Rüdiger

    1988-01-01

    Foraging desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis, continually keep track of their own posotions relative to home— i.e., integrate their tortuous outbound routes and return home along straight (inbound) routes. By experimentally manipulating the ants' outbound trajectories we show that the ants solve this path integration problem not by performing a true vector summation (as a human navigator does) but by employing a computationally simple approximation. This approximation is characterized by small, but systematic, navigational errors that helped us elucidate the ant's way of computing its mean home vector. PMID:16593958

  7. Major evolutionary transitions in ant agriculture.

    PubMed

    Schultz, Ted R; Brady, Seán G

    2008-04-08

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

  8. Usefulness of fire ant genetics in insecticide efficacy trials

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2010-01-01

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

  10. The evolution of genome size in ants

    PubMed Central

    2008-01-01

    Background Despite the economic and ecological importance of ants, genomic tools for this family (Formicidae) remain woefully scarce. Knowledge of genome size, for example, is a useful and necessary prerequisite for the development of many genomic resources, yet it has been reported for only one ant species (Solenopsis invicta), and the two published estimates for this species differ by 146.7 Mb (0.15 pg). Results Here, we report the genome size for 40 species of ants distributed across 10 of the 20 currently recognized subfamilies, thus making Formicidae the 4th most surveyed insect family and elevating the Hymenoptera to the 5th most surveyed insect order. Our analysis spans much of the ant phylogeny, from the less derived Amblyoponinae and Ponerinae to the more derived Myrmicinae, Formicinae and Dolichoderinae. We include a number of interesting and important taxa, including the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), Neotropical army ants (genera Eciton and Labidus), trapjaw ants (Odontomachus), fungus-growing ants (Apterostigma, Atta and Sericomyrmex), harvester ants (Messor, Pheidole and Pogonomyrmex), carpenter ants (Camponotus), a fire ant (Solenopsis), and a bulldog ant (Myrmecia). Our results show that ants possess small genomes relative to most other insects, yet genome size varies three-fold across this insect family. Moreover, our data suggest that two whole-genome duplications may have occurred in the ancestors of the modern Ectatomma and Apterostigma. Although some previous studies of other taxa have revealed a relationship between genome size and body size, our phylogenetically-controlled analysis of this correlation did not reveal a significant relationship. Conclusion This is the first analysis of genome size in ants (Formicidae) and the first across multiple species of social insects. We show that genome size is a variable trait that can evolve gradually over long time spans, as well as rapidly, through processes that may include occasional

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me!

    MedlinePlus

    ... Emergency Room? What Happens in the Operating Room? Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me! KidsHealth > For Kids > Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me! Print A A ... For Kids For Parents MORE ON THIS TOPIC Hey! A Bee Stung Me! Hey! A Scorpion Stung ...

  14. The Use of Ants in Field Work.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Skinner, Gary J.

    1988-01-01

    Provided is a brief description of the biology and taxonomy of British ants. Suggested are a range of exercises which could be used for class or project work in secondary biology classes. Illustrates many ecological, behavioral and physiological points regarding the species of ants found in Great Britain. (Author/CW)

  15. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  16. Improving Emergency Management by Modeling Ant Colonies

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-03-01

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

  17. Neuropeptidomics of the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus.

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-06

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

  18. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms.

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-20

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

  19. Urban Pest Management of Ants in California

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2001-01-01

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

  1. ANT2-defective fibroblasts exhibit normal mitochondrial bioenergetics

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Meissner, H E; Silverman, J

    2001-12-01

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

  3. Microclimatic conditions of Lasius flavus ant mounds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Véle, Adam; Holuša, Jaroslav

    2016-11-01

    Like other organisms, ants require suitable microclimatic conditions for their development. Thus, ant species inhabiting colder climates build nest mounds that rise above the soil surface, presumably to obtain heating from solar radiation. Although some ant species construct mounds of organic materials, which generate substantial heat due to microbial metabolism, Lasius flavus mounds consists mostly of soil, not organic material. The use of artificial shading in the current study demonstrated that L. flavus depends on direct solar radiation to regulate the temperature in its mound-like nests. Temperatures were much lower in shaded mounds than in unshaded mounds and were likely low enough in shaded mounds to reduce ant development and reproduction. In areas where L. flavus and similar ants are undesirable, they might be managed by shading.

  4. Microclimatic conditions of Lasius flavus ant mounds.

    PubMed

    Véle, Adam; Holuša, Jaroslav

    2016-11-23

    Like other organisms, ants require suitable microclimatic conditions for their development. Thus, ant species inhabiting colder climates build nest mounds that rise above the soil surface, presumably to obtain heating from solar radiation. Although some ant species construct mounds of organic materials, which generate substantial heat due to microbial metabolism, Lasius flavus mounds consists mostly of soil, not organic material. The use of artificial shading in the current study demonstrated that L. flavus depends on direct solar radiation to regulate the temperature in its mound-like nests. Temperatures were much lower in shaded mounds than in unshaded mounds and were likely low enough in shaded mounds to reduce ant development and reproduction. In areas where L. flavus and similar ants are undesirable, they might be managed by shading.

  5. Ants defend aphids against lethal disease.

    PubMed

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

    2010-04-23

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

  6. Persistence of pollination mutualisms in the presence of ants.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yuanshi; Wang, Shikun

    2015-01-01

    This paper considers plant-pollinator-ant systems in which the plant-pollinator interaction is mutualistic but ants have both positive and negative effects on plants. The ants also interfere with pollinators by preventing them from accessing plants. While a Beddington-DeAngelis (BD) formula can describe the plant-pollinator interaction, the formula is extended in this paper to characterize the pollination mutualism under the ant interference. Then, a plant-pollinator-ant system with the extended BD functional response is discussed, and global dynamics of the model demonstrate the mechanisms by which pollination mutualism can persist in the presence of ants. When the ant interference is strong, it can result in extinction of pollinators. Moreover, if the ants depend on pollination mutualism for survival, the strong interference could drive pollinators into extinction, which consequently lead to extinction of the ants themselves. When the ant interference is weak, a cooperation between plant-ant and plant-pollinator mutualisms could occur, which promotes survival of both ants and pollinators, especially in the case that ants (respectively, pollinators) cannot survive in the absence of pollinators (respectively, ants). Even when the level of ant interference remains invariant, varying ants' negative effect on plants can result in survival/extinction of both ants and pollinators. Therefore, our results provide an explanation for the persistence of pollination mutualism when there exist ants.

  7. FDTD-ANT User Manual

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zimmerman, Martin L.

    1995-01-01

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

  8. Ant-Based Cyber Security

    SciTech Connect

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

    2011-07-12

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

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

    PubMed

    Pringle, Elizabeth G

    2014-06-22

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

  10. 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.

  11. Analysis of acoustic communication by ants.

    PubMed

    Hickling, R; Brown, R L

    2000-10-01

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

  12. The agricultural pathology of ant fungus gardens

    PubMed Central

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

    1999-01-01

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

  13. Extrafloral nectar fuels ant life in deserts

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. Ant-lepidopteran associations along African forest edges.

    PubMed

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

    2017-02-01

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

  16. Ant-lepidopteran associations along African forest edges

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-02-01

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

  17. Pheromone disruption of Argentine ant trail integrity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Corbara, Bruno

    2014-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

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

  20. Positive effects of shade and shelter construction by ants on leafhopper-ant mutualism.

    PubMed

    Moya-Raygoza, Gustavo; Larsen, Kirk J

    2008-12-01

    The myrmecophilous five-spotted gamagrass leafhopper, Dalbulus quinquenotatus DeLong and Nault, and its tending ants on gamagrass Tripsacum dactyloides L. were examined to determine the influence of shade and ant-constructed shelters on the population sizes of D. quinquenotatus and ants. Gamagrass plants hosting ants and leafhoppers were exposed to 50, 30, or 0% artificially constructed shade. The greatest numbers of leafhoppers and ants were found on plants that received 50% shade. Shelters made by the ant Solenopsis geminata (F.) contained large numbers of leafhoppers and ants but were found only on T. dactyloides exposed to 50% shade in artificially constructed habitats. Additional sampling was conducted on wild gamagrass plants in the field to explore the presence of ants tending leafhoppers in shelters and to evaluate whether ant-constructed shelters protect leafhopper nymphs from parasitoid wasps. Large aggregations of S. geminata in shelters were also found in natural gamagrass habitats. Leafhopper nymphs living in shelters made by S. geminata may be protected against the dryinid wasp parasitoid Anteon ciudadi Olmi. No sheltered nymphs were parasitized by dryinids, whereas 24% of unsheltered nymphs had dryinid parasitism.

  1. 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

  2. Exploration adjustment by ant colonies

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2004-01-01

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

  4. Toxic industrial deposit remediation by ant activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jilkova, Veronika; Frouz, Jan

    2016-04-01

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

  5. Entangled active matter: From cells to ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-07-01

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

  6. Antarctic Tephra Database (AntT)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. The macroevolutionary dynamics of ant diversification.

    PubMed

    Pie, Marcio R; Tschá, Marcel K

    2009-11-01

    The availability of increasingly comprehensive phylogenies has provided unprecedented opportunities to assess macroevolutionary patterns, yet studies on invertebrate diversification are few. In particular, despite the ecological and evolutionary importance of ants, little is known about their tempo and mode of diversification. Recent advances in ant phylogenetics can now provide a basis for rigorous analyses of the diversification of ant lineages. The goals of the present study are threefold. First, we demonstrate that a hypothesized disproportionate increase in ant diversification during the angiosperm radiation is largely artifactual. Rather, current evidence points to a fairly constant rate of lineage growth during its history. Moreover, an analysis of diversification patterns across the ant phylogeny indicates considerable rate heterogeneity among lineages. Indeed, and contrary to the expectation if lineages had experienced a single rate of lineage increase, we found no correspondence between genus age and diversity. Finally, we demonstrate a statistically significant phylogenetic signal in ant diversification: closely related genera have diversities that are more similar to one another than one would expect by chance. This suggests that the capacity for diversification may be itself a biological trait that evolved during the radiation of the family Formicidae.

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Sommer, S; Wehner, R

    2004-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Bristow, C M

    1991-09-01

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

  12. Ecology of a fig ant-plant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harrison, Rhett D.

    2014-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Statistical Mechanics of Collective Transport by Ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

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

  17. Fossil evidence for the early ant evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-02-01

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

  18. Early ant trajectories: spatial behaviour before behaviourism.

    PubMed

    Wehner, Rüdiger

    2016-04-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. Desert ants learn vibration and magnetic landmarks.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  1. Moribund Ants Do Not Call for Help

    PubMed Central

    Miler, Krzysztof

    2016-01-01

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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Ant-gardens of tropical Asian rainforests.

    PubMed

    Kaufmann, Eva; Maschwitz, Ulrich

    2006-05-01

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

  5. Ant-gardens of tropical Asian rainforests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaufmann, Eva; Maschwitz, Ulrich

    2006-05-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Wolbachia transmission dynamics in Formica wood ants

    PubMed Central

    2008-01-01

    Background The role of Wolbachia endosymbionts in shaping the mitochondrial diversity of their arthropod host depends on the effects they have on host reproduction and on the mode of transmission of the bacteria. We have compared the sequence diversity of wsp (Wolbachia surface protein gene) and the host mtDNA in a group of Formica ant species that have diverged approximately 0.5 million years ago (MYA). The aim was to study the relationship of Wolbachia and its ant hosts in terms of vertical and horizontal transmission of the bacteria. Results All studied ant species were doubly infected with two Wolbachia strains (wFex1 and wFex4) all over their geographical distribution area in Eurasia. The most common haplotypes of these strains were identical with strains previously described from a more distantly related Formica ant, with an estimated divergence time of 3.5 – 4 MYA. Some strain haplotypes were associated to the same or closely related mtDNA haplotypes as expected under vertical transmission. However, in several cases the wsp haplotypes coexisted with distant mtDNA haplotypes, a pattern which is more compatible with horizontal transmission of the bacteria. Conclusion Two lines of evidence suggest that the sharing of Wolbachia strains by all F. rufa species is rather due to horizontal than vertical transmission. First, the fact that endosymbiont strains identical to those of F. rufa ants have been found in another species that diverged 3.5–4 MYA strongly suggests that horizontal transfer can and does occur between Formica ants. Second, the frequent sharing of identical Wolbachia strains by distant mitochondrial lineages within the F. rufa group further shows that horizontal transmission has occurred repeatedly. Nevertheless, our dataset also provides some evidence for longer-term persistence of infection, indicating that Wolbachia infection within this host clade has been shaped by both horizontal and vertical transmission of symbionts. The fact that all

  9. Ant-plants and fungi: a new threeway symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Defossez, Emmanuel; Selosse, Marc-André; Dubois, Marie-Pierre; Mondolot, Laurence; Faccio, Antonella; Djieto-Lordon, Champlain; McKey, Doyle; Blatrix, Rumsaïs

    2009-06-01

    Symbioses between plants and fungi, fungi and ants, and ants and plants all play important roles in ecosystems. Symbioses involving all three partners appear to be rare. Here, we describe a novel tripartite symbiosis in which ants and a fungus inhabit domatia of an ant-plant, and present evidence that such interactions are widespread. We investigated 139 individuals of the African ant-plant Leonardoxa africana for occurrence of fungus. Behaviour of mutualist ants toward the fungus within domatia was observed using a video camera fitted with an endoscope. Fungi were identified by sequencing a fragment of their ribosomal DNA. Fungi were always present in domatia occupied by mutualist ants but never in domatia occupied by opportunistic or parasitic ants. Ants appear to favour the propagation, removal and maintenance of the fungus. Similar fungi were associated with other ant-plants in Cameroon. All belong to the ascomycete order Chaetothyriales; those from L. africana formed a monophyletic clade. These new plant-ant-fungus associations seem to be specific, as demonstrated within Leonardoxa and as suggested by fungal phyletic identities. Such tripartite associations are widespread in African ant-plants but have long been overlooked. Taking fungal partners into account will greatly enhance our understanding of symbiotic ant-plant mutualisms.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Self-organized criticality in ant brood tending.

    PubMed

    O'Toole, D V; Robinson, P A; Myerscough, M R

    2003-03-07

    A new stochastic lattice gas model of ant brood tending is formulated to examine the role played by repulsive ant-ant interactions in the even distribution of care among brood members. The deterministic limit of the model is known to be self-organized critical. Numerical simulations of the model show that the ant-ant repulsion facilitates an even distribution of brood care in the middle of the brood. This provides a possible explanation for the fact that ants sort their brood so that the youngest brood (which are most in need of care) are placed in the middle. Simulations show that the uniformity of brood care distribution is optimal when ants operate in a regime intermediate between completely random and completely deterministic. A certain degree of randomness helps ants to avoid becoming trapped in suboptimal configurations but does not destroy the long-range correlations that are inherent to self-organized critical systems.

  13. 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.

  14. The Kanizsa triangle illusion in foraging ants.

    PubMed

    Sakiyama, Tomoko; Gunji, Yukio-Pegio

    2016-01-01

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

  15. Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me!

    MedlinePlus

    ... nest in the ground, and then create a mound of dirt over the nest. These mounds can grow up to 18 inches high and ... burning. Someone who steps on a fire ant mound will get a lot of stings at once ...

  16. A global database of ant species abundances

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gibb, Heloise; Dunn, Rob R.; Sanders, Nathan J.; Grossman, Blair F.; Photakis, Manoli; Abril, Silvia; Agosti, Donat; Andersen, Alan N.; Angulo, Elena; Armbrecht, Ingre; Arnan, Xavier; Baccaro, Fabricio B.; Bishop, Tom R.; Boulay, Raphael; Bruhl, Carsten; Castracani, Cristina; Cerda, Xim; Del Toro, Israel; Delsinne, Thibaut; Diaz, Mireia; Donoso, David A.; Ellison, Aaron M.; Enriquez, Martha L.; Fayle, Tom M.; Feener Jr., Donald H.; Fisher, Brian L.; Fisher, Robert N.; Fitpatrick, Matthew C.; Gomez, Cristanto; Gotelli, Nicholas J.; Gove, Aaron; Grasso, Donato A.; Groc, Sarah; Guenard, Benoit; Gunawardene, Nihara; Heterick, Brian; Hoffmann, Benjamin; Janda, Milan; Jenkins, Clinton; Kaspari, Michael; Klimes, Petr; Lach, Lori; Laeger, Thomas; Lattke, John; Leponce, Maurice; Lessard, Jean-Philippe; Longino, John; Lucky, Andrea; Luke, Sarah H.; Majer, Jonathan; McGlynn, Terrence P.; Menke, Sean; Mezger, Dirk; Mori, Alessandra; Moses, Jimmy; Munyai, Thinandavha Caswell; Pacheco, Renata; Paknia, Omid; Pearce-Duvet, Jessica; Pfeiffer, Martin; Philpott, Stacy M.; Resasco, Julian; Retana, Javier; Silva, Rogerio R.; Sorger, Magdalena D.; Souza, Jorge; Suarez, Andrew V.; Tista, Melanie; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L.; Vonshak, Merav; Weiser, Michael D.; Yates, Michelle; Parr, Catherine L.

    2017-01-01

    What forces structure ecological assemblages? A key limitation to general insights about assemblage structure is the availability of data that are collected at a small spatial grain (local assemblages) and a large spatial extent (global coverage). Here, we present published and unpublished data from 51,388 ant abundance and occurrence records of more than 2693 species and 7953 morphospecies from local assemblages collected at 4212 locations around the world. Ants were selected because they are diverse and abundant globally, comprise a large fraction of animal biomass in most terrestrial communities, and are key contributors to a range of ecosystem functions. Data were collected between 1949 and 2014, and include, for each geo-referenced sampling site, both the identity of the ants collected and details of sampling design, habitat type and degree of disturbance. The aim of compiling this dataset was to provide comprehensive species abundance data in order to test relationships between assemblage structure and environmental and biogeographic factors. Data were collected using a variety of standardised methods, such as pitfall and Winkler traps, and will be valuable for studies investigating large-scale forces structuring local assemblages. Understanding such relationships is particularly critical under current rates of global change. We encourage authors holding additional data on systematically collected ant assemblages, especially those in dry and cold, and remote areas, to contact us and contribute their data to this growing dataset.

  17. A global database of ant species abundances.

    PubMed

    Gibb, Heloise; Dunn, Rob R; Sanders, Nathan J; Grossman, Blair F; Photakis, Manoli; Abril, Silvia; Agosti, Donat; Andersen, Alan N; Angulo, Elena; Armbrecht, Inge; Arnan, Xavier; Baccaro, Fabricio B; Bishop, Tom R; Boulay, Raphaël; Brühl, Carsten; Castracani, Cristina; Cerda, Xim; Del Toro, Israel; Delsinne, Thibaut; Diaz, Mireia; Donoso, David A; Ellison, Aaron M; Enriquez, Martha L; Fayle, Tom M; Feener, Donald H; Fisher, Brian L; Fisher, Robert N; Fitzpatrick, Matthew C; Gómez, Crisanto; Gotelli, Nicholas J; Gove, Aaron; Grasso, Donato A; Groc, Sarah; Guenard, Benoit; Gunawardene, Nihara; Heterick, Brian; Hoffmann, Benjamin; Janda, Milan; Jenkins, Clinton; Kaspari, Michael; Klimes, Petr; Lach, Lori; Laeger, Thomas; Lattke, John; Leponce, Maurice; Lessard, Jean-Philippe; Longino, John; Lucky, Andrea; Luke, Sarah H; Majer, Jonathan; McGlynn, Terrence P; Menke, Sean; Mezger, Dirk; Mori, Alessandra; Moses, Jimmy; Munyai, Thinandavha Caswell; Pacheco, Renata; Paknia, Omid; Pearce-Duvet, Jessica; Pfeiffer, Martin; Philpott, Stacy M; Resasco, Julian; Retana, Javier; Silva, Rogerio R; Sorger, Magdalena D; Souza, Jorge; Suarez, Andrew; Tista, Melanie; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L; Vonshak, Merav; Weiser, Michael D; Yates, Michelle; Parr, Catherine L

    2017-03-01

    What forces structure ecological assemblages? A key limitation to general insights about assemblage structure is the availability of data that are collected at a small spatial grain (local assemblages) and a large spatial extent (global coverage). Here, we present published and unpublished data from 51 ,388 ant abundance and occurrence records of more than 2,693 species and 7,953 morphospecies from local assemblages collected at 4,212 locations around the world. Ants were selected because they are diverse and abundant globally, comprise a large fraction of animal biomass in most terrestrial communities, and are key contributors to a range of ecosystem functions. Data were collected between 1949 and 2014, and include, for each geo-referenced sampling site, both the identity of the ants collected and details of sampling design, habitat type, and degree of disturbance. The aim of compiling this data set was to provide comprehensive species abundance data in order to test relationships between assemblage structure and environmental and biogeographic factors. Data were collected using a variety of standardized methods, such as pitfall and Winkler traps, and will be valuable for studies investigating large-scale forces structuring local assemblages. Understanding such relationships is particularly critical under current rates of global change. We encourage authors holding additional data on systematically collected ant assemblages, especially those in dry and cold, and remote areas, to contact us and contribute their data to this growing data set.

  18. Enhanced Pest Ant Control with Hydrophobic Bait

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ants occupy every ecological niche in the world where they contribute to the ecosystem, e.g., as scavengers and aerators of the soil. However, when they are transported, usually through human activities, to new locations they have powerful negative impacts on their adopted homeland. Five of the 17 l...

  19. 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.

  20. Dynamics of an ant-plant-pollinator model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-03-01

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

  1. 9 CFR 352.10 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-01-01

    ..., bison and water buffalo are eligible for field ante-mortem inspection. The field ante-mortem designated... at an official exotic animal establishment. (1) Reindeer, elk, deer, antelope, bison, and water buffalo are eligible for transport vehicle inspection. (2) The ante-mortem inspector shall remain...

  2. 9 CFR 352.10 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ..., bison and water buffalo are eligible for field ante-mortem inspection. The field ante-mortem designated... at an official exotic animal establishment. (1) Reindeer, elk, deer, antelope, bison, and water buffalo are eligible for transport vehicle inspection. (2) The ante-mortem inspector shall remain...

  3. 9 CFR 352.10 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ..., bison and water buffalo are eligible for field ante-mortem inspection. The field ante-mortem designated... at an official exotic animal establishment. (1) Reindeer, elk, deer, antelope, bison, and water buffalo are eligible for transport vehicle inspection. (2) The ante-mortem inspector shall remain...

  4. 9 CFR 352.10 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ..., bison and water buffalo are eligible for field ante-mortem inspection. The field ante-mortem designated... at an official exotic animal establishment. (1) Reindeer, elk, deer, antelope, bison, and water buffalo are eligible for transport vehicle inspection. (2) The ante-mortem inspector shall remain...

  5. 9 CFR 352.10 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-01-01

    ..., bison and water buffalo are eligible for field ante-mortem inspection. The field ante-mortem designated... at an official exotic animal establishment. (1) Reindeer, elk, deer, antelope, bison, and water buffalo are eligible for transport vehicle inspection. (2) The ante-mortem inspector shall remain...

  6. Fire ant control with Entomopathogens in the USA

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-01

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

  8. Model Specification Searches Using Ant Colony Optimization Algorithms

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Marcoulides, George A.; Drezner, Zvi

    2003-01-01

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

  9. 9 CFR 354.121 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... AGENCY ORGANIZATION AND TERMINOLOGY; MANDATORY MEAT AND POULTRY PRODUCTS INSPECTION AND VOLUNTARY INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION VOLUNTARY INSPECTION OF RABBITS AND EDIBLE PRODUCTS THEREOF Inspection Procedures; Ante-Mortem Inspections § 354.121 Ante-mortem inspection. An ante-mortem inspection of...

  10. Plant lock and ant key: pairwise coevolution of an exclusion filter in an ant-plant mutualism.

    PubMed Central

    Brouat, C.; Garcia, N.; Andary, C.; McKey, D.

    2001-01-01

    Although observations suggest pairwise coevolution in specific ant-plant symbioses, coevolutionary processes have rarely been demonstrated. We report on, what is to the authors' knowledge, the strongest evidence yet for reciprocal adaptation of morphological characters in a species-specific ant-plant mutualism. The plant character is the prostoma, which is a small unlignified organ at the apex of the domatia in which symbiotic ants excavate an entrance hole. Each myrmecophyte in the genus Leonardoxa has evolved a prostoma with a different shape. By performing precise measurements on the prostomata of three related myrmecophytes, on their specific associated ants and on the entrance holes excavated by symbiotic ants at the prostomata, we showed that correspondence of the plant and ant traits forms a morphological and behavioural filter. We have strong evidence for coevolution between the dimensions and shape of the symbiotic ants and the prostoma in one of the three ant-Leonardoxa associations. PMID:11600077

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. [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.

  14. The interactions of ants with their biotic environment

    PubMed Central

    Renner, Susanne S.

    2017-01-01

    This special feature results from the symposium ‘Ants 2016: ant interactions with their biotic environments’ held in Munich in May 2016 and deals with the interactions between ants and other insects, plants, microbes and fungi, studied at micro- and macroevolutionary levels with a wide range of approaches, from field ecology to next-generation sequencing, chemical ecology and molecular genetics. In this paper, we review key aspects of these biotic interactions to provide background information for the papers of this special feature. After listing the major types of biotic interactions that ants engage in, we present a brief overview of ant/ant communication, ant/plant interactions, ant/fungus symbioses, and recent insights about ants and their endosymbionts. Using a large molecular clock-dated Formicidae phylogeny, we map the evolutionary origins of different ant clades' interactions with plants, fungi and hemiptera. Ants' biotic interactions provide ideal systems to address fundamental ecological and evolutionary questions about mutualism, coevolution, adaptation and animal communication. PMID:28298352

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Fürst, Matthias A.; Nash, David R.

    2010-01-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Harvester ant bioassay for assessing hazardous chemical waste sites

    SciTech Connect

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

    1984-12-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2003-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Graham, Paul; Mangan, Michael

    2015-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Jiménez-Soto, Estelí; Philpott, Stacy M

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cameron, G.; Williams, L.

    2001-12-01

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

  6. Relative effects of disturbance on red imported fire ants and native ant species in a longleaf pine ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Stuble, Katharine L; Kirkman, L Katherine; Carroll, C Ronald; Sanders, Nathan J

    2011-06-01

    The degree to which changes in community composition mediate the probability of colonization and spread of non-native species is not well understood, especially in animal communities. High species richness may hinder the establishment of non-native species. Distinguishing between this scenario and cases in which non-native species become established in intact (lacking extensive anthropogenic soil disturbance) communities and subsequently diminish the abundance and richness of native species is challenging on the basis of observation alone. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), an invasive species that occurs throughout much of the southeastern United States, is such an example. Rather than competitively displacing native species, fire ants may become established only in disturbed areas in which native species richness and abundance are already reduced. We used insecticide to reduce the abundance of native ants and fire ants in four experimental plots. We then observed the reassembly and reestablishment of the ants in these plots for 1 year after treatment. The abundance of fire ants in treated plots did not differ from abundance in control plots 1 year after treatment. Likewise, the abundance of native ants increased to levels comparable to those in control plots after 1 year. Our findings suggest that factors other than large reductions in ant abundance and species density (number of species per unit area) may affect the establishment of fire ants and that the response of native ants and fire ants to disturbance can be comparable.

  7. Interaction between Mutualisms: Ant-tended butterflies exploit enemy-free space provided by ant-treehopper associations.

    PubMed

    Kaminski, Lucas A; Freitas, André V L; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2010-09-01

    Although mutualisms have been intensively investigated, demonstration of indirect effects between co-occurring mutualistic systems is rare. For instance, the ecological consequences of co-occurrence of ant-tended insects on a plant have never been examined for survival effects on either trophobiont species. Here, we assess the selective pressures mediating co-occurrence of a facultative ant-tended butterfly (Parrhasius polibetes) with ant-tended treehoppers (Guayaquila xiphias) on Schefflera vinosa shrubs. We evaluated host plant selection and caterpillar survival in P. polibetes in the presence and absence of ant-treehopper associations. Paired trials revealed that butterflies preferably oviposit on branches hosting ant-tended treehoppers when they had a choice between those and branches without this interaction. Presence of ant-tended treehoppers on a branch reduced the abundance of P. polibetes' natural enemies and improved caterpillar survival in both premyrmecophylic and ant-tended phases. Thus ant-tended treehoppers create an enemy-free space on foliage that butterflies exploit to protect larval offspring. These findings connect two widely documented ant-trophobiont mutualisms and highlight the importance of considering multiple interactions for a proper understanding of ant-plant-herbivore systems. Detection of other ant-based mutualisms on oviposition to improve offspring survival may have represented an important evolutionary step in the process of host plant selection in facultative myrmecophilous butterflies.

  8. Ant nest corrosion -- Exploring the labyrinth

    SciTech Connect

    Elliott, P.; Corbett, R.A.

    1999-07-01

    The phenomenon of ant nest (formicary) corrosion is reviewed. Current theories indicate that attack requires the simultaneous presence of moisture, oxygen and a corrodent, usually an organic acid, such as formic acid. Morphological features are presented using several recent case studies as examples. This paper seeks to create more answers to this less appreciated phenomenon that causes premature corrosion failure in copper tubes used typically for refrigeration or air conditioning applications.

  9. Ant fat extraction with a Soxhlet extractor.

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2009-07-01

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

  10. Ant-Man and the quantum realm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michalakis, Spiros

    2015-11-01

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

  11. Ant foraging on extrafloral nectaries of Qualea grandiflora (Vochysiaceae) in cerrado vegetation: ants as potential antiherbivore agents.

    PubMed

    Oliveira, P S; da Silva, A F; Martins, A B

    1987-12-01

    Qualea grandiflora is a typical tree of Brazilian cerrados (savanna-like vegetation) that bears paired extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) along its stems. Results show that possession of EFNs increases ant density on Q. grandiflora shrubs over that of neighbouring non-nectariferous plants. Frequency of ant occupancy and mean number of ants per plant were much higher on Qualea than on plants lacking EFNs. These differences resulted in many more live termitebaits being attacked by foraging ants on Qualea than on neighbours without EFNs. Termites were attacked in equal numbers and with equal speeds on different-aged leaves of Qualea. The greatest potential for herbivore deterrence was presented by Camponotus ants (C. crassus, C. rufipes and C. aff. blandus), which together attacked significantly more termites than nine other ant species grouped. EFNs are regarded as important promoters of ant activity on cerado plants.

  12. Polydomy in the ant Ectatomma opaciventre

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  13. 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

  14. Using VisANT to Analyze Networks

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Zhenjun

    2014-01-01

    VisANT is a Web-based workbench for the integrative analysis of biological networks with unique features such as exploratory navigation of interaction network and multi-scale visualization and inference with integrated hierarchical knowledge. It provides functionalities for convenient construction, visualization, and analysis of molecular and higher order networks based on functional (e.g., expression profiles, phylogenetic profiles) and physical (e.g., yeast two-hybrid, chromatin-immunoprecipitation and drug target) relations from either the Predictome database or user-defined data sets. Analysis capabilities include network structure analysis, overrepresentation analysis, expression enrichment analysis etc. Additionally, network can be saved, accessed, and shared online. VisANT is able to develop and display meta-networks for meta-nodes that are structural complexes or pathways or any kind of subnetworks. Further, VisANT supports a growing number of standard exchange formats and database referencing standards, e.g., PSI-MI, KGML, BioPAX, SBML(in progress) Multiple species are supported to the extent that interactions or associations are available (i.e., public datasets or Predictome database). PMID:25422679

  15. ANT tuner retrofit for LEB cavity

    SciTech Connect

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

    1994-03-01

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

  16. Recognition of Social Identity in Ants

    PubMed Central

    Bos, Nick; d’Ettorre, Patrizia

    2012-01-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. The allometry of brain miniaturization in ants.

    PubMed

    Seid, Marc A; Castillo, Armando; Wcislo, William T

    2011-01-01

    Extensive studies of vertebrates have shown that brain size scales to body size following power law functions. Most animals are substantially smaller than vertebrates, and extremely small animals face significant challenges relating to nervous system design and function, yet little is known about their brain allometry. Within a well-defined monophyletic taxon, Formicidae (ants), we analyzed how brain size scales to body size. An analysis of brain allometry for individuals of a highly polymorphic leaf-cutter ant, Atta colombica, shows that allometric coefficients differ significantly for small (<1.4 mg body mass) versus large individuals (b = 0.6003 and 0.2919, respectively). Interspecifically, allometric patterns differ for small (<0.9 mg body mass) versus large species (n = 70 species). Using mean values for species, the allometric coefficient for smaller species (b = 0.7961) is significantly greater than that for larger ones (b = 0.669). The smallest ants had brains that constitute ∼15% of their body mass, yet their brains were relatively smaller than predicted by an overall allometric coefficient of brain to body size. Our comparative and intraspecific studies show the extent to which nervous systems can be miniaturized in taxa exhibiting behavior that is apparently comparable to that of larger species or individuals.

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-09-01

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

  20. Behavioral mechanisms underlie an ant-plant mutualism.

    PubMed

    Rudgers, Jennifer A; Hodgen, Jillian G; White, J Wilson

    2003-03-01

    Predators can reduce herbivory by consuming herbivores (a consumptive effect) and by altering herbivore behavior, life history, physiology or distribution (non-consumptive effects). The non-consumptive, or trait-mediated, effects of predators on prey may have important functions in the dynamics of communities. In a facultative ant-plant mutualism, we investigated whether these non-consumptive effects influenced the host plants of prey. Here, predaceous ants (Forelius pruinosus) consume and disturb a dominant lepidopteran folivore (Bucculatrix thurberiella) of wild cotton plants (Gossypium thurberi). Season-long ant exclusion experiments revealed that ants had a larger proportional effect on damage by B. thurberiella than on caterpillar abundance, a result that suggests ants have a strong non-consumptive effect. Behavioral experiments conducted in two populations over 2 years demonstrated that B. thurberiella caterpillars were substantially less likely to damage wild cotton leaves in the presence of ants due to ant-induced changes in caterpillar behavior. In the absence of ants caterpillars spent more time stationary (potential feeding time) and less time dropping from leaves by a thread of silk than when ants were present. Furthermore, ants altered the spatial distribution of both caterpillars and damage; caterpillars spent relatively more time on the upper surfaces of leaves and caused damage further from the leaf margin in ant exclusion treatments. Both direct encounters with ants and information conveyed when ants walked onto leaves were key events leading to the anti-predator behaviors of caterpillars. This study contributes to a small body of evidence from terrestrial systems demonstrating that the trait-mediated effects of predators can cascade to the host plants of prey.

  1. Chemically armed mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-24

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

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

  4. Cascading trait-mediated interactions induced by ant pheromones

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-09-01

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

  6. Image feature extraction based multiple ant colonies cooperation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Zhilong; Yang, Weiping; Li, Jicheng

    2015-05-01

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

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Gonthier, David J.

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Gonthier, David J

    2012-01-01

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

  11. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Philpott, Stacy M.

    2006-08-01

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

  13. Improved Ant Colony Clustering Algorithm and Its Performance Study

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Wei

    2016-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2012-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants

    SciTech Connect

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

    2015-07-03

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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Gao, Wei

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Turner, Kyle M; Frederickson, Megan E

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Zeil, Jochen; Narendra, Ajay; Stürzl, Wolfgang

    2014-01-01

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

  3. Enhanced ant colony optimization for multiscale problems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Nan; Fish, Jacob

    2016-03-01

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

  4. Toxicity of formic acid against red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    BACKGROUND: Formic acid is a common defensive chemical of formicine ants. Ants often compete with other ants for resources. However, the toxicity of formic acid to any ant species has not been well understood. This study examined the toxicity of formic acid against the red imported fire ants, Sole...

  5. [Syagrus romanzoffiana (Arecaceae) seed utilization by ants in a secondary forest in South Brazil].

    PubMed

    Silva, Fernanda R; Begnini, Romualdo M; Klier, Vinícius A; Scherer, Karla Z; Lopes, Benedito C; Castellani, Tânia T

    2009-01-01

    Ants can nest in a wide variety of substracts. This paper shows Syagrus romanzoffiana seed utilization by ants in an Atlantic secondary forest. We report 29 seeds occupied by small-bodied ants, with 27 of them showing at least two ant development stages. Although a large number of seeds were sampled, a low level of ant occupation was observed.

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

    PubMed Central

    Ballantyne, Gavin; Willmer, Pat

    2012-01-01

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

  7. 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

  8. Coevolution between attine ants and actinomycete bacteria: a reevaluation.

    PubMed

    Mueller, Ulrich G; Dash, Debadutta; Rabeling, Christian; Rodrigues, Andre

    2008-11-01

    We reassess the coevolution between actinomycete bacteria and fungus-gardening (attine) ants. Actinomycete bacteria are of special interest because they are metabolic mutualists of diverse organisms (e.g., in nitrogen-fixation or antibiotic production) and because Pseudonocardia actinomycetes are thought to serve disease-suppressing functions in attine gardens. Phylogenetic information from culture-dependent and culture-independent microbial surveys reveals (1) close affinities between free-living and ant-associated Pseudonocardia, and (2) essentially no topological correspondence between ant and Pseudonocardia phylogenies, indicating frequent bacterial acquisition from environmental sources. Identity of ant-associated Pseudonocardia and isolates from soil and plants implicates these environments as sources from which attine ants acquire Pseudonocardia. Close relatives of Atta leafcutter ants have abundant Pseudonocardia, but Pseudonocardia in Atta is rare and appears at the level of environmental contamination. In contrast, actinomycete bacteria in the genera Mycobacterium and Microbacterium can be readily isolated from gardens and starter-cultures of Atta. The accumulated phylogenetic evidence is inconsistent with prevailing views of specific coevolution between Pseudonocardia, attine ants, and garden diseases. Because of frequent acquisition, current models of Pseudonocardia-disease coevolution now need to be revised. The effectiveness of Pseudonocardia antibiotics may not derive from advantages in the coevolutionary arms race with specialized garden diseases, as currently believed, but from frequent recruitment of effective microbes from environmental sources. Indeed, the exposed integumental structures that support actinomycete growth on attine ants argue for a morphological design facilitating bacterial recruitment. We review the accumulated evidence that attine ants have undergone modifications in association with actinomycete bacteria, but we find

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matsuura, Kenji; Yashiro, Toshihisa

    2006-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Hayashi, Masayuki; Nomura, Masashi

    2014-08-01

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

  13. Current and potential ant impacts in the Pacific region

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Loope, Lloyd L.; Krushelnycky, Paul D.

    2007-01-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  15. Dynamics and shape of large fire ant rafts

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  17. 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

  18. Tracing the Rise of Ants - Out of the Ground

    PubMed Central

    Lucky, Andrea; Trautwein, Michelle D.; Guénard, Benoit S.; Weiser, Michael D.; Dunn, Robert R.

    2013-01-01

    The evolution of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is increasingly well-understood due to recent phylogenetic analyses, along with estimates of divergence times and diversification rates. Yet, leading hypotheses regarding the ancestral habitat of ants conflict with new findings that early ant lineages are cryptic and subterranean. Where the ants evolved, in respect to habitat, and how habitat shifts took place over time have not been formally tested. Here, we reconstruct the habitat transitions of crown-group ants through time, focusing on where they nest and forage (in the canopy, litter, or soil). Based on ancestral character reconstructions, we show that in contrast to the current consensus based on verbal arguments that ants evolved in tropical leaf litter, the soil is supported as the ancestral stratum of all ants. We also find subsequent movements up into the litter and, in some cases, into the canopy. Given the global importance of ants, because of their diversity, ecological influence and status as the most successful eusocial lineage on Earth, understanding the early evolution of this lineage provides insight into the factors that made this group so successful today. PMID:24386323

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  20. Transgenerational effects and the cost of ant tending in aphids.

    PubMed

    Tegelaar, Karolina; Glinwood, Robert; Pettersson, Jan; Leimar, Olof

    2013-11-01

    In mutualistic interactions, partners obtain a net benefit, but there may also be costs associated with the provision of benefits for a partner. The question of whether aphids suffer such costs when attended by ants has been raised in previous work. Transgenerational effects, where offspring phenotypes are adjusted based on maternal influences, could be important in the mutualistic interaction between aphids and ants, in particular because aphids have telescoping generations where two offspring generations can be present in a mature aphid. We investigated the immediate and transgenerational influence of ant tending on aphid life history and reproduction by observing the interaction between the facultative myrmecophile Aphis fabae and the ant Lasius niger over 13 aphid generations in the laboratory. We found that the effect of ant tending changes dynamically over successive aphid generations after the start of tending. Initially, total aphid colony weight, aphid adult weight and aphid embryo size decreased compared with untended aphids, consistent with a cost of ant association, but these differences disappeared within four generations of interaction. We conclude that transgenerational effects are important in the aphid-ant interactions and that the costs for aphids of being tended by ants can vary over generations.

  1. Thelohania solenopsae as a factor of fire ant populations

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The inadvertent introduction of fire ants into the United States over 70 years ago initially resulted in large-scale efforts to eradicate the invasive pest. Large populations, mobility, and ability to occupy diverse habitats make fire ants a dominant arthropod in infested regions and very difficult...

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-06-01

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

  3. Tracing the rise of ants - out of the ground.

    PubMed

    Lucky, Andrea; Trautwein, Michelle D; Guénard, Benoit S; Weiser, Michael D; Dunn, Robert R

    2013-01-01

    The evolution of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is increasingly well-understood due to recent phylogenetic analyses, along with estimates of divergence times and diversification rates. Yet, leading hypotheses regarding the ancestral habitat of ants conflict with new findings that early ant lineages are cryptic and subterranean. Where the ants evolved, in respect to habitat, and how habitat shifts took place over time have not been formally tested. Here, we reconstruct the habitat transitions of crown-group ants through time, focusing on where they nest and forage (in the canopy, litter, or soil). Based on ancestral character reconstructions, we show that in contrast to the current consensus based on verbal arguments that ants evolved in tropical leaf litter, the soil is supported as the ancestral stratum of all ants. We also find subsequent movements up into the litter and, in some cases, into the canopy. Given the global importance of ants, because of their diversity, ecological influence and status as the most successful eusocial lineage on Earth, understanding the early evolution of this lineage provides insight into the factors that made this group so successful today.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-10

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

  5. 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.

  6. Odorous House Ants (Tapinoma sessile) as Back-Seat Drivers of Localized Ant Decline in Urban Habitats

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-10-01

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

  9. Improved Ant Algorithms for Software Testing Cases Generation

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Shunkun; Xu, Jiaqi

    2014-01-01

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

  10. An ant colony algorithm on continuous searching space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xie, Jing; Cai, Chao

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Lighton, John R B; Duncan, Frances D

    2005-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-01

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

  13. A theoretical model for uni-directional ant trails

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kayacan, Ozhan

    2011-03-01

    A theoretical model of uni-directional ant traffic, motivated by the motion of ants in trail is proposed. Two different type of ants, one of which smells very well and the other does not, are considered. The flux of ants in this model is investigated as functions of the probability of evaporation rate of pheromone. The obtained results indicate that the mean velocity of the ants varies non-monotonically with their density. In addition, it is observed that phase transition in the flux and the mean velocity vs. density occurs at certain density for a fixed evaporation rate. The effective hopping probability is investigated as well depending on the evaporation rate of pheromone. It is worth to note that the proposed model can be generalized for vehicular traffic on freeways.

  14. Improved ant algorithms for software testing cases generation.

    PubMed

    Yang, Shunkun; Man, Tianlong; Xu, Jiaqi

    2014-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. Assessing ant seed predation in threatened plants: a case study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Albert, María José; Escudero, Adrián; Iriondo, José María

    2005-11-01

    Erodium paularense is a threatened plant species that is subject to seed predation by the granivorous ant Messor capitatus. In this paper we assessed the intensity and pattern of ant seed predation and looked for possible adaptive strategies at the seed and plant levels to cope with this predation. Seed predation was estimated in 1997 and 1998 at the population level by comparing total seed production and ant consumption, assessed by counting seed hulls in refuse piles. According to this method, ant seed predation ranged between 18% and 28%. A more detailed and direct assessment conducted in 1997 raised this estimate to 43%. In this assessment spatial and temporal patterns of seed predation by ants were studied by mapping all nest entrances in the studied area and marking the mature fruits of 109 reproductive plants with a specific colour code throughout the seed dispersal period. Intact fruit coats were later recovered from the refuse piles, and their mother plants and time of dispersal were identified. Seeds dispersed at the end of the dispersal period had a greater probability of escaping from ant seed predation. Similarly, in plants with late dispersal a greater percentage of seeds escaped from ant predation. Optimum dispersal time coincided with the maximum activity of granivorous ants because, at this time, ants focused their harvest on other plant species of the community. It was also observed that within-individual seed dispersal asynchrony minimised seed predation. From a conservation perspective, results show that the granivorous ant-plant interaction cannot be assessed in isolation and that the intensity of its effects basically depends on the seed dispersal pattern of the other members of the plant community. Furthermore, this threat must be assessed by considering the overall situation of the target population. Thus, in E. paularense, the strong limitation of safe-sites for seedling establishment reduces the importance of seed predation.

  17. 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.

  18. Ultraviolet radiation as an ant repellent

    SciTech Connect

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

    1996-12-31

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

  19. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

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

  2. Contact rate modulates foraging efficiency in leaf cutting ants.

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-21

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

  3. Contact rate modulates foraging efficiency in leaf cutting ants

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lapierre, Louis; Hespenheide, Henry; Dejean, Alain

    2007-12-01

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

  5. Stridulations Reveal Cryptic Speciation in Neotropical Sympatric Ants

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  6. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  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. USING ANT COMMUNITIES FOR RAPID ASSESSMENT OF TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEM HEALTH

    SciTech Connect

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

    2007-01-12

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

  11. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2009-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. Ants of the national park of American Samoa

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Banko, Paul C.; Peck, Robert W.

    2015-01-01

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

  15. Competitive assembly of South Pacific invasive ant communities

    PubMed Central

    Lester, Philip J; Abbott, Kirsti L; Sarty, Megan; Burns, KC

    2009-01-01

    Background The relative importance of chance and determinism in structuring ecological communities has been debated for nearly a century. Evidence for determinism or assembly rules is often evaluated with null models that randomize the occurrence of species in particular locales. However, analyses of the presence or absence of species ignores the potential influence of species abundances, which have long been considered of major importance on community structure. Here, we test for community assembly rules in ant communities on small islands of the Tokelau archipelago using both presence-absence and abundance data. We conducted three sets of analyses on two spatial scales using three years of sampling data from 39 plots on 11 islands. Results First, traditional null model tests showed support for negative species co-occurrence patterns among plots within islands, but not among islands. A plausible explanation for this result is that analyses at larger spatial scales merge heterogeneous habitats that have considerable effects on species occurrences. Second, analyses of ant abundances showed that samples with high ant abundances had fewer species than expected by chance, both within and among islands. One ant species, the invasive yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes, appeared to have a particularly strong effect on community structure correlated with its abundance. Third, abundances of most ant species were inversely correlated with the abundances of all other ants at both spatial scales. This result is consistent with competition theory, which predicts species distributions are affected by diffuse competition with suites of co-occurring species. Conclusion Our results support a pluralistic explanation for ant species abundances and assembly. Both stochastic and deterministic processes interact to determine ant community assembly, though abundance patterns clearly drive the deterministic patterns in this community. These deterministic patterns were observed at two

  16. Weaver ant role in cashew orchards in Vietnam.

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Risch, Stephen J; Carroll, C Ronald

    1982-10-01

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

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Fuse, Mieko

    2013-10-01

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

  20. Vision-independent odometry in the ant Cataglyphis cursor.

    PubMed

    Thiélin-Bescond, Mary; Beugnon, Guy

    2005-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fent, Karl; Wehner, Rudiger

    1985-04-01

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

  2. The ant odometer: stepping on stilts and stumps.

    PubMed

    Wittlinger, Matthias; Wehner, Rüdiger; Wolf, Harald

    2006-06-30

    Desert ants, Cataglyphis, navigate in their vast desert habitat by path integration. They continuously integrate directions steered (as determined by their celestial compass) and distances traveled, gauged by as-yet-unknown mechanisms. Here we test the hypothesis that navigating ants measure distances traveled by using some kind of step integrator, or "step counter." We manipulated the lengths of the legs and, hence, the stride lengths, in freely walking ants. Animals with elongated ("stilts") or shortened legs ("stumps") take larger or shorter strides, respectively, and concomitantly misgauge travel distance. Travel distance is overestimated by experimental animals walking on stilts and underestimated by animals walking on stumps.

  3. What's eating you? ant-induced alopecia (pheidole).

    PubMed

    Feily, Amir; Lal, Karan; Elston, Dirk M

    2015-10-01

    Ant-induced alopecia is a rare cause of acute, localized, nonscarring hair loss. It is most commonly caused by Pheidole pallidula ants, which can be found worldwide but are most common in Iran. The resulting alopecia can have many morphologic patterns (eg, patch, linear, nondiscrete) and thus ant-induced alopecia should be considered in the differential diagnosis for patients from endemic areas who present with new-onset localized hair loss. The condition is self-limited; however, patients should be evaluated for other more common causes of alopecia, especially in the absence of a convincing history.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

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

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

    De La Riva, Deborah G; Trumble, John T

    2016-06-01

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

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. Efficient Egress of Escaping Ants Stressed with Temperature

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  11. Ants of Ambon Island – diversity survey and checklist

    PubMed Central

    Latumahina, Fransina; Borovanska, Michaela; Musyafa; Sumardi; Putra, Nugroho Susetya; Janda, Milan

    2015-01-01

    Abstract The present checklist of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Ambon is the first comprehensive overview of ant species recorded on the island during the last 150 years. The species list is based on literature and museum collections’ records combined with data from our field survey in 2010. In total, there are 74 ant species and subspecies representing 34 genera and six subfamilies known from Ambon. Five of the species found in undisturbed forest were exotic and indicate the overall habitat degradation on the island. The largest proportion of Ambon ant fauna are species with affinities to the Oriental region and species of Oriental-Austro-Melanesian origin. At least 20% of the species are regional endemics. In comparison to other islands in the region, the Ambon fauna seems more diverse and better sampled; however it is clear that a large part of it still remains to be described. PMID:25632248

  12. 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.

  13. Hybrid Ant Algorithm and Applications for Vehicle Routing Problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xiao, Zhang; Jiang-qing, Wang

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-28

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  16. Ant cuticles: a trap for atmospheric phthalate contaminants.

    PubMed

    Lenoir, Alain; Cuvillier-Hot, Virginie; Devers, Séverine; Christidès, Jean-Philippe; Montigny, Frédéric

    2012-12-15

    Phthalates are universal contaminants. We show that they are trapped by the ant cuticles and maintained permanently at a low level, generally less than 1% of cuticular components. They are found throughout the interior of the insect, predominately in the fat body, which suggests that they are adsorbed by the cuticle. In open plastic boxes free of phthalates the ants became more contaminated with phthalates over a period of time, whereas in closed glass jars they did not. This finding suggests that the main source of pollutants is the atmosphere. Different ant species collected from multiple places showed similar levels of contamination. It appeared that in some pristine places the contamination was lower, but this needs to be confirmed. Ants can be considered as bio-indicators of phthalate pollution.

  17. Efficient egress of escaping ants stressed with temperature.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  18. 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.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Winkel, Brian J.

    1994-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. Nasa's Ant-Inspired Swarmie Robots

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leucht, Kurt W.

    2016-01-01

    As humans push further beyond the grasp of earth, robotic missions in advance of human missions will play an increasingly important role. These robotic systems will find and retrieve valuable resources as part of an in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) strategy. They will need to be highly autonomous while maintaining high task performance levels. NASA Kennedy Space Center has teamed up with the Biological Computation Lab at the University of New Mexico to create a swarm of small, low-cost, autonomous robots to be used as a ground-based research platform for ISRU missions. The behavior of the robot swarm mimics the central-place foraging strategy of ants to find and collect resources in a previously unmapped environment and return those resources to a central site. This talk will guide the audience through the Swarmie robot project from its conception by students in a New Mexico research lab to its robot trials in an outdoor parking lot at NASA. The software technologies and techniques used on the project will be discussed, as well as various challenges and solutions that were encountered by the development team along the way.

  2. Climatic warming destabilizes forest ant communities

    PubMed Central

    Diamond, Sarah E.; Nichols, Lauren M.; Pelini, Shannon L.; Penick, Clint A.; Barber, Grace W.; Cahan, Sara Helms; Dunn, Robert R.; Ellison, Aaron M.; Sanders, Nathan J.; Gotelli, Nicholas J.

    2016-01-01

    How will ecological communities change in response to climate warming? Direct effects of temperature and indirect cascading effects of species interactions are already altering the structure of local communities, but the dynamics of community change are still poorly understood. We explore the cumulative effects of warming on the dynamics and turnover of forest ant communities that were warmed as part of a 5-year climate manipulation experiment at two sites in eastern North America. At the community level, warming consistently increased occupancy of nests and decreased extinction and nest abandonment. This consistency was largely driven by strong responses of a subset of thermophilic species at each site. As colonies of thermophilic species persisted in nests for longer periods of time under warmer temperatures, turnover was diminished, and species interactions were likely altered. We found that dynamical (Lyapunov) community stability decreased with warming both within and between sites. These results refute null expectations of simple temperature-driven increases in the activity and movement of thermophilic ectotherms. The reduction in stability under warming contrasts with the findings of previous studies that suggest resilience of species interactions to experimental and natural warming. In the face of warmer, no-analog climates, communities of the future may become increasingly fragile and unstable. PMID:27819044

  3. 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

  4. [Control of the Pharaoh's ant with borax bait formulations].

    PubMed

    Klunker, R; Scheurer, S; Neumann, T

    1990-12-01

    Results are given for the experimental control of Pharaoh ants, Monomorium pharaonis L., with persistent borax baits in the laboratory and the field. DYBH-bait formulations with about 17 per cent borax are very attractive and have a good effectivity. In 5 different objects infested with this ant eradication was proved to be possible with this experimental formulations. The progress of eradication depends essentially on the good organisational preparation of control measures.

  5. 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

  6. Remarks of Elliptic Curves Derived from Ant Colony Routing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jung, Sangsu; Kim, Daeyeoul; Singh, Dhananjay

    2011-09-01

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

  7. Improved ant colony algorithm and its simulation study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Zongjiang

    2013-03-01

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

  8. 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.).

  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. Behavioral diversity of predatory arboreal ants in coffee agroecosystems.

    PubMed

    Philpott, Stacy M; Perfecto, Ivette; Vandermeer, John

    2008-02-01

    Aspects of predator assemblages that alter predator effects on prey have received extensive recent attention. Among other mechanisms, differences in behavior or resource use within predator trophic levels may enhance predator effects on prey, especially if effects of each predator species differ with environmental conditions. We address whether three common ant species (Azteca instabilis F. Smith, Camponotus textor Forel, and Crematogaster spp.) are functionally unique in coffee agroecosystems, asking if each species differs in (1) cooperative foraging behavior, (2) responses to experimentally introduced herbivores, and (3) responses to pest outbreaks. Furthermore, we examined the behaviors and effects of each ant species under different conditions by varying herbivore species, herbivore size, and herbivore density and carrying out observations in different seasons. Ant species significantly differed in foraging behaviors, in effects on individual herbivores, and in responses to pest outbreaks in terms of both type and time of response to herbivores. The behaviors and effects of each ant species differed in the dry and wet seasons and for different herbivore species and sizes. Although A. instabilis generally removed more larvae and more quickly removed larvae, this was not the case under all conditions. The data presented thus support that common ant species in coffee agroecosystems are behaviorally diverse in their responses to herbivores under different conditions. We discuss the implications of these differences in ant behaviors for enhancement of predatory function in light of both multipredator effects and in terms of the potential importance of predator diversity.

  11. 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.

  12. Action of Ants on Vertebrate Carcasses and Blow Flies (Calliphoridae).

    PubMed

    Paula, Michele C; Morishita, Gustavo M; Cavarson, Carolina H; Gonçalves, Cristiano R; Tavares, Paulo R A; Mendonça, Angélica; Súarez, Yzel R; Antonialli-Junior, William F

    2016-11-01

    Forensic entomology is a science that uses insect fauna as a tool to assist in criminal investigations and civil proceedings. Although the most researched insects are the Diptera and Coleoptera, ants may be present in all stages of decomposition. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of ants and their action on blow flies during the decomposition process. Experiments were performed in which four pig carcasses were exposed in the cold and dry season (November/2012 and March/2013) and four in the hot and wet season (May/2013 and August/2013). Flies were the first insects to detect and interact with the carcasses, and six species of the Calliphoridae family were identified. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) were the second group, with six subfamilies identified. Myrmycinae represented 42% of the species, followed by Formicinae (28%), Ectatominae and Ponerinae (both 10%), and Ecitoninae and Dolichoderinae (both 5%). The ants acted on the carcasses as predators of visiting species, omnivores, and necrophagous, in all cases significantly affecting the decomposition time, slowing it down when the ants preyed on adult and immature insects consuming the carcass, or accelerating it by consuming the carcass and creating holes that could serve as gateways for the action of other organisms. The ants also generated artifacts that could lead to forensic misinterpretation.

  13. 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

  14. An invasive slug exploits an ant-seed dispersal mutualism.

    PubMed

    Meadley Dunphy, Shannon A; Prior, Kirsten M; Frederickson, Megan E

    2016-05-01

    Plant-animal mutualisms, such as seed dispersal, are often vulnerable to disruption by invasive species. Here, we show for the first time how a non-ant invasive species negatively affects seed dispersal by ants. We examined the effects of several animal species that co-occur in a temperate deciduous forest-including native and invasive seed-dispersing ants (Aphaenogaster rudis and Myrmica rubra, respectively), an invasive slug (Arion subfuscus), and native rodents-on a native myrmecochorous plant, Asarum canadense. We experimentally manipulated ant, slug, and rodent access to seed depots and measured seed removal. We also video-recorded depots to determine which other taxa interact with seeds. We found that A. rudis was the main disperser of seeds and that A. subfuscus consumed elaiosomes without dispersing seeds. Rodent visitation was rare, and rodent exclusion had no significant effect on seed or elaiosome removal. We then used data obtained from laboratory and field mesocosm experiments to determine how elaiosome robbing by A. subfuscus affects seed dispersal by A. rudis and M. rubra. We found that elaiosome robbing by slugs reduced seed dispersal by ants, especially in mesocosms with A. rudis, which picks up seeds more slowly than M. rubra. Taken together, our results show that elaiosome robbing by an invasive slug reduces seed dispersal by ants, suggesting that invasive slugs can have profound negative effects on seed dispersal mutualisms.

  15. 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

  16. Trail Pheromone Disruption of Argentine Ant Trail Formation and Foraging

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Suckling, D.M.; Peck, R.W.; Stringer, L.D.; Snook, K.; Banko, P.C.

    2010-01-01

    Trail pheromone disruption of invasive ants is a novel tactic that builds on the development of pheromone-based pest management in other insects. Argentine ant trail pheromone, (Z)-9-hexadecenal, was formulated as a micro-encapsulated sprayable particle and applied against Argentine ant populations in 400 m2 field plots in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. A widely dispersed point source strategy for trail pheromone disruption was used. Traffic rates of ants in bioassays of treated filter paper, protected from rainfall and sunlight, indicated the presence of behaviorally significant quantities of pheromone being released from the formulation for up to 59 days. The proportion of plots, under trade wind conditions (2-3 m s-1), with visible trails was reduced for up to 14 days following treatment, and the number of foraging ants at randomly placed tuna-bait cards was similarly reduced. The success of these trail pheromone disruption trials in a natural ecosystem highlights the potential of this method for control of invasive ant species in this and other environments. ?? Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. Friend or foe? A behavioral and stable isotopic investigation of an ant-plant symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Tillberg, Chadwick V

    2004-08-01

    In ant-plant symbioses, the behavior of ant inhabitants affects the nature of the interaction, ranging from mutualism to parasitism. Mutualistic species confer a benefit to the plant, while parasites reap the benefits of the interaction without reciprocating, potentially resulting in a negative impact on the host plant. Using the ant-plant symbiosis between Cordia alliodora and its ant inhabitants as a model system, I examine the costs and benefits of habitation by the four most common ant inhabitants at La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. Costs are measured by counting coccoids associated with each ant species. Benefits include patrolling behavior, effectiveness at locating resources, and recruitment response. I also compare the diets of the four ant species using stable isotope analysis of nitrogen (N) and carbon (C). Ants varied in their rates of association with coccoids, performance of beneficial behaviors, and diet. These differences in cost, benefit, and diet among the ant species suggest differences in the nature of the symbiotic relationship between C. alliodora and its ants. Two of the ant species behave in a mutualistic manner, while the other two ant species appear to be parasites of the mutualism. I determined that the mutualistic ants feed at a higher trophic level than the parasitic ants. Behavioral and dietary evidence indicate the protective role of the mutualists, and suggest that the parasitic ants do not protect the plant by consuming herbivores.

  20. Faunestic Study of Ants with Emphasis on the Health Risk of Stinging Ants in Qeshm Island, Iran

    PubMed Central

    Rafinejad, J; Zareii, A; Akbarzadeh, K; Azad, M; Biglaryan, F; Doosti, S; Sedaghat, MM

    2009-01-01

    Background Qeshm (26.75N, 55.82E), Iran, is 1500 km² island in the Strait of Hormuz. Qeshm is a free trade zone, acting as an important channel for international commerce, and has been the site of much recent development. There is potential risk of stinging ant attacks for residents and visitors that may occur in the island. The aims of this study were to find out the fauna, dispersion, and some of the biological features of ant species with special attention to those, which can play role on the public health of the island. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we surveyed ants around the island using non-attractive pitfall traps and active collection to evaluate potential threats to humans and other species during 2006–2007. All collected specimens were identified using the morphological ant keys. Results: Only six ant species were found: Pachycondyla sennaarensis (41%), Polyrhachis lacteipennis (23%), Camponotus fellah (16%), Cataglyphis niger (9%), Tapinoma simrothi (7%), and Messor galla (4%). Conclusion: We were surprised not to find any cosmopolitan tramp ants so often associated with commerce and development. Instead, all six species may be native to the Middle Eastern region. The most common species, P. sennaarensis, has a powerful sting and appears to do well around human habitations. This species may prove to be a serious pest on the island. PMID:22808373

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  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. 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

  6. A Systematic Review of Global Drivers of Ant Elevational Diversity

    PubMed Central

    Szewczyk, Tim; McCain, Christy M.

    2016-01-01

    Ant diversity shows a variety of patterns across elevational gradients, though the patterns and drivers have not been evaluated comprehensively. In this systematic review and reanalysis, we use published data on ant elevational diversity to detail the observed patterns and to test the predictions and interactions of four major diversity hypotheses: thermal energy, the mid-domain effect, area, and the elevational climate model. Of sixty-seven published datasets from the literature, only those with standardized, comprehensive sampling were used. Datasets included both local and regional ant diversity and spanned 80° in latitude across six biogeographical provinces. We used a combination of simulations, linear regressions, and non-parametric statistics to test multiple quantitative predictions of each hypothesis. We used an environmentally and geometrically constrained model as well as multiple regression to test their interactions. Ant diversity showed three distinct patterns across elevations: most common were hump-shaped mid-elevation peaks in diversity, followed by low-elevation plateaus and monotonic decreases in the number of ant species. The elevational climate model, which proposes that temperature and precipitation jointly drive diversity, and area were partially supported as independent drivers. Thermal energy and the mid-domain effect were not supported as primary drivers of ant diversity globally. The interaction models supported the influence of multiple drivers, though not a consistent set. In contrast to many vertebrate taxa, global ant elevational diversity patterns appear more complex, with the best environmental model contingent on precipitation levels. Differences in ecology and natural history among taxa may be crucial to the processes influencing broad-scale diversity patterns. PMID:27175999

  7. 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.

  8. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  11. Field Trapping the Little Fire Ant, Wasmannia auropunctata

    PubMed Central

    Derstine, Nathan T.; Troyer, Elisa J.; Suttles, Caitlyn N.; Siderhurst, Leigh A.; Jang, Eric B.; Siderhurst, Matthew S.

    2012-01-01

    Two detection methods for the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), both employing the pheromone attractant 2,5-dimethyl-3-(2-methylbutyl)pyrazine (2-MeBu-diMePy), were compared with peanut butter based detection, in order to evaluate differences in species specificity and detection reliability. Trapping was conducted using a transect through a macadamia orchard on the island of Hawaii. The transect consisted of a series of three-tree plots, each plot contained a peanut butter coated stick (the most common detection method used for W. auropunctata in Hawaii), a one—way trap treated with 2-MeBu-diMePy, and a piece of double-sided tape treated with 2-MeBu-diMePy. While there were no differences in the number of W. auropunctata counted with each detection method, and no differences in detection reliability (detecting the known presence of W. auropunctata in a plot), the pheromone—incorporating methods showed greater species specificity, retaining W. auropunctata almost exclusively. These results demonstrate the potential of pheromone—detection methods to selectively capture target ant species even when other ants are present and abundant. Combined data from all three detection methods and a previous visual survey along the transect showed a marked difference in the frequency of cohabitation among ant species. Of the 10 ant species collected, W. auropunctata was found as the sole ant species on a given tree at a significantly higher frequency than all other ant species except Pheidole fervens. 94% percent of the trees with W. auropunctata had only W. auropunctata, supporting previous observations that this species tends to displace other ant species. In addition, W. auropunctata microhabitat preferences were investigated using one—way traps containing 2-MeBu-diMePy, which were placed in three arboreal and three non—arboreal locations. While the number of ants captured did not differ by trap placement, when grouped

  12. A novel property of spider silk: chemical defence against ants.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Shichang; Koh, Teck Hui; Seah, Wee Khee; Lai, Yee Hing; Elgar, Mark A; Li, Daiqin

    2012-05-07

    Spider webs are made of silk, the properties of which ensure remarkable efficiency at capturing prey. However, remaining on, or near, the web exposes the resident spiders to many potential predators, such as ants. Surprisingly, ants are rarely reported foraging on the webs of orb-weaving spiders, despite the formidable capacity of ants to subdue prey and repel enemies, the diversity and abundance of orb-web spiders, and the nutritional value of the web and resident spider. We explain this paradox by reporting a novel property of the silk produced by the orb-web spider Nephila antipodiana (Walckenaer). These spiders deposit on the silk a pyrrolidine alkaloid (2-pyrrolidinone) that provides protection from ant invasion. Furthermore, the ontogenetic change in the production of 2-pyrrolidinone suggests that this compound represents an adaptive response to the threat of natural enemies, rather than a simple by-product of silk synthesis: while 2-pyrrolidinone occurs on the silk threads produced by adult and large juvenile spiders, it is absent on threads produced by small juvenile spiders, whose threads are sufficiently thin to be inaccessible to ants.

  13. Multi-trait mimicry of ants by a parasitoid wasp

    PubMed Central

    Malcicka, Miriama; Bezemer, T. Martijn; Visser, Bertanne; Bloemberg, Mark; Snart, Charles J. P.; Hardy, Ian C. W.; Harvey, Jeffrey A.

    2015-01-01

    Many animals avoid attack from predators through toxicity or the emission of repellent chemicals. Defensive mimicry has evolved in many species to deceive shared predators, for instance through colouration and other morphological adaptations, but mimicry hardly ever seems to involve multi-trait similarities. Here we report on a wingless parasitoid wasp that exhibits a full spectrum of traits mimicing ants and affording protection against ground-dwelling predators (wolf spiders). In body size, morphology and movement Gelis agilis (Ichneumonidae) is highly similar to the black garden ant (Lasius niger) that shares the same habitat. When threatened, G. agilis also emits a volatile chemical that is similar to an ant-produced chemical that repels spiders. In bioassays with L. niger, G. agilis, G. areator, Cotesia glomerata and Drosophila melanogaster, ants and G. agilis were virtually immune to spider attack, in contrast the other species were not. Volatile characterisation with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry identified G. agilis emissions as 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, a known insect defence semiochemical that acts as an alarm pheromone in ants. We argue that multi-trait mimicry, as observed in G. agilis, might be much more common among animals than currently realized. PMID:25622726

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Specificity and transmission mosaic of ant nest-wall fungi

    PubMed Central

    Schlick-Steiner, Birgit C.; Steiner, Florian M.; Konrad, Heino; Seifert, Bernhard; Christian, Erhard; Moder, Karl; Stauffer, Christian; Crozier, Ross H.

    2008-01-01

    Mutualism, whereby species interact to their mutual benefit, is extraordinary in a competitive world. To recognize general patterns of origin and maintenance from the plethora of mutualistic associations proves a persisting challenge. The simplest situation is believed to be that of a single mutualist specific to a single host, vertically transmitted from one host generation to the next. We characterized ascomycete fungal associates cultured for nest architecture by the ant subgenera Dendrolasius and Chthonolasius. The ants probably manage their fungal mutualists by protecting them against fungal competitors. The ant subgenera display different ant-to-fungus specificity patterns, one-to-two and many-to-one, and we infer vertical transmission, in the latter case overlaid by horizontal transmission. Possible evolutionary trajectories include a reversal from fungiculture by other Lasius subgenera and inheritance of fungi through life cycle interactions of the ant subgenera. The mosaic indicates how specificity patterns can be shaped by an interplay between host life-cycles and transmission adaptations. PMID:18195358

  17. New records of ant species from Yunnan, China

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Cong; Guénard, Benoit; Garcia, Francisco Hita; Yamane, Seiki; Blanchard, Benjamin; Yang, Da-Rong; Economo, Evan

    2015-01-01

    Abstract As with many other regions of the world, significant collecting, curation, and taxonomic efforts will be needed to complete the inventory of China’s ant fauna. This is especially true for the highly diverse tropical regions in the south of the country, where moist tropical forests harbor high species richness typical of the Southeast Asian region. We inventoried ants in the Xingshuangbanna prefecture, Yunnan, in June 2013, using a variety of methods including Winkler extraction and hand collection to sample ant diversity. We identified 213 species/morphospecies of ants from 10 subfamilies and 61 genera. After identification of 148 valid species of the 213 total species collected, 40 species represent new records for Yunnan province and 17 species are newly recorded for China. This increases the total number of named ant species in Yunnan and China to 447 and 951 respectively. The most common species collected were Brachyponera luteipes and Vollenhovia emeryi. Only one confirmed exotic species Strumigenys membranifera, was collected, although several others were potentially introduced by humans. These results highlight the high biodiversity value of the region, but also underscore how much work remains to fully document the native myrmecofauna. PMID:25685004

  18. An ancient tripartite symbiosis of plants, ants and scale insects.

    PubMed

    Ueda, Shouhei; Quek, Swee-Peck; Itioka, Takao; Inamori, Keita; Sato, Yumiko; Murase, Kaori; Itino, Takao

    2008-10-22

    In the Asian tropics, a conspicuous radiation of Macaranga plants is inhabited by obligately associated Crematogaster ants tending Coccus (Coccidae) scale insects, forming a tripartite symbiosis. Recent phylogenetic studies have shown that the plants and the ants have been codiversifying over the past 16-20 million years (Myr). The prevalence of coccoids in ant-plant mutualisms suggest that they play an important role in the evolution of ant-plant symbioses. To determine whether the scale insects were involved in the evolutionary origin of the mutualism between Macaranga and Crematogaster, we constructed a cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene phylogeny of the scale insects collected from myrmecophytic Macaranga and estimated their time of origin based on a COI molecular clock. The minimum age of the associated Coccus was estimated to be half that of the ants, at 7-9Myr, suggesting that they were latecomers in the evolutionary history of the symbiosis. Crematogaster mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages did not exhibit specificity towards Coccus mtDNA lineages, and the latter was not found to be specific towards Macaranga taxa, suggesting that patterns of associations in the scale insects are dictated by opportunity rather than by specialized adaptations to host plant traits.

  19. 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

  20. Improved ant colony algorithm for global path planning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Pengfei; Wang, Hongbo; Li, Xiaogang

    2017-03-01

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

  1. Competition can lead to unexpected patterns in tropical ant communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ellwood, M. D. Farnon; Blüthgen, Nico; Fayle, Tom M.; Foster, William A.; Menzel, Florian

    2016-08-01

    Ecological communities are structured by competitive, predatory, mutualistic and parasitic interactions combined with chance events. Separating deterministic from stochastic processes is possible, but finding statistical evidence for specific biological interactions is challenging. We attempt to solve this problem for ant communities nesting in epiphytic bird's nest ferns (Asplenium nidus) in Borneo's lowland rainforest. By recording the frequencies with which each and every single ant species occurred together, we were able to test statistically for patterns associated with interspecific competition. We found evidence for competition, but the resulting co-occurrence pattern was the opposite of what we expected. Rather than detecting species segregation-the classical hallmark of competition-we found species aggregation. Moreover, our approach of testing individual pairwise interactions mostly revealed spatially positive rather than negative associations. Significant negative interactions were only detected among large ants, and among species of the subfamily Ponerinae. Remarkably, the results from this study, and from a corroborating analysis of ant communities known to be structured by competition, suggest that competition within the ants leads to species aggregation rather than segregation. We believe this unexpected result is linked with the displacement of species following asymmetric competition. We conclude that analysing co-occurrence frequencies across complete species assemblages, separately for each species, and for each unique pairwise combination of species, represents a subtle yet powerful way of detecting structure and compartmentalisation in ecological communities.

  2. Catalogue of the ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of Bulgaria

    PubMed Central

    Lapeva-Gjonova, Albena; Antonova, Vera; Radchenko, Alexander G.; Atanasova, Maria

    2010-01-01

    Abstract The present catalogue of the ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of Bulgaria is made on a base of critical reconsideration of literature (covering the period from 1892 till 2009 and part of 2010) as well as on examination of the authors‘ and several museum‘s collections. A lot of data were omitted in the previous Bulgarian monograph on ants, lots of new data were recently added and many important additions and alterations were made due to taxonomic revisions of Eurasian Formicidae during the last three decades. Two new species are reported for the country [Temnothorax graecus (Forel, 1911) and Temnothorax cf. korbi (Emery, 1924)]. This catalogue contains a list of 163 ant species belonging to 40 genera of 6 subfamilies now known from Bulgaria. Synonyms and information on the previously reported names in relevant publications are given. Known localities of the species are grouped by geographic regions. Maps with concrete localities or regions for each species were prepared. The conservation status of 13 ant species is given as they are included in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and Bulgarian Biodiversity Act. In comparison with adjacent Balkan regions the ant fauna of Bulgaria is quite rich and its core is composed of South European elements. PMID:21594018

  3. Stigmergic construction and topochemical information shape ant nest architecture

    PubMed Central

    Khuong, Anaïs; Gautrais, Jacques; Perna, Andrea; Sbaï, Chaker; Combe, Maud; Kuntz, Pascale; Jost, Christian; Theraulaz, Guy

    2016-01-01

    The nests of social insects are not only impressive because of their sheer complexity but also because they are built from individuals whose work is not centrally coordinated. A key question is how groups of insects coordinate their building actions. Here, we use a combination of experimental and modeling approaches to investigate nest construction in the ant Lasius niger. We quantify the construction dynamics and the 3D structures built by ants. Then, we characterize individual behaviors and the interactions of ants with the structures they build. We show that two main interactions are involved in the coordination of building actions: (i) a stigmergic-based interaction that controls the amplification of depositions at some locations and is attributable to a pheromone added by ants to the building material; and (ii) a template-based interaction in which ants use their body size as a cue to control the height at which they start to build a roof from existing pillars. We then develop a 3D stochastic model based on these individual behaviors to analyze the effect of pheromone presence and strength on construction dynamics. We show that the model can quantitatively reproduce key features of construction dynamics, including a large-scale pattern of regularly spaced pillars, the formation and merging of caps over the pillars, and the remodeling of built structures. Finally, our model suggests that the lifetime of the pheromone is a highly influential parameter that controls the growth and form of nest architecture. PMID:26787857

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Stigmergic construction and topochemical information shape ant nest architecture.

    PubMed

    Khuong, Anaïs; Gautrais, Jacques; Perna, Andrea; Sbaï, Chaker; Combe, Maud; Kuntz, Pascale; Jost, Christian; Theraulaz, Guy

    2016-02-02

    The nests of social insects are not only impressive because of their sheer complexity but also because they are built from individuals whose work is not centrally coordinated. A key question is how groups of insects coordinate their building actions. Here, we use a combination of experimental and modeling approaches to investigate nest construction in the ant Lasius niger. We quantify the construction dynamics and the 3D structures built by ants. Then, we characterize individual behaviors and the interactions of ants with the structures they build. We show that two main interactions are involved in the coordination of building actions: (i) a stigmergic-based interaction that controls the amplification of depositions at some locations and is attributable to a pheromone added by ants to the building material; and (ii) a template-based interaction in which ants use their body size as a cue to control the height at which they start to build a roof from existing pillars. We then develop a 3D stochastic model based on these individual behaviors to analyze the effect of pheromone presence and strength on construction dynamics. We show that the model can quantitatively reproduce key features of construction dynamics, including a large-scale pattern of regularly spaced pillars, the formation and merging of caps over the pillars, and the remodeling of built structures. Finally, our model suggests that the lifetime of the pheromone is a highly influential parameter that controls the growth and form of nest architecture.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Nucleotide sequence analysis and DNA hybridization studies of the ant(4')-IIa gene from Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

    PubMed Central

    Shaw, K J; Munayyer, H; Rather, P N; Hare, R S; Miller, G H

    1993-01-01

    The ant(4')-IIa gene was previously cloned from Pseudomonas aeruginosa on a 1.6-kb DNA fragment (G. A. Jacoby, M. J. Blaser, P. Santanam, H. Hächler, F. H. Kayser, R. S. Hare, and G. H. Miller, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 34:2381-2386, 1990). In the current study, the ant(4')-IIa gene was localized by gamma-delta mutagenesis. A region of approximately 600 nucleotides which contained the ant(4')-IIa gene was identified, and DNA sequence analysis revealed two overlapping open reading frames (ORFs) within this region. Northern (RNA) blot analysis demonstrated expression of both ORFs in P. aeruginosa; therefore, site-directed mutagenesis was used to identify the ORF which encodes the ant(4')-IIa gene. No homology was found between ant(4')-IIa and ant(4')-Ia DNA sequences. Hybridization experiments confirmed that the ant(4')-Ia probe hybridized only to gram-positive presumptive ANT(4')-I strains and that the ant(4')-IIa probe hybridized only to gram-negative strains presumed to carry ANT(4')-II. Seven gram-negative strains which had been classified as having ANT(4')-II resistance profiles did not hybridize with probes for either ant(4')-Ia or ant(4')-IIa, suggesting that at least one additional ant(4') gene may exist. The predicted amino-terminal sequences of the ANT(4')-Ia and ANT(4')-IIa proteins showed significant sequence similarity between residues 38 and 63 of the ANT(4')-Ia protein and residues 26 and 51 of the ANT(4')-IIa protein. PMID:8494365

  14. Density-mediated, context-dependent consumer-resource interactions between ants and extrafloral nectar plants.

    PubMed

    Chamberlain, Scott A; Holland, J Nathaniel

    2008-05-01

    Interspecific interactions are often mediated by the interplay between resource supply and consumer density. The supply of a resource and a consumer's density response to it may in turn yield context-dependent use of other resources. Such consumer-resource interactions occur not only for predator-prey and competitive interactions, but for mutualistic ones as well. For example, consumer-resource interactions between ants and extrafloral nectar (EFN) plants are often mutualistic, as EFN resources attract and reward ants which protect plants from herbivory. Yet, ants also commonly exploit floral resources, leading to antagonistic consumer-resource interactions by disrupting pollination and plant reproduction. EFN resources associated with mutualistic ant-plant interactions may also mediate antagonistic ant-flower interactions through the aggregative density response of ants on plants, which could either exacerbate ant-flower interactions or alternatively satiate and distract ants from floral resources. In this study, we examined how EFN resources mediate the density response of ants on senita cacti in the Sonoran Desert and their context-dependent use of floral resources. Removal of EFN resources reduced the aggregative density of ants on plants, both on hourly and daily time scales. Yet, the increased aggregative ant density on plants with EFN resources decreased rather than increased ant use of floral resources, including contacts with and time spent in flowers. Behavioral assays showed no confounding effect of floral deterrents on ant-flower interactions. Thus, ant use of floral resources depends on the supply of EFN resources, which mediates the potential for both mutualistic and antagonistic interactions by increasing the aggregative density of ants protecting plants, while concurrently distracting ants from floral resources. Nevertheless, only certain years and populations of study showed an increase in plant reproduction through herbivore protection or ant

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  16. Social isolation and brain development in the ant Camponotus floridanus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seid, Marc A.; Junge, Erich

    2016-06-01

    Social interactions play a key role in the healthy development of social animals and are most pronounced in species with complex social networks. When developing offspring do not receive proper social interaction, they show developmental impairments. This effect is well documented in mammalian species but controversial in social insects. It has been hypothesized that the enlargement of the mushroom bodies, responsible for learning and memory, observed in social insects is needed for maintaining the large social networks and/or task allocation. This study examines the impact of social isolation on the development of mushroom bodies of the ant Camponotus floridanus. Ants raised in isolation were shown to exhibit impairment in the growth of the mushroom bodies as well as behavioral differences when compared to ants raised in social groups. These results indicate that social interaction is necessary for the proper development of C. floridanus mushroom bodies.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

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

  18. Convergent genetic architecture underlies social organization in ants.

    PubMed

    Purcell, Jessica; Brelsford, Alan; Wurm, Yannick; Perrin, Nicolas; Chapuisat, Michel

    2014-11-17

    Complex adaptive polymorphisms are common in nature, but what mechanisms maintain the underlying favorable allelic combinations? The convergent evolution of polymorphic social organization in two independent ant species provides a great opportunity to investigate how genomes evolved under parallel selection. Here, we demonstrate that a large, nonrecombining "social chromosome" is associated with social organization in the Alpine silver ant, Formica selysi. This social chromosome shares architectural characteristics with that of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, but the two show no detectable similarity in gene content. The discovery of convergence at two levels--the phenotype and the genetic architecture associated with alternative social forms--points at general genetic mechanisms underlying transitions in social organization. More broadly, our findings are consistent with recent theoretical studies suggesting that suppression of recombination plays a key role in facilitating coordinated shifts in coadapted traits.

  19. Natural selection drives the evolution of ant life cycles

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Edward O.; Nowak, Martin A.

    2014-01-01

    The genetic origin of advanced social organization has long been one of the outstanding problems of evolutionary biology. Here we present an analysis of the major steps in ant evolution, based for the first time, to our knowledge, on combined recent advances in paleontology, phylogeny, and the study of contemporary life histories. We provide evidence of the causal forces of natural selection shaping several key phenomena: (i) the relative lateness and rarity in geological time of the emergence of eusociality in ants and other animal phylads; (ii) the prevalence of monogamy at the time of evolutionary origin; and (iii) the female-biased sex allocation observed in many ant species. We argue that a clear understanding of the evolution of social insects can emerge if, in addition to relatedness-based arguments, we take into account key factors of natural history and study how natural selection acts on alleles that modify social behavior. PMID:25114217

  20. 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.

  1. Five new records of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Morocco.

    PubMed

    Taheri, Ahmed; Reyes-López, Joaquin L

    2015-01-01

    A recent catalogue of the rich ant fauna of Morocco included 214 species, with later studies adding an additional 12 species. Following recent fieldwork in the north of Morocco, we report five new records for the country (Plagiolepis pygmaea Latreille, 1798, Ponera testacea Emery, 1895, Strumigenys tenuipilis Emery, 1915, Temnothorax pardoi Tinaut, 1987, and Tetramorium parvioculum Guillem & Bensusan, 2009) and we present new data on the distribution and natural history of six additional species. This work brings the total number of ants known from Morocco to 233, taking into account two species which were omitted in the list of Cagniant.

  2. 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

  3. Improved Robustness through Population Variance in Ant Colony Optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

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

  4. Phylogeny of the Ants: Diversification in the Age of Angiosperms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moreau, Corrie S.; Bell, Charles D.; Vila, Roger; Archibald, S. Bruce; Pierce, Naomi E.

    2006-04-01

    We present a large-scale molecular phylogeny of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), based on 4.5 kilobases of sequence data from six gene regions extracted from 139 of the 288 described extant genera, representing 19 of the 20 subfamilies. All but two subfamilies are recovered as monophyletic. Divergence time estimates calibrated by minimum age constraints from 43 fossils indicate that most of the subfamilies representing extant ants arose much earlier than previously proposed but only began to diversify during the Late Cretaceous to Early Eocene. This period also witnessed the rise of angiosperms and most herbivorous insects.

  5. Five New Records of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) From Morocco

    PubMed Central

    Taheri, Ahmed; Reyes-López, Joaquin L.

    2015-01-01

    A recent catalogue of the rich ant fauna of Morocco included 214 species, with later studies adding an additional 12 species. Following recent fieldwork in the north of Morocco, we report five new records for the country (Plagiolepis pygmaea Latreille, 1798, Ponera testacea Emery, 1895, Strumigenys tenuipilis Emery, 1915, Temnothorax pardoi Tinaut, 1987, and Tetramorium parvioculum Guillem & Bensusan, 2009) and we present new data on the distribution and natural history of six additional species. This work brings the total number of ants known from Morocco to 233, taking into account two species which were omitted in the list of Cagniant. PMID:25843590

  6. Multiple ant species tending lac insect Kerria yunnanensis (Hemiptera: Kerriidae) provide asymmetric protection against parasitoids.

    PubMed

    Chen, Youqing; Lu, Zhixing; Li, Qiao; Hoffmann, Benjamin D; Zhang, Wei

    2014-01-01

    This study investigated the effects of ant attendance on the parasitoid community and parasitism of lac insect Kerria yunnanensis aggregations in Yunnan province, China. We manipulated ant attendance to establish three treatments: (1) ant exclusion; (2) low ant attendance by several ant species; and (3) high ant attendance by Crematogaster macaoensis. Five parasitoid species were collected, with two species contributing 82.7 and 13.2% of total abundance respectively. Total parasitoid abundance was lowest in the February sample when K. yunnanensis was in its younger life stage, being significantly lower in the ant exclusion treatment. In April, all three treatments had significantly different parasitoid abundances, being highest in the ant exclusion treatment and the lowest in the high ant attendance treatment. When ants were present, there were strong negative relationships between total parasitoid abundance and ant abundance, with the relationships being dependent upon the ant species composition and abundance. The patterns of total parasitoid abundance were driven by the two most abundant parasitoid species. Parasitoid species richness did not differ among treatments or between sample times, however, multivariate analysis confirmed that overall parasitoid community structure differed significantly among treatments and between sample times, with the high ant attendance treatment differing most from the other two treatments. Interestingly the absence of ants did not result in increased parasitism from four of the five parasitoids. Ants in lac insect farming systems have a clear role for agricultural pest management. A full understanding of the asymmetric abilities of ants to influence parasitoid communities, and affect parasitism of hosts will require further experimental manipulation to assess the relative roles of 1) the abundance of each individual ant species on parasitoid access to hosts, 2) competition among parasitoids, and 3) the interaction between the

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

    PubMed

    De La Mora, Aldo; Philpott, Stacy M

    2010-10-01

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

  8. Plant genotype shapes ant-aphid interactions: implications for community structure and indirect plant defense.

    PubMed

    Mooney, Kailen A; Agrawal, Anurag A

    2008-06-01

    Little is known about the mechanisms by which plant genotype shapes arthropod community structure. In a field experiment, we measured the effects of milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) genotype and ants on milkweed arthropods. Populations of the ant-tended aphid Aphis asclepiadis and the untended aphid Myzocallis asclepiadis varied eight- to 18-fold among milkweed genotypes, depending on aphid species and whether ants were present. There was no milkweed effect on predatory arthropods. Ants increased Aphis abundance 59%, decreased Myzocallis abundance 52%, and decreased predator abundance 56%. Milkweed genotype indirectly influenced ants via direct effects on Aphis and Myzocallis abundance. Milkweed genotype also modified ant-aphid interactions, influencing the number of ants attracted per Aphis and Myzocallis. While ant effects on Myzocallis were consistently negative, effects on Aphis ranged from antagonistic to mutualistic among milkweed genotypes. As a consequence of milkweed effects on ant-aphid interactions, ant abundance varied 13-fold among milkweed genotypes, and monarch caterpillar survival was negatively correlated with genetic variation in ant abundance. We speculate that heritable variation in milkweed phloem sap drives these effects on aphids, ants, and caterpillars. In summary, milkweed exerts genetic control over the interactions between aphids and an ant that provides defense against foliage-feeding caterpillars.

  9. adPEO mutations in ANT1 impair ADP-ATP translocation in muscle mitochondria.

    PubMed

    Kawamata, Hibiki; Tiranti, Valeria; Magrané, Jordi; Chinopoulos, Christos; Manfredi, Giovanni

    2011-08-01

    Mutations in the heart and muscle isoform of adenine nucleotide translocator 1 (ANT1) are associated with autosomal-dominant progressive external opthalmoplegia (adPEO) clinically characterized by exercise intolerance, ptosis and muscle weakness. The pathogenic mechanisms underlying the mitochondrial myopathy caused by ANT1 mutations remain largely unknown. In yeast, expression of ANT1 carrying mutations corresponding to the human adPEO ones causes a wide range of mitochondrial abnormalities. However, functional studies of ANT1 mutations in mammalian cells are lacking, because they have been hindered by the fact that ANT1 expression leads to apoptotic cell death in commonly utilized replicating cell lines. Here, we successfully express functional ANT1 in differentiated mouse myotubes, which naturally contain high levels of ANT1, without causing cell death. We demonstrate, for the first time in these disease-relevant mammalian cells, that mutant human ANT1 causes dominant mitochondrial defects characterized by decreased ADP-ATP exchange function and abnormal translocator reversal potential. These abnormalities are not due to ANT1 loss of function, because knocking down Ant1 in myotubes causes functional changes different from ANT1 mutants. Under certain physiological conditions, mitochondria consume ATP to maintain membrane potential by reversing the ADP-ATP transport. The modified properties of mutant ANT1 can be responsible for disease pathogenesis in adPEO, because exchange reversal occurring at higher than normal membrane potential can cause excessive energy depletion and nucleotide imbalance in ANT1 mutant muscle cells.

  10. Fire ants actively control spacing and orientation within self-assemblages.

    PubMed

    Foster, Paul C; Mlot, Nathan J; Lin, Angela; Hu, David L

    2014-06-15

    To overcome obstacles and survive harsh environments, fire ants link their bodies together to form self-assemblages such as rafts, bridges and bivouacs. Such structures are examples of self-assembling and self-healing materials, as ants can quickly create and break links with one another in response to changes in their environment. Because ants are opaque, the arrangement of the ants within these three-dimensional networks was previously unknown. In this experimental study, we applied micro-scale computed tomography, or micro-CT, to visualize the connectivity, arrangement and orientation of ants within an assemblage. We identified active and geometric mechanisms that ants use to obtain favorable packing properties with respect to well-studied packing of inert objects such as cylinders. Ants use their legs to push against their neighbors, doubling their spacing relative to random packing of cylinders. These legs also permit active control of their orientation, an ability ants use to arrange themselves perpendicularly rather than in parallel. Lastly, we found an important role of ant polymorphism in promoting self-aggregation: a large distribution of ant sizes permits small ants to fit between the legs of larger ants, a phenomenon that increases the number of average connections per ant. These combined mechanisms lead to low packing fraction and high connectivity, which increase raft buoyancy and strength during flash floods.

  11. Activity of Bifenthrin, Chlorfenapyr, Fipronil, and Thiamethoxam against Argentine Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bifenthrin, chlorfenapyr, fipronil, and thiamethoxam were evaluated for activity against the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr). Mobility impairment and lethal times were determined following topical treatments. Ants were immobilized most quickly by bifenthrin, followed by chlorfenapyr and th...

  12. Activity of Bifenthrin, Chlorfenapyr, Fipronil, and Thiamethoxam against Red Imported Fire Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bifenthrin, chlorfenapyr, fipronil, and thiamethoxam were evaluated for activity against the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr). Mobility impairment and lethal times were determined following topical treatments. Ants were immobilized most quickly by bifenthrin, followed by chlorfenapyr and thi...

  13. The genomic impact of 100 million years of social evolution in seven ant species.

    PubMed

    Gadau, Jürgen; Helmkampf, Martin; Nygaard, Sanne; Roux, Julien; Simola, Daniel F; Smith, Chris R; Suen, Garret; Wurm, Yannick; Smith, Christopher D

    2012-01-01

    Ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) represent one of the most successful eusocial taxa in terms of both their geographic distribution and species number. The publication of seven ant genomes within the past year was a quantum leap for socio- and ant genomics. The diversity of social organization in ants makes them excellent model organisms to study the evolution of social systems. Comparing the ant genomes with those of the honeybee, a lineage that evolved eusociality independently from ants, and solitary insects suggests that there are significant differences in key aspects of genome organization between social and solitary insects, as well as among ant species. Altogether, these seven ant genomes open exciting new research avenues and opportunities for understanding the genetic basis and regulation of social species, and adaptive complex systems in general.

  14. Impact of imidacloprid on new queens of imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Neonicotinoid insecticides are commonly used in managing pest ants, including the imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. There is increasing evidence that neonicotinoid insecticides at sublethal concentrations have profound effects on social insects. However, the sublethal effect of neonicot...

  15. 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.

  16. Regulation and specificity of antifungal metapleural gland secretion in leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Yek, Sze Huei; Nash, David R; Jensen, Annette B; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2012-10-22

    Ants have paired metapleural glands (MGs) to produce secretions for prophylactic hygiene. These exocrine glands are particularly well developed in leaf-cutting ants, but whether the ants can actively regulate MG secretion is unknown. In a set of controlled experiments using conidia of five fungi, we show that the ants adjust the amount of MG secretion to the virulence of the fungus with which they are infected. We further applied fixed volumes of MG secretion of ants challenged with constant conidia doses to agar mats of the same fungal species. This showed that inhibition halos were significantly larger for ants challenged with virulent and mild pathogens/weeds than for controls and Escovopsis-challenged ants. We conclude that the MG defence system of leaf-cutting ants has characteristics reminiscent of an additional cuticular immune system, with specific and non-specific components, of which some are constitutive and others induced.

  17. Ecology of microfungal communities in gardens of fungus-growing ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): a year-long survey of three species of attine ants in Central Texas.

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, Andre; Mueller, Ulrich G; Ishak, Heather D; Bacci, Maurício; Pagnocca, Fernando C

    2011-11-01

    We profiled the microfungal communities in gardens of fungus-growing ants to evaluate possible species-specific ant-microfungal associations and to assess the potential dependencies of microfungal diversity on ant foraging behavior. In a 1-year survey, we isolated microfungi from nests of Cyphomyrmex wheeleri, Trachymyrmex septentrionalis and Atta texana in Central Texas. Microfungal prevalence was higher in gardens of C. wheeleri (57%) than in the gardens of T. septentrionalis (46%) and A. texana (35%). Culture-dependent methods coupled with a polyphasic approach of species identification revealed diverse and changing microfungal communities in all the sampling periods. Diversity analyses showed no obvious correlations between the number of observed microfungal species, ant species, or the ants' changing foraging behavior across the seasons. However, both correspondence analysis and 5.8S-rRNA gene unifrac analyses suggested structuring of microfungal communities by ant host. These host-specific differences may reflect in part the three different environments where ants were collected. Most interestingly, the specialized fungal parasite Escovopsis was not isolated from any attine garden in this study near the northernmost limit of the range of attine ants, contrasting with previous studies that indicated a significant incidence of this parasite in ant gardens from Central and South America. The observed differences of microfungal communities in attine gardens suggest that the ants are continuously in contact with a diverse microfungal species assemblage.

  18. 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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  20. Potential use of Solenopsis invicta viruses to control fire ants.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta was introduced into the U.S. between 1918 and 1945. Since that time, they have expanded their U.S. range to include some 138 million hectares. Their introduction has had significant economic consequences with costs associated with damage and control effort...

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-07-01

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

  2. 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...

  3. 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...

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  7. 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...

  8. VideoANT: Extending Online Video Annotation beyond Content Delivery

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hosack, Bradford

    2010-01-01

    This paper expands the boundaries of video annotation in education by outlining the need for extended interaction in online video use, identifying the challenges faced by existing video annotation tools, and introducing Video-ANT, a tool designed to create text-based annotations integrated within the time line of a video hosted online. Several…

  9. AREAWIDE SUPPRESSION OF FIRE ANTS: DEMONSTRATION PROJECT IN MISSISSIPPI, 2006

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The USDA-ARS demonstration project for the suppression of imported fire ants has entered its sixth year. In 2005, Mississippi State University joined the project monitoring sites in Clay and Grenada Counties. The Areawide project integrates biological control agents with the chemical ...

  10. Mimetic host shifts in an endangered social parasite of ants

    PubMed Central

    Thomas, Jeremy A.; Elmes, Graham W.; Sielezniew, Marcin; Stankiewicz-Fiedurek, Anna; Simcox, David J.; Settele, Josef; Schönrogge, Karsten

    2013-01-01

    An emerging problem in conservation is whether listed morpho-species with broad distributions, yet specialized lifestyles, consist of more than one cryptic species or functionally distinct forms that have different ecological requirements. We describe extreme regional divergence within an iconic endangered butterfly, whose socially parasitic young stages use non-visual, non-tactile cues to infiltrate and supplant the brood in ant societies. Although indistinguishable morphologically or when using current mitochondrial and nuclear sequence-, or microsatellite data, Maculinea rebeli from Spain and southeast Poland exploit different Myrmica ant species and experience 100 per cent mortality with each other's hosts. This reflects major differences in the hydrocarbons synthesized from each region by the larvae, which so closely mimic the recognition profiles of their respective hosts that nurse ants afford each parasite a social status above that of their own kin larvae. The two host ants occupy separate niches within grassland; thus, conservation management must differ in each region. Similar cryptic differentiation may be common, yet equally hard to detect, among the approximately 10 000 unstudied morpho-species of social parasite that are estimated to exist, many of which are Red Data Book listed. PMID:23193127

  11. ANTS: Exploring the Solar System with an Autonomous Nanotechnology Swarm

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2002-01-01

    ANTS (Autonomous Nano-Technology Swarm), a NASA advanced mission concept, calls for a large (1000 member) swarm of pico-class (1 kg) totally autonomous spacecraft to prospect the asteroid belt. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  12. Stabilities of ant nests and their adjacent soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Echezona, B. C.; Igwe, C. A.

    2012-10-01

    Nests habour ants and termites and protect them from harsh environmental conditions. The structural stabilities of nests were studied to ascertain their relative vulnerability to environmental stresses. Arboreal-ant nests were pried from different trees, while epigeous-termite nests were excavated from soil surface within the sample area. Soils without any visible sign of ant or termite activity were also sampled 6 m away from the nests as control. Laboratory analysis result showed that irrespective of the tree hosts, the aggregate stabilities of the ant nests were lower than those of the ground termite, with nests formed on Cola nitida significantly showing lower aggregate stability (19.7%) than other antnest structures. Clay dispersion ratio, moisture content, water stable aggregate class <0.25mm and sand mass were each negatively correlated with aggregate stability, while water stable aggregate class1.00-0.50 mm gave a positive correlation. Nest structures were dominated more by water stable aggregate class >2.00 mm but path analysis demonstrated that water stable aggregate class <0.25 mm contributed most to the higher aggregate stability of the termite nest than the other nest. Nest aggregates had greater structural stability compared to the control soil. The higher structural stability of termite nests over other nest and soil was considered a better adaptive mechanism against body desiccation.

  13. 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

  14. A Review of the Biological Control of Fire Ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The suppression of well-established invasive ants will likely require biological control by natural enemies. This approach is self-sustaining and can impact undetected or inaccessible populations that are the source of the continual presence and expansion of the invaders. There is an ongoing effor...

  15. Three spectrally distinct photoreceptors in diurnal and nocturnal Australian ants

    PubMed Central

    Ogawa, Yuri; Falkowski, Marcin; Narendra, Ajay; Zeil, Jochen; Hemmi, Jan M.

    2015-01-01

    Ants are thought to be special among Hymenopterans in having only dichromatic colour vision based on two spectrally distinct photoreceptors. Many ants are highly visual animals, however, and use vision extensively for navigation. We show here that two congeneric day- and night-active Australian ants have three spectrally distinct photoreceptor types, potentially supporting trichromatic colour vision. Electroretinogram recordings show the presence of three spectral sensitivities with peaks (λmax) at 370, 450 and 550 nm in the night-active Myrmecia vindex and peaks at 370, 470 and 510 nm in the day-active Myrmecia croslandi. Intracellular electrophysiology on individual photoreceptors confirmed that the night-active M. vindex has three spectral sensitivities with peaks (λmax) at 370, 430 and 550 nm. A large number of the intracellular recordings in the night-active M. vindex show unusually broad-band spectral sensitivities, suggesting that photoreceptors may be coupled. Spectral measurements at different temporal frequencies revealed that the ultraviolet receptors are comparatively slow. We discuss the adaptive significance and the probability of trichromacy in Myrmecia ants in the context of dim light vision and visual navigation. PMID:25994678

  16. 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 ...

  17. 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

  18. Bilingualism Aids Conflict Resolution: Evidence from the ANT Task

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Costa, Albert; Hernandez, Mirea; Sebastian-Galles, Nuria

    2008-01-01

    The need of bilinguals to continuously control two languages during speech production may exert general effects on their attentional networks. To explore this issue we compared the performance of bilinguals and monolinguals in the attentional network task (ANT) developed by Fan et al. [Fan, J., McCandliss, B.D. Sommer, T., Raz, A., Posner, M.I.…

  19. 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

  20. Evolutionarily advanced ant farmers rear polyploid fungal crops.

    PubMed

    Kooij, P W; Aanen, D K; Schiøtt, M; Boomsma, J J

    2015-11-01

    Innovative evolutionary developments are often related to gene or genome duplications. The crop fungi of attine fungus-growing ants are suspected to have enhanced genetic variation reminiscent of polyploidy, but this has never been quantified with cytological data and genetic markers. We estimated the number of nuclei per fungal cell for 42 symbionts reared by 14 species of Panamanian fungus-growing ants. This showed that domesticated symbionts of higher attine ants are polykaryotic with 7-17 nuclei per cell, whereas nonspecialized crops of lower attines are dikaryotic similar to most free-living basidiomycete fungi. We then investigated how putative higher genetic diversity is distributed across polykaryotic mycelia, using microsatellite loci and evaluating models assuming that all nuclei are either heterogeneously haploid or homogeneously polyploid. Genetic variation in the polykaryotic symbionts of the basal higher attine genera Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex was only slightly enhanced, but the evolutionarily derived crop fungi of Atta and Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants had much higher genetic variation. Our opposite ploidy models indicated that the symbionts of Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex are likely to be lowly and facultatively polyploid (just over two haplotypes on average), whereas Atta and Acromyrmex symbionts are highly and obligatorily polyploid (ca. 5-7 haplotypes on average). This stepwise transition appears analogous to ploidy variation in plants and fungi domesticated by humans and in fungi domesticated by termites and plants, where gene or genome duplications were typically associated with selection for higher productivity, but allopolyploid chimerism was incompatible with sexual reproduction.

  1. 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

  2. Reproductive phenologies in a diverse temperate ant fauna

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dunn, R.R.; Parker, C.R.; Geraghty, M.; Sanders, N.J.

    2007-01-01

    1. Ant nuptial flights are central to understanding ant life history and ecology but have been little studied. This study examined the timing of nuptial flights, the synchronicity of nuptial flights (as a potential index of mating strategy), and variation in nuptial flights with elevation and among years in a diverse temperate ant fauna. 2. Flights occurred throughout the year, but were concentrated in the beginning of summer and in early fall (autumn). Relative to the entire flight season, closely related species tended to be more likely than expected by chance to fly at similar times, perhaps because of phylogenetic constraints on life history evolution. 3. Flights were relatively synchronous within species for nearly all species considered, but synchronicity did not appear to be a robust estimate of overall mating strategy. 4. Overall patterns in nuptial flights among species and the timing of flights for individual species varied with elevation, but did not vary greatly among years. 5. Although this study is one of the most comprehensive on the reproductive flight phenologies of ants, much remains to be learned about the causes and consequences of such spatial and temporal variation in flight phenology. ?? 2007 The Royal Entomological Society.

  3. 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.

  4. Three spectrally distinct photoreceptors in diurnal and nocturnal Australian ants.

    PubMed

    Ogawa, Yuri; Falkowski, Marcin; Narendra, Ajay; Zeil, Jochen; Hemmi, Jan M

    2015-06-07

    Ants are thought to be special among Hymenopterans in having only dichromatic colour vision based on two spectrally distinct photoreceptors. Many ants are highly visual animals, however, and use vision extensively for navigation. We show here that two congeneric day- and night-active Australian ants have three spectrally distinct photoreceptor types, potentially supporting trichromatic colour vision. Electroretinogram recordings show the presence of three spectral sensitivities with peaks (λmax) at 370, 450 and 550 nm in the night-active Myrmecia vindex and peaks at 370, 470 and 510 nm in the day-active Myrmecia croslandi. Intracellular electrophysiology on individual photoreceptors confirmed that the night-active M. vindex has three spectral sensitivities with peaks (λmax) at 370, 430 and 550 nm. A large number of the intracellular recordings in the night-active M. vindex show unusually broad-band spectral sensitivities, suggesting that photoreceptors may be coupled. Spectral measurements at different temporal frequencies revealed that the ultraviolet receptors are comparatively slow. We discuss the adaptive significance and the probability of trichromacy in Myrmecia ants in the context of dim light vision and visual navigation.

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Meisel, Joe E

    2006-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leonard, K. C.

    2001-12-01

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

  8. Dynamics and kinematics of ant locomotion: do wood ants climb on level surfaces?

    PubMed

    Reinhardt, Lars; Weihmann, Tom; Blickhan, Reinhard

    2009-08-01

    The biomechanics of running in small animals have remained poorly characterized because of the difficulty of recording three-dimensional ground reaction forces. Available techniques limit investigations to animals with a body mass above 1 g. Here we present, for the first time, single-leg ground reaction forces of ants (body mass 10 mg), measured with a custom-built miniature force plate. We investigated forces and high-speed kinematics for straight level runs (average speed: 8.4 cm s(-1)) of Formica polyctena workers. The major finding was that the time course of ground reaction forces strongly differed from previous observations of larger insects. Maximum vertical force was reached during the first third of the tripod contact phase. During this period the body was decelerated predominantly by the front legs. Subsequently, the front legs pulled and accelerated the body. This 'climbing' type of stride may be useful on the bumpy and unstable substrates that the animals face in their natural habitats, and may therefore also occur on level ground. Propulsive forces were generated predominantly by the front and hind legs. Dragging of the gaster on the substrate resulted in a breaking momentum, which was compensated by the legs. Future investigations will reveal, whether the identified pattern is due to specialization.

  9. Pharaoh Ant (Monomorium pharaonis): Newly Identified Important Inhalant Allergens in Bronchial Asthma

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Cheol-Woo; Kim, Deok-In; Choi, Soo-Young; Park, Jung-Won

    2005-01-01

    The nonstinging house ant, Monomorium pharaonis (pharaoh ant), was recently identified as a cause of respiratory allergy. This study was performed to evaluate the extent of sensitization to pharaoh ant, and its clinical significance in asthmatic patients. We carried out skin prick tests in 318 patients with asthma. Specific IgE (sIgE) to pharaoh ant was measured by ELISA, and cross-reactivity was evaluated by ELISA inhibition tests. Bronchial provocation testing was performed using pharaoh ant extracts. Fifty-eight (18.2%) of 318 patients showed positive skin responses to pharaoh ant, and 25 (7.9%) had an isolated response to pharaoh ant. Positive skin responses to pharaoh ant were significantly higher among patients with non-atopic asthma than among those with atopic asthma (26.0% vs. 14.9%, p<0.05). There was significant correlation between sIgE level and skin responses to pharaoh ant (rho=0.552, p<0.001). The ELISA inhibition tests indicated that pharaoh ant allergens had various pattern of cross-reactivity to house dust mites and cockroaches. Bronchial provocation tests to pharaoh ant were conducted for 9 patients, and eight showed typical asthmatic reactions. In conclusion, pharaoh ant is an important source of aeroallergens, and it should be included in the skin test battery for screening the causative allergens in patients with asthma. PMID:15953858

  10. LIVESTOCK GRAZING EFFECTS ON ANT COMMUNITIES IN THE EASTERN MOJAVE DESERT, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    The effects of livestock grazing on composition and structure of ant communities were examined in the eastern Mojave Desert, USA for the purpose of evaluating ant communities as potential indicators of rangeland condition. Metrics for ant communities, vegetation, and other groun...

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  12. Density-Dependent Effects of an Invasive Ant on a Ground-Dwelling Arthropod Community.

    PubMed

    Cooling, M; Sim, D A; Lester, P J

    2015-02-01

    It is frequently assumed that an invasive species that is ecologically or economically damaging in one region, will typically be so in other environments. The Argentine ant Linepithema humile (Mayr) is listed among the world's worst invaders. It commonly displaces resident ant species where it occurs at high population densities, and may also reduce densities of other ground-dwelling arthropods. We investigated the effect of varying Argentine ant abundance on resident ant and nonant arthropod species richness and abundance in seven cities across its range in New Zealand. Pitfall traps were used to compare an invaded and uninvaded site in each city. Invaded sites were selected based on natural varying abundance of Argentine ant populations. Argentine ant density had a significant negative effect on epigaeic ant abundance and species richness, but hypogaeic ant abundance and species richness was unaffected. We observed a significant decrease in Diplopoda abundance with increasing Argentine ant abundance, while Coleoptera abundance increased. The effect on Amphipoda and Isopoda depended strongly on climate. The severity of the impact on negatively affected taxa was reduced in areas where Argentine ant densities were low. Surprisingly, Argentine ants had no effect on the abundance of the other arthropod taxa examined. Morphospecies richness for all nonant arthropod taxa was unaffected by Argentine ant abundance. Species that are established as invasive in one location therefore cannot be assumed to be invasive in other locations based on presence alone. Appropriate management decisions should reflect this knowledge.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  14. 78 FR 70530 - Notice of Determination; New and Revised Treatments for the Imported Fire Ant Program

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-11-26

    ... No. APHIS-2012-0064] Notice of Determination; New and Revised Treatments for the Imported Fire Ant... the public that we are adding or revising certain treatment schedules for the Imported Fire Ant... revised treatments in the imported fire ant program. Based on the treatment evaluation document,...

  15. Ants contribute significantly to the pollination of a biodiesel plant, Jatropha curcas.

    PubMed

    Luo, Chang W; Li, Kun; Chen, Xiao M; Huang, Zachary Y

    2012-10-01

    Ants are the most abundant visitors to the flowers of Jatropha curcas L., but it is not clear how much they contribute to the pollination of this plant. In this study, we observed floral visitor assemblage and foraging behavior of ants, measured pollen loads carried by ants and deposited on stigmas, and determined the contribution of ants to the female reproductive success of J. curcas through exclusion experiments. Ants were the most abundant pollinators, accounting for 71.03 and 78.17% of total visits at two study sites. Among different ant species, Tapinoma melanocephalum (F.) is always the most abundant and the only common ant species at two study sites, which might suggest its important role in the pollination of J. curcas. Pollen loads carried by ants were significantly different among different species at two study sites. Pollen loads carried by ants increased with increased body length. Although the flowers exposed only to the ants produced less fruit than those exposed only to the winged visitors, ants alone resulted in almost 60% fruit set. Thus, ants could play a major role in the pollination of J. curcas if winged insects are absent.

  16. COMPARISON OF ANOVA AND KRIGING IN DETECTING ANT RESPONSES TO ENVIRONMENTAL STRESSORS

    EPA Science Inventory

    In an ecosystems, ants effect ecosystem functions such as water infiltration, soil nutrient distribution and composition of the soil seed bank. Ants have also been used as indicators of ecosystems health. In a study, we hypothesized that some ant species would respond to changes ...

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  18. Tallgrass prairie ants: their species composition, ecological roles, and response to management

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ants are highly influential organisms in terrestrial ecosystems, including the tallgrass prairie, one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America. Through their tunneling, ants affect soil properties and resource availability for animals and plants. Ants also have important ecological roles a...

  19. Glass-like dynamics in confined and congested ant traffic.

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-07

    The collective movement of animal groups often occurs in confined spaces. As animal groups are challenged to move at high density, their mobility dynamics may resemble the flow of densely packed non-living soft materials such as colloids, grains, or polymers. However, unlike inert soft-materials, self-propelled collective living systems often display social interactions whose influence on collective mobility are only now being explored. In this paper, we study the mobility of bi-directional traffic flow in a social insect (the fire ant Solenopsis invicta) as we vary the diameter of confining foraging tunnels. In all tunnel diameters, we observe the emergence of spatially heterogeneous regions of fast and slow traffic that are induced through two phenomena: physical obstruction, arising from the inability of individual ants to interpenetrate, and time-delay resulting from social interaction in which ants stop to briefly antennate. Density correlation functions reveal that the relaxation dynamics of high density traffic fluctuations scale linearly with fluctuation size and are sensitive to tunnel diameter. We separate the roles of physical obstruction and social interactions in traffic flow using cellular automata based simulation. Social interaction between ants is modeled as a dwell time (Tint) over which interacting ants remain stationary in the tunnel. Investigation over a range of densities and Tint reveals that the slowing dynamics of collective motion in social living systems are consistent with dynamics near a fragile glass transition in inert soft-matter systems. In particular, flow is relatively insensitive to density until a critical density is reached. As social interaction affinity is increased (increasing Tint) traffic dynamics change and resemble a strong glass transition. Thus, social interactions play an important role in the mobility of collective living systems at high density. Our experiments and model demonstrate that the concepts of soft

  20. Understanding the shape of ant craters: a continuum model.

    PubMed

    Picardo, Jason R; Pushpavanam, S

    2015-03-01

    The disposal of soil grains by ants, during excavation of their nest, results in the formation of axisymmetric craters around the nest entrance. We give a simple explanation for the shape of these biological constructs based on basic processes underlying grain transport and grain dropping. We propose that the tendency of an ant to drop a grain, in its next step, keeps increasing as it carries the grain farther away from the nest. Based on this hypothesis, a continuum mathematical model is developed to describe the soil dumping activity of ants, averaged over space and time. Consisting of a single, first-order differential equation, the model resembles that used to describe simultaneous convection and reaction of a chemical species, thus establishing a connection between ant craters and reacting flows. The model is shown to accurately describe the soil disposal data for two species of ants—M. barbarus and P. ambigua—using only two adjustable parameters- one less than previous empirical distributions. The characteristic single-hump shape of the crater is explained as follows: While the tendency to drop grains is greater at distances further away from the nest, the density of grain-bearing ants is highest close to the nest, thus most of the grains are dropped at an intermediate location and form a peak. The model predicts that steep craters with a sharp peak are always located closer to the nest entrance than craters which are more spread out; this new prediction is verified by data for M. barbarus and P. ambiguaants.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. Prudent sperm use by leaf-cutter ant queens

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-11-22

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

  5. Leaf volatile compounds and the distribution of ant patrollingin an ant-plant protection mutualism: Preliminary results on Leonardoxa (Fabaceae: Caesalpinioideae) and Petalomyrmex(Formicidae: Formicinae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brouat, Carine; McKey, Doyle; Bessière, Jean-Marie; Pascal, Laurence; Hossaert-McKey, Martine

    2000-12-01

    While observations suggest that plant chemicals could be important in maintaining the specificity and permitting the functioning of ant-plant symbioses, they have been little studied. We report here the strongest evidence yet for chemical signalling between ants and plants in a specific ant-plant protection symbiosis. In the mutualism between Leonardoxa africana subsp. africana and Petalomyrmex phylax, ants continuously patrol young leaves, which are vulnerable to attacks by phytophagous insects. We provide experimental evidence for chemical mediation of ant attraction to young leaves in this system. By a comparative analysis of the related non-myrmecophytic tree L. africana subsp. gracilicaulis, we identify likely candidates for attractant molecules, and suggest they may function not only as signals but also as resources. We also propose hypotheses on the evolutionary origin of these plant volatiles, and of the responses to them by mutualistic ants.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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 t...

  7. Fatty amines from little black ants, Monomorium minimum, and their biological activities against red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Chemistry of defensive sections in the genus Monomorium has been subjected to rigorous research. The venom of little black ants, Monomorium minimum, has been reported to be dominated by insecticidal alkaloids including 2,5-dialkypyrrolidines and 2,5-dialkypyrrolines. In this study, analysis of def...

  8. Chimpanzees prey on army ants at Seringbara, Nimba Mountains, Guinea: predation patterns and tool use characteristics.

    PubMed

    Koops, Kathelijne; Schöning, Caspar; McGrew, William C; Matsuzawa, Tetsuro

    2015-03-01

    Chimpanzees are renowned for their use of foraging tools in harvesting social insects and some populations use tools to prey on aggressive army ants (Dorylus spp.). Tool use in army ant predation varies across chimpanzee study sites with differences in tool length, harvesting technique, and army ant species targeted. However, surprisingly little is known about the detailed ecology of army ant predation. We studied army ant predation by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at the Seringbara study site in the Nimba Mountains, Guinea (West Africa), over 10 years (2003-2013). We investigated chimpanzee selectivity with regards to army ant prey species. We assessed the temporal variation in army ant-feeding and examined whether army ant predation was related to rainfall or ripe fruit availability. Moreover, we examined whether chimpanzees showed selectivity regarding plant species used for tool manufacture, as well as the relationship between tool species preference and tool collection distance. Lastly, we measured tool properties and investigated the use of tool sets and composite tools in army ant predation. Seringbara chimpanzees preyed on one army ant species (D. nigricans) more often than expected based on encounter rates, which may be explained by the overlap in altitudinal distribution between chimpanzees and D. nigricans. Army ant predation was not related to rainfall or fruit availability. Chimpanzees were selective in their choice of tool materials and collected their preferred tool species (Alchornea hirtella) from greater distances than they did other species. Lastly, Seringbara chimpanzees used both tool sets and composite tools (tree perch) in army ant predation. Tool types (dig vs. dip) differed in width and strength, but not length. Tool composites were found at 40% of ant-feeding sites. Our study sheds new light on the ecology of army ant predation and provides novel insights into chimpanzee selection of army ant prey and tool species.

  9. Benefits for plants in ant-plant protective mutualisms: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Trager, Matthew D; Bhotika, Smriti; Hostetler, Jeffrey A; Andrade, Gilda V; Rodriguez-Cabal, Mariano A; McKeon, C Seabird; Osenberg, Craig W; Bolker, Benjamin M

    2010-12-22

    Costs and benefits for partners in mutualistic interactions can vary greatly, but surprisingly little is known about the factors that drive this variation across systems. We conducted a meta-analysis of ant-plant protective mutualisms to quantify the effects of ant defenders on plant reproductive output, to evaluate if reproductive effects were predicted from reductions in herbivory and to identify characteristics of the plants, ants and environment that explained variation in ant protection. We also compared our approach with two other recent meta-analyses on ant-plant mutualisms, emphasizing differences in our methodology (using a weighted linear mixed effects model) and our focus on plant reproduction rather than herbivore damage. Based on 59 ant and plant species pairs, ant presence increased plant reproductive output by 49% and reduced herbivory by 62%. The effects on herbivory and reproduction within systems were positively correlated, but the slope of this relationship (0.75) indicated that tolerance to foliar herbivory may be a common plant response to absence of ant guards. Furthermore, the relationship between foliar damage and reproduction varied substantially among systems, suggesting that herbivore damage is not a reliable surrogate for fitness consequences of ant protection. Studies that experimentally excluded ants reported a smaller effect of ant protection on plant reproduction than studies that relied upon natural variation in ant presence, suggesting that study methods can affect results in these systems. Of the ecological variables included in our analysis, only plant life history (i.e., annual or perennial) explained variation in the protective benefit of mutualistic ants: presence of ants benefitted reproduction of perennials significantly more than that of annuals. These results contrast with other quantitative reviews of these relationships that did not include plant life history as an explanatory factor and raise several questions to guide

  10. A synoptic review of the ant genera (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of the Philippines

    PubMed Central

    General, David M.; Alpert, Gary D.

    2012-01-01

    Abstract An overview of the history of myrmecology in the Philippine archipelago is presented. Keys are provided to the 11 ant subfamilies and the 92 ant genera known from the Philippines. Eleven ant genera (12%), including 3 undescribed genera, are recorded for the first time from the Philippines. The biology and ecology of the 92 genera, illustrated by full-face and profile photo-images, of Philippine ants are summarized in the form of brief generic accounts. A bibliography of significant taxonomic and behavioral papers on Philippine ants and a checklist of valid species and subspecies and their island distributions are provided. PMID:22767999

  11. Electric ants: A cross-disciplinary approach to understanding insect behavior

    SciTech Connect

    Slowik, T.J.; Thorvilson, H.G.; Green, B.L.

    1996-12-31

    The response and attraction of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, to electrical equipment was examined using an interdisciplinary approach. Entomologists specializing in fire ant behavior combined expertise with electrical engineers to investigate the economically damaging interaction of fire ants with electrical circuitry. Knowledge from the realms of physics, engineering, and biology were integrated in experimentation to test for a fire ant response to electric fields and magnetic fields associated with electrical equipment. It was determined that fire ants react to electrified conductive material and the alternating-current magnetic fields associated with electricity.

  12. The impact of coffee and pasture agriculture on predatory and omnivorous leaf-litter ants.

    PubMed

    Dias, Nivia da Silva; Zanetti, Ronald; Santos, Mônica Silva; Peñaflor, Maria Fernanda Gomes Villalba; Broglio, Sônia Maria Forti; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles

    2013-01-01

    Ants are known to function as reliable biological indicators for habitat impact assessment. They play a wide range of ecological roles depending on their feeding and nesting habits. By clustering ants in guilds, it is possible both to assess how agriculture and forest fragmentation can disturb ant communities and to predict the ecological impacts due to losses of a specific guild. This study aimed at determining the impact of non-shaded coffee and pasture agriculture on predatory and omnivorous guilds of leaf-litter ants of Atlantic Forest fragments in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Both coffee and pasture agriculture influenced leaf-litter ant community, although coffee was more disruptive than pasture. Coffee agriculture not only disturbed the diversity of predatory ants, but also negatively affected the number of predatory and omnivorous ants when compared to forest fragments. In contrast, pasture agriculture only disrupted the abundance of predatory ants. Fragment edges skirting crops were negatively affected in terms of leaf-litter ant abundance, but not diversity. Cluster analysis showed that forest fragments were similar irrespective of the cultivation, but the borders were similar to the crop. The study assessed agriculture impact by surveying ant guilds, and revealed that the predatory guild is more susceptible than omnivorous ants.

  13. Aggressive use of Batesian mimicry by an ant-like jumping spider.

    PubMed

    Nelson, Ximena J; Jackson, Robert R

    2009-12-23

    Batesian and aggressive mimicry are united by deceit: Batesian mimics deceive predators and aggressive mimics deceive prey. This distinction is blurred by Myrmarachne melanotarsa, an ant-like jumping spider (Salticidae). Besides often preying on salticids, ants are well defended against most salticids that might target them as potential prey. Earlier studies have shown that salticids identify ants by their distinctive appearance and avoid them. They also avoid ant-like salticids from the genus Myrmarachne. Myrmarachne melanotarsa is an unusual species from this genus because it typically preys on the eggs and juveniles of ant-averse salticid species. The hypothesis considered here is that, for M. melanotarsa, the distinction between Batesian and aggressive mimicry is blurred. We tested this by placing female Menemerus sp. and their associated hatchling within visual range of M. melanotarsa, its model, and various non-ant-like arthropods. Menemerus is an ant-averse salticid species. When seeing ants or ant mimics, Menemerus females abandoned their broods more frequently than when seeing non-ant-like arthropods or in control tests (no arthropods visible), as predicted by our hypothesis that resembling ants functions as a predatory ploy.

  14. Heat-induced symmetry breaking in ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) escape behavior

    PubMed Central

    Chung, Yuan-Kai

    2017-01-01

    The collective egress of social insects is important in dangerous situations such as natural disasters or enemy attacks. Some studies have described the phenomenon of symmetry breaking in ants, with two exits induced by a repellent. However, whether symmetry breaking occurs under high temperature conditions, which are a common abiotic stress, remains unknown. In our study, we deposited a group of Polyrhachis dives ants on a heated platform and counted the number of escaping ants with two identical exits. We discovered that ants asymmetrically escaped through two exits when the temperature of the heated platform was >32.75°C. The degree of asymmetry increased linearly with the temperature of the platform. Furthermore, the higher the temperature of heated platform was, the more ants escaped from the heated platform. However, the number of escaping ants decreased for 3 min when the temperature was higher than the critical thermal limit (39.46°C), which is the threshold for ants to endure high temperature without a loss of performance. Moreover, the ants tended to form small groups to escape from the thermal stress. A preparatory formation of ant grouping was observed before they reached the exit, indicating that the ants actively clustered rather than accidentally gathered at the exits to escape. We suggest that a combination of individual and grouping ants may help to optimize the likelihood of survival during evacuation. PMID:28355235

  15. The Impact of Coffee and Pasture Agriculture on Predatory and Omnivorous Leaf-Litter Ants

    PubMed Central

    Dias, Nivia da Silva; Zanetti, Ronald; Santos, Mônica Silva; Peñaflor, Maria Fernanda Gomes Villalba; Broglio, Sônia Maria Forti; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles

    2013-01-01

    Ants are known to function as reliable biological indicators for habitat impact assessment. They play a wide range of ecological roles depending on their feeding and nesting habits. By clustering ants in guilds, it is possible both to assess how agriculture and forest fragmentation can disturb ant communities and to predict the ecological impacts due to losses of a specific guild. This study aimed at determining the impact of non-shaded coffee and pasture agriculture on predatory and omnivorous guilds of leaf-litter ants of Atlantic Forest fragments in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Both coffee and pasture agriculture influenced leaf-litter ant community, although coffee was more disruptive than pasture. Coffee agriculture not only disturbed the diversity of predatory ants, but also negatively affected the number of predatory and omnivorous ants when compared to forest fragments. In contrast, pasture agriculture only disrupted the abundance of predatory ants. Fragment edges skirting crops were negatively affected in terms of leaf-litter ant abundance, but not diversity. Cluster analysis showed that forest fragments were similar irrespective of the cultivation, but the borders were similar to the crop. The study assessed agriculture impact by surveying ant guilds, and revealed that the predatory guild is more susceptible than omnivorous ants. PMID:23902334

  16. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1985-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  20. Rarity and diversity in forest ant assemblages of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lessard, J.-P.; Dunn, R.R.; Parker, C.R.; Sanders, N.J.

    2007-01-01

    We report on a systematic survey of the ant fauna occurring in hardwood forests in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At 22-mixed hardwood sites, we collected leaf-litter ant species using Winkler samplers. At eight of those sites, we also collected ants using pitfall and Malaise traps. In total, we collected 53 ant species. As shown in other studies, ant species richness tended to decline with increasing elevation. Leaf-litter ant assemblages were also highly nested. Several common species were both locally abundant and had broad distributions, while many other species were rarely detected. Winkler samplers, pitfall traps, and Malaise traps yielded samples that differed in composition, but not richness, from one another. Taken together, our work begins to illuminate the factors that govern the diversity, distribution, abundance, and perhaps rarity of ants of forested ecosystems in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

  1. Trait-mediated indirect interactions of ant shape on the attack of caterpillars and fruits.

    PubMed

    Dáttilo, Wesley; Aguirre, Armando; De la Torre, Pedro Luna; Kaminski, Lucas A; García-Chávez, Juan; Rico-Gray, Víctor

    2016-08-01

    Mainly owing to their high diversity and abundance, ants are formidable as predators and defenders of foliage. Consequently, ants can exclude both invertebrate and vertebrate activity on plants via direct and indirect interactions as already shown in many previous studies. Here we present empirical evidence that objects resembling ant shape on dummy caterpillars were able to repel visually oriented predators. Moreover, we also show that rubber ants on dummy fruits can repel potential fruit dispersers. Our results have direct implications on the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of interactions in ant-based systems, as ant presence could affect the fitness of its partners. In short, our study highlights the importance of visual cues in interspecific interactions and opens a new way to study the effects of ant presence to test ecological and evolutionary hypotheses.

  2. Species diversity and distribution patterns of the ants of Amazonian Ecuador.

    PubMed

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

    2010-10-01

    Ants are among the most diverse, abundant and ecologically significant organisms on earth. Although their species richness appears to be greatest in the New World tropics, global patterns of ant diversity and distribution are not well understood. We comprehensively surveyed ant diversity in a lowland primary rainforest in Western Amazonia, Ecuador using canopy fogging, pitfall traps, baits, hand collecting, mini-Winkler devices and subterranean probes to sample ants. A total of 489 ant species comprising 64 genera in nine subfamilies were identified from samples collected in only 0.16 square kilometers. The most species-rich genera were Camponotus, Pheidole, Pseudomyrmex, Pachycondyla, Brachymyrmex, and Crematogaster. Camponotus and Pseudomyrmex were most diverse in the canopy, while Pheidole was most diverse on the ground. The three most abundant ground-dwelling ant genera were Pheidole, Solenopsis and Pyramica. Crematogaster carinata was the most abundant ant species in the canopy; Wasmannia auropunctata was most abundant on the ground, and the army ant Labidus coecus was the most abundant subterranean species. Ant species composition among strata was significantly different: 80% of species were found in only one stratum, 17% in two strata, and 3% in all three strata. Elevation and the number of logs and twigs available as nest sites were significant predictors of ground-dwelling ant species richness. Canopy species richness was not correlated with any ecological variable measured. Subterranean species richness was negatively correlated with depth in the soil. When ant species were categorized using a functional group matrix based on diet, nest-site preference and foraging ecology, the greatest diversity was found in Omnivorous Canopy Nesters. Our study indicates ant species richness is exceptionally high at Tiputini. We project 647-736 ant species in this global hotspot of biodiversity. Considering the relatively small area surveyed, this region of western

  3. [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.

  4. Effects of habitat fragmentation and degradation on flocks of African ant-following birds.

    PubMed

    Peters, Marcell K; Likare, Smith; Kraemer, Manfred

    2008-06-01

    Tropical rain forests are rapidly cleared, fragmented, and degraded in sub-Saharan Africa; however, little is known about the response of species and even of key ecological groups to these processes. One of the most intriguing (but often neglected) ecological phenomena in African rain forests is the interaction between swarm-raiding army ants and ant-following birds. Similar to their well-known Neotropical representatives, ant-following birds in Africa track the massive swarm raids of army ants and feed on arthropods flushed by the ants. In this study we analyzed the effect of habitat fragmentation and degradation of a mid-altitude Congo-Guinean rain forest in western Kenya on the structure of ant-following bird flocks. Significant numbers of swarm raids were located in all forest fragments and in both undegraded and degraded forest. Fifty-six different species of birds followed army ant raids, forming bird flocks of one to 15 species. We quantitatively differentiated the bird community into five species of specialized ant-followers and 51 species of opportunistic ant-followers. Species richness and size of bird flocks decreased with decreasing size of forest fragments and was higher in undegraded than in degraded habitat. This was caused by the decrease of the species richness and number of specialized ant-followers at swarms, while the group of opportunistic ant-followers was affected little by habitat fragmentation and degradation. The composition of bird flocks was more variable in small fragments and degraded forest, compared to undegraded habitat in large fragments. The effect of habitat fragmentation on flock structure was best explained by the strong decline of the abundance of specialized ant-followers in small forest fragments. To conserve the association of army ants and ant-following birds in its natural state, vast areas of unfragmented and undegraded tropical rain forest are necessary.

  5. Temporal Variation in the Abundance and Richness of Foliage-Dwelling Ants Mediated by Extrafloral Nectar

    PubMed Central

    Belchior, Ceres; Sendoya, Sebastián F.

    2016-01-01

    Plants bearing extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) are common in the Brazilian cerrado savanna, where climatic conditions having marked seasonality influence arboreal ant fauna organization. These ant-plant interactions have rarely been studied at community level. Here, we tested whether: 1) EFN-bearing plants are more visited by ants than EFN-lacking plants; 2) ant visitation is higher in the rainy season than in dry season; 3) plants producing young leaves are more visited than those lacking young leaves in the rainy season; 4) during the dry season, plants with old leaves and flowers are more visited than plants with young leaves and bare of leaves or flowers; 5) the composition of visiting ant fauna differs between plants with and without EFNs. Field work was done in a cerrado reserve near Uberlândia, MG State, Brazil, along ten transects (total area 3,000 m2), in the rainy (October-January) and dry seasons (April-July) of 2010–2011. Plants (72 species; 762 individuals) were checked three times per season for ant presence. Results showed that 21 species (29%) and 266 individuals (35%) possessed EFNs. These plants attracted 38 ant species (36 in rainy, 26 in dry season). In the rainy season, plants with EFNs had higher ant abundance/richness than plants without EFNs, but in the dry season, EFN presence did not influence ant visitation. Plant phenology affected ant richness and abundance in different ways: plants with young leaves possessed higher ant richness in the rainy season, but in the dry season ant abundance was higher on plants possessing old leaves or flowers. The species composition of plant-associated ant communities, however, did not differ between plants with and without EFNs in either season. These findings suggest that the effect of EFN presence on a community of plant-visiting ants is context dependent, being conditioned to seasonal variation. PMID:27438722

  6. Urban habitat complexity affects species richness but not environmental filtering of morphologically-diverse ants.

    PubMed

    Ossola, Alessandro; Nash, Michael A; Christie, Fiona J; Hahs, Amy K; Livesley, Stephen J

    2015-01-01

    Habitat complexity is a major determinant of structure and diversity of ant assemblages. Following the size-grain hypothesis, smaller ant species are likely to be advantaged in more complex habitats compared to larger species. Habitat complexity can act as an environmental filter based on species size and morphological traits, therefore affecting the overall structure and diversity of ant assemblages. In natural and semi-natural ecosystems, habitat complexity is principally regulated by ecological successions or disturbance such as fire and grazing. Urban ecosystems provide an opportunity to test relationships between habitat, ant assemblage structure and ant traits using novel combinations of habitat complexity generated and sustained by human management. We sampled ant assemblages in low-complexity and high-complexity parks, and high-complexity woodland remnants, hypothesizing that (i) ant abundance and species richness would be higher in high-complexity urban habitats, (ii) ant assemblages would differ between low- and high-complexity habitats and (iii) ants living in high-complexity habitats would be smaller than those living in low-complexity habitats. Contrary to our hypothesis, ant species richness was higher in low-complexity habitats compared to high-complexity habitats. Overall, ant assemblages were significantly different among the habitat complexity types investigated, although ant size and morphology remained the same. Habitat complexity appears to affect the structure of ant assemblages in urban ecosystems as previously observed in natural and semi-natural ecosystems. However, the habitat complexity filter does not seem to be linked to ant morphological traits related to body size.

  7. A mutualism with a native membracid facilitates pollinator displacement by Argentine ants.

    PubMed

    Lach, Lori

    2007-08-01

    The loss of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services are major threats posed by the spread of alien invasive species. Invasive ants are frequently associated with declines in the diversity of ground-dwelling arthropods but also may affect plants through their attraction to floral nectar and tending of hemipterans. Protea nitida is a tree native to the South African fynbos that hosts a native membracid, Beaufortiana sp., which is tended by ants. Here I compare Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) to native ants in their attraction to P. nitida inflorescences in the presence and absence of the membracid, and their effects on other floral arthropod visitors, seed set, and ovule predation. Argentine ant discovery of inflorescences increased at least 13-fold when membracids were present on the branch, whereas native ant discovery of inflorescences was only doubled by membracid presence at one site in one study year and was unaffected in the other three site-years. Excluding Argentine ants from inflorescences resulted in an increase in several arthropod taxa and potential pollinators; native ant exclusion had no positive effects. Thus the mutualism between Argentine ants and the membracid is facilitating pollinator deterrence by the ants. Though Argentine ants were not associated with a decline in P. nitida seed set or ovule predation, declines in generalist insect pollinators may have ramifications for the 83% of fynbos plants that are insect pollinated. Pitfall traps showed that Argentine ants were not more abundant than native ants in non-invaded sites. Focusing only on abundance on the ground and displacement of ground-dwelling arthropod fauna may lead to an underestimate of the effects of invasive ants on their adopted communities.

  8. Urban habitat complexity affects species richness but not environmental filtering of morphologically-diverse ants

    PubMed Central

    Nash, Michael A.; Christie, Fiona J.; Hahs, Amy K.; Livesley, Stephen J.

    2015-01-01

    Habitat complexity is a major determinant of structure and diversity of ant assemblages. Following the size-grain hypothesis, smaller ant species are likely to be advantaged in more complex habitats compared to larger species. Habitat complexity can act as an environmental filter based on species size and morphological traits, therefore affecting the overall structure and diversity of ant assemblages. In natural and semi-natural ecosystems, habitat complexity is principally regulated by ecological successions or disturbance such as fire and grazing. Urban ecosystems provide an opportunity to test relationships between habitat, ant assemblage structure and ant traits using novel combinations of habitat complexity generated and sustained by human management. We sampled ant assemblages in low-complexity and high-complexity parks, and high-complexity woodland remnants, hypothesizing that (i) ant abundance and species richness would be higher in high-complexity urban habitats, (ii) ant assemblages would differ between low- and high-complexity habitats and (iii) ants living in high-complexity habitats would be smaller than those living in low-complexity habitats. Contrary to our hypothesis, ant species richness was higher in low-complexity habitats compared to high-complexity habitats. Overall, ant assemblages were significantly different among the habitat complexity types investigated, although ant size and morphology remained the same. Habitat complexity appears to affect the structure of ant assemblages in urban ecosystems as previously observed in natural and semi-natural ecosystems. However, the habitat complexity filter does not seem to be linked to ant morphological traits related to body size. PMID:26528416

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

    PubMed Central

    Pérez-Lachaud, Gabriela; Lachaud, Jean-Paul

    2014-01-01

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

  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. 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.

  12. Defense on the Move: Ant-Based Cyber Defense

    SciTech Connect

    Fink, Glenn A.; Haack, Jereme N.; McKinnon, Archibald D.; Fulp, Errin W.

    2014-04-15

    Many common cyber defenses (like firewalls and IDS) are as static as trench warfare allowing the attacker freedom to probe them at will. The concept of Moving Target Defense (MTD) adds dynamism to the defender side, but puts the systems to be defended themselves in motion, potentially at great cost to the defender. An alternative approach is a mobile resilient defense that removes attackers’ ability to rely on prior experience without requiring motion in the protected infrastructure itself. The defensive technology absorbs most of the cost of motion, is resilient to attack, and is unpredictable to attackers. The Ant-Based Cyber Defense (ABCD) is a mobile resilient defense providing a set of roaming, bio-inspired, digital-ant agents working with stationary agents in a hierarchy headed by a human supervisor. The ABCD approach provides a resilient, extensible, and flexible defense that can scale to large, multi-enterprise infrastructures like the smart electric grid.

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

    PubMed

    Mohsen, Abdulqader M

    2016-01-01

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

  14. The Müller-Lyer illusion in ant foraging.

    PubMed

    Sakiyama, Tomoko; Gunji, Yukio-Pegio

    2013-01-01

    The Müller-Lyer illusion is a classical geometric illusion in which the apparent (perceived) length of a line depends on whether the line terminates in an arrow tail or arrowhead. This effect may be caused by economic compensation for the gap between the physical stimulus and visual fields. Here, we show that the Müller-Lyer illusion can also be produced by the foraging patterns of garden ants (Lasius niger) and that the pattern obtained can be explained by a simple, asynchronously updated foraging ant model. Our results suggest that the geometric illusion may be a byproduct of the foraging process, in which local interactions underlying efficient exploitation can also give rise to global exploration, and that visual information processing in human could implement similar modulation between local efficient processing and widespread computation.

  15. Response Ant Colony Optimization of End Milling Surface Roughness

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. Morphological Description of the Immatures of the Ant, Monomorium floricola

    PubMed Central

    Russ Solis, Daniel; Gonçalves Paterson Fox, Eduardo; Mayumi Kato, Luciane; Massuretti de jesus, Carlos; Teruyoshi Yabuki, Antonio; Eugênia de Carvalho Campos, Ana; Correa Bueno, Odair

    2010-01-01

    Some ant species of the genus Monomorium Mayr occur worldwide and are considered important urban pests. The larvae of only a few species of this genus have been described, and these descriptions are either superficial or incomplete. This study aimed to determine the number of larval instars and describe the immature stages of the ant Monomorium floricola Jerdon (Formicidae: Myrmicinae). Specimens were analyzed and measured using light and scanning electron microscopy. Three larval instars were found, and all larvae had pheidoloid bodies with ectatommoid mandibles, consistent with other Monomorium species described previously. Five types of body hairs were described, and their distribution was instar-specific. Body and mandible dimensions of the larvae also were constant for each instar. Like other Myrmicinae, the larvae did not create a cocoon. Some of differences among the hair types and sensilla were observed by comparing the samples with larvae of other species in the genus, and these differences may have taxonomic utility. PMID:20575746

  18. Ants and termites increase crop yield in a dry climate

    PubMed Central

    Evans, Theodore A.; Dawes, Tracy Z.; Ward, Philip R.; Lo, Nathan

    2011-01-01

    Agricultural intensification has increased crop yields, but at high economic and environmental cost. Harnessing ecosystem services of naturally occurring organisms is a cheaper but under-appreciated approach, because the functional roles of organisms are not linked to crop yields, especially outside the northern temperate zone. Ecosystem services in soil come from earthworms in these cooler and wetter latitudes; what may fulfill their functional role in agriculture in warmer and drier habitats, where they are absent, is unproven. Here we show in a field experiment that ants and termites increase wheat yield by 36% from increased soil water infiltration due to their tunnels and improved soil nitrogen. Our results suggest that ants and termites have similar functional roles to earthworms, and that they may provide valuable ecosystem services in dryland agriculture, which may become increasingly important for agricultural sustainability in arid climates. PMID:21448161

  19. Onset of fights and mutual assessment in ant founding queens.

    PubMed

    Berthelot, Kévin; Portugal, Felipe Ramon; Jeanson, Raphaël

    2017-03-01

    In animals, the progress and outcome of contests can be influenced by an individual's own condition, their opponent's condition or a combination of the two. The use of chemical information to assess the quality of rivals has been underestimated despite its central role in the regulation of social interactions in many taxa. Here, we studied pairwise contests between founding queens of the ant Lasius niger to investigate whether the decision to engage in agonistic interactions relies on self-assessment or mutual assessment. Queens modulated their aggressive behaviours depending on both their own status and their opponent's status. We found no influence of lipid stores or size on the onset of fights. However, differences in cuticular chemical signatures linked to fertility status accurately predicted the probability of behaving aggressively in pairs. Our study thus suggests that ant queens could rely on mutual assessment via chemical cues to make informed decisions about fight initiation.

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

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

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

  1. Study on bi-directional pedestrian movement using ant algorithms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sibel, Gokce; Ozhan, Kayacan

    2016-01-01

    A cellular automata model is proposed to simulate bi-directional pedestrian flow. Pedestrian movement is investigated by using ant algorithms. Ants communicate with each other by dropping a chemical, called a pheromone, on the substrate while crawling forward. Similarly, it is considered that oppositely moving pedestrians drop ‘visual pheromones’ on their way and the visual pheromones might cause attractive or repulsive interactions. This pheromenon is introduced into modelling the pedestrians’ walking preference. In this way, the decision-making process of pedestrians will be based on ‘the instinct of following’. At some densities, the relationships of velocity-density and flux-density are analyzed for different evaporation rates of visual pheromones. Lane formation and phase transition are observed for certain evaporation rates of visual pheromones.

  2. An Improved Ant Algorithm for Grid Task Scheduling Strategy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wei, Laizhi; Zhang, Xiaobin; Li, Yun; Li, Yujie

    Task scheduling is an important factor that directly influences the performance and efficiency of the system. Grid resources are usually distributed in different geographic locations, belonging to different organizations and resources' properties are vastly different, in order to complete efficiently, intelligently task scheduling, the choice of scheduling strategy is essential. This paper proposes an improved ant algorithm for grid task scheduling strategy, by introducing a new type pheromone and a new node redistribution selection rule. On the one hand, the algorithm can track performances of resources and tag it. On the other hand, add algorithm to deal with task scheduling unsuccessful situations that improve the algorithm's robustness and the successful probability of task allocation and reduce unnecessary overhead of system, shortening the total time to complete tasks. The data obtained from simulation experiment shows that use this algorithm to resolve schedule problem better than traditional ant algorithm.

  3. Three energy variables predict ant abundance at a geographical scale.

    PubMed Central

    Kaspari, M; Alonso, L; O'Donnell, S

    2000-01-01

    Energy theory posits three processes that link local abundance of ectotherms to geographical gradients in temperature. A survey of 49 New World habitats found a two order of magnitude span in the abundance (nests m(-2)) of ground nesting ants (Formicidae). Abundance increased with net primary productivity (r2=0.55), a measure of the baseline supply of harvestable energy. Abundance further increased with mean temperature (r2=0.056), a constraint on foraging activity for this thermophilic taxon. Finally for a given mean temperature, ants were more abundant in seasonal sites with longer, colder winters (r2 = 0.082) that help ectotherm taxa sequester harvested energy in non-productive months. All three variables are currently changing on a global scale. All should be useful in predicting biotic responses to climate change. PMID:10737406

  4. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-04-01

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

  6. Modal parameters estimation using ant colony optimisation algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sitarz, Piotr; Powałka, Bartosz

    2016-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-02-25

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

  8. Adaptive Edge Detection Using Adjusted ANT Colony Optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-09-01

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

  9. A Hybrid Ant Colony Algorithm for Loading Pattern Optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoareau, F.

    2014-06-01

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

  10. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2004-05-01

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

  12. Parallelizing Ant Colony Optimization via Area of Expertise Learning

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-09-13

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

  13. Petrology of 60035 - Evolution of a polymict ANT breccia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Warner, R. D.; Taylor, G. J.; Keil, K.

    1980-01-01

    Extensive analysis of the lunar rock sample 60035 with optical microscopy and electron microprobe methods show it to be a polymict ANT breccia partly coated with glass, containing abundant clasts which have troctolitic/noritic anorthosite compositions. At least two episodes of crushing and mixing were involved in the petrogenesis of 60035, and annealing and mineral equilibration have not been extensive since the formation of the breccia.

  14. The other ex ante moral hazard in health.

    PubMed

    Bhattacharya, Jay; Packalen, Mikko

    2012-01-01

    It is well-known that pooled insurance coverage can induce people to make inefficiently low investments in self-protective activities. We identify another ex ante moral hazard that runs in the opposite direction. Lower levels of self-protection and the associated chronic conditions and behavioral patterns such as obesity, smoking, and malnutrition increase the incidence of many diseases and consumption of treatments to those diseases. This increases the reward for innovation and thus benefits the innovator. It also increases treatment innovation which benefits all consumers. As individuals do not take these positive externalities into account, their investments in self-protection are inefficiently high. We quantify the lower bound of this externality for obesity. The lower bound is independent of how much additional innovation is generated. The results show that the externality we identify offsets the negative Medicare-induced insurance externality of obesity. The Medicare-induced obesity subsidy is thus not a sufficient rationale for "soda taxes", "fat taxes" or other penalties on obesity. The quantitative finding also implies that the other ex ante moral hazard that we identify can be as important as the ex ante moral hazard that has been a central concept in health economics for decades.

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

    PubMed

    Dorigo, M; Maniezzo, V; Colorni, A

    1996-01-01

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

  16. Raft Formation by the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Adams, Benjamin J.; Hooper-Bùi, Linda M.; Strecker, Rachel M.; O'Brien, Daniel M.

    2011-01-01

    The raft behavior of the invasive red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), has been documented for over a century. However, no rigorous tests have been performed elucidating the structure, limits, and important characteristics of this behavior. Rafting makes S. invicta competitive in both native and foreign environments. Further understanding of this behavior will provide critical advancement to the comprehension of this ant's global invasion ecology. Though speculations exist, no one has looked at the movements of individuals within the raft formation, the longevity of rafts, raft success rate, or the importance of different life stages and varying types of adults to raft formation. Furthermore, bubble use has been extensively studied in arthropods, but it has never been documented in social insects. The use of bubbles as a means of floatation has never before been noted in raft formation. This study shows that ants trapped under water escape by lifting themselves to the air-water interface through the use of bubbles collected from submerged substrate. The presence of larvae was noted to increase colony survival and maximize raft longevity due in part their ability to hold bubbles under hydrophobic setae. PMID:22950473

  17. 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.

  18. Nest Etiquette—Where Ants Go When Nature Calls

    PubMed Central

    Czaczkes, Tomer J.; Heinze, Jürgen; Ruther, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    Sanitary behaviour is an important, but seldom studied, aspect of social living. Social insects have developed several strategies for dealing with waste and faecal matter, including dumping waste outside the nest and forming specialised waste-storage chambers. In some cases waste material and faeces are put to use, either as a construction material or as a long-lasting signal, suggesting that faeces and waste may not always be dangerous. Here we examine a previously undescribed behaviour in ants – the formation of well-defined faecal patches. Lasius niger ants were housed in plaster nests and provided with coloured sucrose solution. After two months, 1–4 well defined dark patches, the colour of the sucrose solution, formed within each of the plaster nests. These patches never contained other waste material such as uneaten food items, or nestmate corpses. Such waste was collected in waste piles outside the nest. The coloured patches were thus distinct from previously described ‘kitchen middens’ in ants, and are best described as ‘toilets’. Why faeces is not removed with other waste materials is unclear. The presence of the toilets inside the nest suggests that they may not be an important source of pathogens, and may have a beneficial role. PMID:25692971

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Phylogenomics resolves evolutionary relationships among ants, bees, and wasps.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Brian R; Borowiec, Marek L; Chiu, Joanna C; Lee, Ernest K; Atallah, Joel; Ward, Philip S

    2013-10-21

    Eusocial behavior has arisen in few animal groups, most notably in the aculeate Hymenoptera, a clade comprising ants, bees, and stinging wasps [1-4]. Phylogeny is crucial to understanding the evolution of the salient features of these insects, including eusociality [5]. Yet the phylogenetic relationships among the major lineages of aculeate Hymenoptera remain contentious [6-12]. We address this problem here by generating and analyzing genomic data for a representative series of taxa. We obtain a single well-resolved and strongly supported tree, robust to multiple methods of phylogenetic inference. Apoidea (spheciform wasps and bees) and ants are sister groups, a novel finding that contradicts earlier views that ants are closer to ectoparasitoid wasps. Vespid wasps (paper wasps, yellow jackets, and relatives) are sister to all other aculeates except chrysidoids. Thus, all eusocial species of Hymenoptera are contained within two major groups, characterized by transport of larval provisions and nest construction, likely prerequisites for the evolution of eusociality. These two lineages are interpolated among three other clades of wasps whose species are predominantly ectoparasitoids on concealed hosts, the inferred ancestral condition for aculeates [2]. This phylogeny provides a new framework for exploring the evolution of nesting, feeding, and social behavior within the stinging Hymenoptera.

  2. Ante mortem identification of BSE from serum using infrared spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmitt, Jürgen; Lasch, Peter; Beekes, Michael; Udelhoven, Thomas; Eiden, Michael; Fabian, Heinz; Petrich, Wolfgang H.; Naumann, Dieter

    2004-07-01

    In our former studies a diagnostic approach for the detection of transmissible spongiform encephalopaties (TSE) based on FT-IR spectroscopy in combination with artificial neural networks was described, based on a controlled animal study with terminally ill Syrian hamsters and control animals. As a consequence of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis in Europe, the development of a disgnostic ante mortem test for cattle has become a matter of great scientific importance and public interest. Since 1986 more than 180,000 clinical cases of BSE have been observed in the UK alone. Most of these cases were confirmed by post mortem examination of brain tissue. However, BSE-related risk assessment and risk-management would greatly benefit from ante mortem testing on living animals. For example, a serum-based test could allow for screening of the cattle population, thus, even a BSE eradication program would be conceivable. Here we report on a novel method for ante mortem BSE testing, which combines infrared spectroscopy of serum samples with multivariate pattern recognition analysis. A classification algorithm was trained using infrared spectra of sera from more than 800 animals from a field study (including BSE positive, healthy controls and animals suffering from viral or bacterial infections). In two validation studies sensitivities of 85% and 87% and specificities of 84% and 91% were achieved, respectively. The combination of classification algorithms increased sensitivity and specificity to 96% and 92%, respectively.

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

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.; Seal, Jon N.

    2016-01-01

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

  4. Microbiological activity of soils populated by Lasius niger ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Golichenkov, M. V.; Neimatov, A. L.; Kiryushin, A. V.

    2009-07-01

    Ants are the most widespread colonial insects assigned to the Hymenoptera order. They actively use soil as a habitat; being numerous, they create a specific microrelief. It is shown that ants affect microbiological processes of the carbon and nitrogen cycles. The carbon content in anthills remains stable throughout the growing season, and the respiration intensity is about three times higher as compared with that in the control soil. The highest methane production (0.08 nmol of CH4/g per day) in the anthill is observed at the beginning of the growing season and exceeds that in the control soil by four times. The most active nitrogen fixation (about 4 nmol of C2H4/g per h) in the anthill takes place in the early growing season, whereas, in the control soil, it is observed in the middle of the growing season. At the same time, the diazotrophic activity is higher in the control soil. The lowest denitrification in the anthill is observed at the beginning and end of the growing season. The dynamics of the denitrification in the anthill are opposite to the dynamics of the diazotrophic activity. We suppose that these regularities of the biological activity in the anthill are related to the ecology of the ants and the changes in their food preferences during the growing season.

  5. Ant Navigation: Fractional Use of the Home Vector

    PubMed Central

    Cheung, Allen; Hiby, Lex; Narendra, Ajay

    2012-01-01

    Home is a special location for many animals, offering shelter from the elements, protection from predation, and a common place for gathering of the same species. Not surprisingly, many species have evolved efficient, robust homing strategies, which are used as part of each and every foraging journey. A basic strategy used by most animals is to take the shortest possible route home by accruing the net distances and directions travelled during foraging, a strategy well known as path integration. This strategy is part of the navigation toolbox of ants occupying different landscapes. However, when there is a visual discrepancy between test and training conditions, the distance travelled by animals relying on the path integrator varies dramatically between species: from 90% of the home vector to an absolute distance of only 50 cm. We here ask what the theoretically optimal balance between PI-driven and landmark-driven navigation should be. In combination with well-established results from optimal search theory, we show analytically that this fractional use of the home vector is an optimal homing strategy under a variety of circumstances. Assuming there is a familiar route that an ant recognizes, theoretically optimal search should always begin at some fraction of the home vector, depending on the region of familiarity. These results are shown to be largely independent of the search algorithm used. Ant species from different habitats appear to have optimized their navigation strategy based on the availability and nature of navigational information content in their environment. PMID:23209744

  6. Improving the channeler ant model for lung CT analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-03-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

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

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R; Seal, Jon N

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Edwards, Susan C; Pratt, Stephen C

    2009-10-22

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

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. Co-evolutionary patterns and diversification of ant-fungus associations in the asexual fungus-farming ant Mycocepurus smithii in Panama.

    PubMed

    Kellner, K; Fernández-Marín, H; Ishak, H D; Sen, R; Linksvayer, T A; Mueller, U G

    2013-06-01

    Partner fidelity through vertical symbiont transmission is thought to be the primary mechanism stabilizing cooperation in the mutualism between fungus-farming (attine) ants and their cultivated fungal symbionts. An alternate or additional mechanism could be adaptive partner or symbiont choice mediating horizontal cultivar transmission or de novo domestication of free-living fungi. Using microsatellite genotyping for the attine ant Mycocepurus smithii and ITS rDNA sequencing for fungal cultivars, we provide the first detailed population genetic analysis of local ant-fungus associations to test for the relative importance of vertical vs. horizontal transmission in a single attine species. M. smithii is the only known asexual attine ant, and it is furthermore exceptional because it cultivates a far greater cultivar diversity than any other attine ant. Cultivar switching could permit the ants to re-acquire cultivars after garden loss, to purge inferior cultivars that are locally mal-adapted or that accumulated deleterious mutations under long-term asexuality. Compared to other attine ants, symbiont choice and local adaptation of ant-fungus combinations may play a more important role than partner-fidelity feedback in the co-evolutionary process of M. smithii and its fungal symbionts.

  15. Effect of irradiation on queen survivorship and reproduction in the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta,(Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and a generic phytosanitary irradiation dose for ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ants are common hitchhiker pests on traded agricultural commodities that could be controlled by postharvest irradiation treatment. We studied radiation tolerance in queens of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren to determine the dose sufficient for its control. Virgin or fertile queens...

  16. Anaphylaxis caused by stings from the Solenopsis invicta, lava-pés ant or red imported fi re ant*

    PubMed Central

    Haddad Junior, Vidal; Larsson, Carlos Eduardo

    2015-01-01

    Ants are social insects with species of medical interest, such as the fi re ants (Solenopsis sp.). The sting causes inflammation, vesicles and sterile pustules, which may cause allergic phenomena and even anaphylactic shock. We describe a patient who suffered a large number of stings and an episode of syncope with fall in blood pressure and complete regression of symptoms after resuscitation and medication for anaphylaxis. Considering the clinical manifestations and images of wheals and blisters on the patient’s feet at the time of syncope, this report should serve as a warning for the diagnosis and treatment of this condition and even for counseling and prevention regarding patients exposed to this risk. PMID:26312665

  17. Argentine ant invasion associated with loblolly pines in the southeastern United States: minimal impacts but seasonally sustained.

    PubMed

    Rowles, Alexei D; Silverman, Jules

    2010-08-01

    Invasive ants are notorious for directly displacing native ant species. Although such impacts are associated with Argentine ant invasions (Linepithema humile) worldwide, impacts within natural habitat are less widely reported, particularly those affecting arboreal ant communities. Argentine ants were detected in North Carolina mixed pine-hardwood forest for the first time but were localized on and around loblolly pines (Pinus taeda), probably because of association with honeydew-producing Hemiptera. We explored the potential impacts of L. humile on arboreal and ground-foraging native ant species by comparing interspersed loblolly pines invaded and uninvaded by Argentine ants. Impacts on native ants were assessed monthly over 1 yr by counting ants in foraging trails on pine trunks and in surrounding plots using a concentric arrangement of pitfall traps at 1, 2, and 3 m from the base of each tree. Of floristics and habitat variables, higher soil moisture in invaded plots was the only difference between plot types, increasing confidence that any ant community differences were caused by Argentine ants. Overall patterns of impact were weak. Composition differed significantly between Argentine ant invaded and uninvaded trunks and pitfalls but was driven only by the presence of Argentine ants rather than any resulting compositional change in native ant species. Native ant abundance and richness were similarly unaffected by L. humile. However, the abundance of individual ant species was more variable. Although numbers of the arboreal Crematogaster ashmeadi (Myrmicinae) declined on and around invaded pines, epigeic Aphaenogaster rudis (Myrmicinae) remained the most abundant species in all plots. Argentine ant densities peaked in late summer and fall, therefore overlapping with most native ants. Unexpected was their continued presence during even the coldest months. We provide evidence that Argentine ants can invade and persist in native North Carolina forests, probably

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

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2011-01-01

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

  20. Effects of an alien ant invasion on abundance, behavior, and reproductive success of endemic island birds.

    PubMed

    Davis, Naomi E; O'Dowd, Dennis J; Green, Peter T; Nally, Ralph Mac

    2008-10-01

    Biological invaders can reconfigure ecological networks in communities, which changes community structure, composition, and ecosystem function. We investigated whether impacts caused by the introduced yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes), a pantropical invader rapidly expanding its range, extend to higher-order consumers by comparing counts, behaviors, and nesting success of endemic forest birds in ant-invaded and uninvaded rainforest on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). Point counts and direct behavioral observations showed that ant invasion altered abundances and behaviors of the bird species we examined: the Island Thrush (Turdus poliocephalus erythropleurus), Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica natalis), and Christmas Island White-eye (Zosterops natalis). The thrush, which frequents the forest floor, altered its foraging and reproductive behaviors in ant-invaded forest, where nest-site location changed, and nest success and juvenile counts were lower. Counts of the dove, which forages exclusively on the forest floor, were 9-14 times lower in ant-invaded forest. In contrast, counts and foraging success of the white-eye, a generalist feeder in the understory and canopy, were higher in ant-invaded forest, where mutualism between the ant and honeydew-secreting scale insects increased the abundance of scale-insect prey. These complex outcomes involved the interplay of direct interference by ants and altered resource availability and habitat structure caused indirectly by ant invasion. Ecological meltdown, rapidly unleashed by ant invasion, extended to these endemic forest birds and may affect key ecosystem processes, including seed dispersal.

  1. Efficacy of Chemical Mimicry by Aphid Predators Depends on Aphid-Learning by Ants.

    PubMed

    Hayashi, Masayuki; Nomura, Masashi; Nakamuta, Kiyoshi

    2016-03-01

    Chemical mimicry is an effective strategy when signal receivers recognize and discriminate models by relying on chemical cues. Some aphid enemies mimic the cuticular chemicals of aphids through various means thus avoiding detection and attack by aphid-tending ants. However, because ants have been reported to learn the chemical signatures of aphids in order to distinguish the aphids, the efficacy of chemical mimicry is predicted to depend on the experience of the ants that had tended aphids. The present study tested this hypothesis using two predator species: larvae of the green lacewing Mallada desjardinsi, and larvae of the ladybeetle Scymnus posticalis. Lacewing larvae carry the carcasses of aphids on which they have preyed upon their backs, and these function via chemical camouflage to reduce the aggressiveness of aphid-tending ants toward the larvae. Ladybeetle larvae reportedly produce a covering of wax structures, and their chemicals appear to attenuate ant aggression. We examined whether the behavior of the ant Tetramorium tsushimae toward these predators changed depending on their aphid-tending experience. Ants moderated their aggressiveness toward both predators when they had previously tended aphids, indicating that chemical mimicry by both aphid predators is dependent on previous experience of the ants in tending aphids. Chemical mimicry by the predators of ant-tended aphids is therefore considered to exploit learning-dependent aphid recognition systems of ants.

  2. 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

  3. Ant community change across a ground vegetation gradient in north Florida's longleaf pine flatwoods.

    PubMed

    Lubertazzi, David; Tschinkel, Walter

    2003-01-01

    Ant communities in longleaf pine habitats are poorly known and hence the naturally occurring ant assemblages of a large portion of southeastern North America are not well understood. This study examined the diverse ant community found in the longleaf pine flatwoods of north Florida and tested how ant diversity changes along a herbaceous ground cover gradient. Restoring the ground cover to its original floral composition is an important focus of longleaf pine conservation and hence it is important to understand how native faunal communities vary with ground cover variation. Using 4 sampling methods, we characterized the ant community and analyzed its within-habitat variation among 12 study sites. We found the highest plot species richness (55 species) and within-habitat species richness (72 species) ever recorded for North American ants. The ants formed three distinct communities. The low-diversity arboreal and subterranean assemblages varied little across forest stands while the diversity of the species-rich ground foraging ant community was negatively correlated with percent herbaceous cover. The imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (monogyne form), was unexpectedly found to be abundant in high herbaceous cover sites. Floral restoration of the pine flatwoods, which is increasing the proportion of herbaceous cover, is likely to cause an increase in the abundance of the imported fire ant.

  4. Ant community change across a ground vegetation gradient in north Florida's longleaf pine flatwoods

    PubMed Central

    Lubertazzi, David; Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2003-01-01

    Ant communities in longleaf pine habitats are poorly known and hence the naturally occurring ant assemblages of a large portion of southeastern North America are not well understood. This study examined the diverse ant community found in the longleaf pine flatwoods of north Florida and tested how ant diversity changes along a herbaceous ground cover gradient. Restoring the ground cover to its original floral composition is an important focus of longleaf pine conservation and hence it is important to understand how native faunal communities vary with ground cover variation. Using 4 sampling methods, we characterized the ant community and analyzed its within-habitat variation among 12 study sites. We found the highest plot species richness (55 species) and within-habitat species richness (72 species) ever recorded for North American ants. The ants formed three distinct communities. The low-diversity arboreal and subterranean assemblages varied little across forest stands while the diversity of the species-rich ground foraging ant community was negatively correlated with percent herbaceous cover. The imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (monogyne form), was unexpectedly found to be abundant in high herbaceous cover sites. Floral restoration of the pine flatwoods, which is increasing the proportion of herbaceous cover, is likely to cause an increase in the abundance of the imported fire ant. Abbreviation: ANF Apalachicola National Forest PMID:15841237

  5. Red imported fire ant impacts on upland arthropods in Southern Mississippi

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Epperson, D.M.; Allen, C.R.

    2010-01-01

    Red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) have negative impacts on a broad array of invertebrate species. We investigated the impacts of fire ants on the upland arthropod community on 20???40 ha study sites in southern Mississippi. Study sites were sampled from 19972000 before, during, and after fire ant bait treatments to reduce fire ant populations. Fire ant abundance was assessed with bait transects on all sites, and fire ant population indices were estimated on a subset of study sites. Species richness and diversity of other ant species was also assessed from bait transects. Insect biomass and diversity was determined from light trap samples. Following treatments, fire ant abundance and population indices were significantly reduced, and ant species diversity and richness were greater on treated sites. Arthropod biomass, species diversity and species richness estimated from light trap samples were negatively correlated with fire ant abundance, but there were no observable treatment effects. Solenopsis invicta has the potential to negatively impact native arthropod communities resulting in a potential loss of both species and function.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Ants have a negative rather than a positive effect on extrafloral nectaried Crotalaria pallida performance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pereira, Marcela Fernandes; Trigo, José Roberto

    2013-08-01

    Crotalaria pallida (Fabaceae) is a pantropical plant with extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) near the reproductive structures. EFN-visiting ants attack and remove arctiid moth Utetheisa ornatrix larvae, the main pre-dispersal seed predator, but the impact of ants on C. pallida fitness is unknown. To assess this impact, we controlled ant presence on plants and evaluated the reproductive output of C. pallida with and without ants. Predatory wasps also visit EFNs, prey upon U. ornatrix larvae, and may be driven out by ants during EFN feeding. Does this agonistic interaction affect the multitrophic interaction outcome? We found it difficult to evaluate the effect of both visitors because cages excluding wasps affect plant growth and do not allow U. ornatrix oviposition. Therefore, we verified whether ant presence inhibited wasp EFN visitation and predicted that (1) if ants confer a benefit for C. pallida, any negative effect of ants on wasps would be negligible for the plant because ants would be the best guardians, and (2) if ants are poor guardians, they would negatively affect wasps and negatively impact the fitness of C. pallida. Surprisingly, we found that the number of seeds/pods significantly increased, ca. 4.7 times, after ant removal. Additionally, we unexpectedly verified that controls showed a higher percentage of herbivore bored pods than ant-excluded plants. We found that wasps spent less time visiting EFNs patrolled by ants (ca. 299 s less). These results support our second prediction and suggest that the outcome of multitrophic interactions may vary with natural enemy actors.

  10. Individual-based ant-plant networks: diurnal-nocturnal structure and species-area relationship.

    PubMed

    Dáttilo, Wesley; Fagundes, Roberth; Gurka, Carlos A Q; Silva, Mara S A; Vieira, Marisa C L; Izzo, Thiago J; Díaz-Castelazo, Cecília; Del-Claro, Kleber; Rico-Gray, Victor

    2014-01-01

    Despite the importance and increasing knowledge of ecological networks, sampling effort and intrapopulation variation has been widely overlooked. Using continuous daily sampling of ants visiting three plant species in the Brazilian Neotropical savanna, we evaluated for the first time the topological structure over 24 h and species-area relationships (based on the number of extrafloral nectaries available) in individual-based ant-plant networks. We observed that diurnal and nocturnal ant-plant networks exhibited the same pattern of interactions: a nested and non-modular pattern and an average level of network specialization. Despite the high similarity in the ants' composition between the two collection periods, ant species found in the central core of highly interacting species totally changed between diurnal and nocturnal sampling for all plant species. In other words, this "night-turnover" suggests that the ecological dynamics of these ant-plant interactions can be temporally partitioned (day and night) at a small spatial scale. Thus, it is possible that in some cases processes shaping mutualistic networks formed by protective ants and plants may be underestimated by diurnal sampling alone. Moreover, we did not observe any effect of the number of extrafloral nectaries on ant richness and their foraging on such plants in any of the studied ant-plant networks. We hypothesize that competitively superior ants could monopolize individual plants and allow the coexistence of only a few other ant species, however, other alternative hypotheses are also discussed. Thus, sampling period and species-area relationship produces basic information that increases our confidence in how individual-based ant-plant networks are structured, and the need to consider nocturnal records in ant-plant network sampling design so as to decrease inappropriate inferences.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peck, Robert W.; Banko, Paul C.

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  13. Myrmecochores can target high-quality disperser ants: variation in elaiosome traits and ant preferences for myrmecochorous Euphorbiaceae in Brazilian Caatinga.

    PubMed

    Leal, Laura Carolina; Lima Neto, Mário Correia; de Oliveira, Antônio Fernando Morais; Andersen, Alan N; Leal, Inara R

    2014-02-01

    Recent evidence suggests that the traditional view of myrmecochory as a highly diffuse interaction between diaspores and a wide range of ant species attracted to their elaiosomes may not be correct. The effectiveness of dispersal varies markedly among ant species, and combined with differential attractiveness of diaspores due to elaiosome size and composition, this raises the potential for myrmecochorous plants to target ant species that offer the highest quality dispersal services. We ask the question: Do particular physical and chemical traits of elaiosomes result in disproportionate removal of Euphorbiaceae diaspores by high-quality disperser ants in Caatinga vegetation of north-eastern Brazil? We offered seeds of five euphorb species that varied in morphological and chemical traits of elaiosomes to seed-dispersing ants. High-quality seed-disperser ants (species of Dinoponera, Ectatomma and Camponotus) were identified as those that rapidly collected and transported diaspores to their nests, often over substantial distances, whereas low-quality disperser ants (primarily species of Pheidole and Solenopsis) typically fed on elaiosomes in situ, and only ever transported diaspores very short distances. Low-quality disperser ants were equally attracted to the elaiosomes of all study species. However, high-quality dispersers showed a strong preference for diaspores with the highest elaiosome mass (and especially proportional mass). As far as we are aware, this is the first study to identify a mechanism of diaspore selection by high-quality ant dispersers based on elaiosome traits under field conditions. Our findings suggest that myrmecochorous plants can preferentially target high-quality seed-disperser ants through the evolution of particular elaiosome traits.

  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. A diverse ant fauna from the mid-cretaceous of Myanmar (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Barden, Phillip; Grimaldi, David

    2014-01-01

    A new collection of 24 wingless ant specimens from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber (Albian-Cenomanian, 99 Ma) comprises nine new species belonging to the genus Sphecomyrmodes Engel and Grimaldi. Described taxa vary considerably with regard to total size, head and body proportion, cuticular sculpturing, and petiole structure while all species are unified by a distinct shared character. The assemblage represents the largest known diversification of closely related Cretaceous ants with respect to species number. These stem-group ants exhibit some characteristics previously known only from their extant counterparts along with presumed plesiomorphic morphology. Consequently, their morphology may inform hypotheses relating to basal relationships and general patterns of ant evolution. These and other uncovered Cretaceous species indicate that stem-group ants are not simply wasp-like, transitional formicids, but rather a group of considerable adaptive diversity, exhibiting innovations analogous to what crown-group ants would echo 100 million years later.

  16. Protection of Vochysia elliptica (Vochysiaceae) by a nectar-thieving ant.

    PubMed

    Romero, G Q

    2002-05-01

    Vochysia elliptica (Vochysiaceae) is a shrubby plant, which does not have EFNs. Camponotus ants thieve nectar, and can decrease plant fitness by making flowers less attractive to pollinators. However, ants remove herbivores, wHich can be beneficial. Results show that plants from which ants were excluded had lower rates of termite (simulated herbivore) removal than did plants visited by ants. Plants accessible to ants showed higher rates of termite removal in the base of leaves and in the inflorescence, than in the tip of leaves. This occurs because ants must pass through the principal axis to reach the inflorescence. Conclusive results of this cost/benefit analysis of the Camponotus sp. presence for V. elliptica can be obtained, with experimental manipulations.

  17. Effect of exit locations on ants escaping a two-exit room stressed with repellent

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Shujie; Cao, Shuchao; Wang, Qiao; Lian, Liping; Song, Weiguo

    2016-09-01

    In order to investigate the effect of the distance between two exits on ant evacuation efficiency and the behavior of ants escaping from a two-exit room, we conducted ant egress experiments using Camponotus japonicus in multiple situations. We found that the ants demonstrated the phenomenon of ;symmetry breaking; in this stress situation. It was also shown that different locations for the exits obviously affected the ants' egress efficiency by measuring the time intervals between individual egress and flow rate in eight repeated experiments, each of which contained five different distance between the two exits. In addition, it is demonstrated that there are differences between the predictions of Social Force Model of pedestrians and the behaviors of ants in stress conditions through comparing some important behavioral features, including position, trajectory, velocity, and density map.

  18. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-08-01

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

  20. The significance of direct sunlight and polarized skylight in the ant's celestial system of navigation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wehner, Rüdiger; Müller, Martin

    2006-08-01

    As textbook knowledge has it, bees and ants use polarized skylight as a backup cue whenever the main compass cue, the sun, is obscured by clouds. Here we show, by employing a unique experimental paradigm, that the celestial compass system of desert ants, Cataglyphis, relies predominantly on polarized skylight. If ants experience only parts of the polarization pattern during training but the full pattern in a subsequent test situation, they systematically deviate from their true homeward courses, with the systematics depending on what parts of the skylight patterns have been presented during training. This "signature" of the polarization compass remains unaltered, even if the ants can simultaneously experience the sun, which, if presented alone, enables the ants to select their true homeward courses. Information provided by direct sunlight and polarized skylight is picked up by different parts of the ant's compound eyes and is channeled into two rather separate systems of navigation. insect vision | polarization compass | sun compass | Cataglyphis

  1. Nonindigenous Ants at High Elevations on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wetterer, James K.; Banko, Paul C.; Laniawe, Leona P.; Slotterback, John W.; Brenner, Gregory J.

    1998-01-01

    Ant surveys were conducted at high elevations (1680-3140 m) on the western slope of Mauna Kea Volcano on the island of Hawai'i to detennine the extent of ant infestation in those highland communities and particularly to evaluate the potential threat of ants in the highlands to native Hawaiian species. Ants were surveyed at 10 long-tenn sampling sites. Ants were common on Mauna Kea up to 2000 m elevation, but densities quickly dropped off above that. Five species of ants were collected: Linepithema humile (Mayr), Cardiocondyla venustula Wheeler, Pheidole megacephala (Fabricius), Tetramorium bicarinatum (Nylander), and Monomorium pharaonis (Linnaeus). Other than L. humile, these collections on Mauna Kea are the highest recorded locales in the Hawaiian Islands.

  2. 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.

  3. Monopolization of resources by ground-nesting ants foraging on trees in Mediterranean forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martinez, Jean-Jacques Itzhak

    2015-05-01

    Ant communities are generally structured by territoriality, dominance and resource monopolization, but in Mediterranean hot grassland thermal tolerance plays a more important role. The main purposes of the present research were to investigate the hypothesis that in cooler Mediterranean forests resource monopolization structures the generalist ground-nesting ant community while foraging on trees, and to learn if tree heterogeneity plays any role in this structure. In Mediterranean forests in Israel, I visually recorded and trapped ants on the forest floor and those climbing on trees of five species. Ants of 27 species were detected, while the Chao2 index indicated an asymptotic richness estimation of 31 ± 8.1 species (mean ± S.D.). The numerically dominant species were Crematogaster lorteti and Tapinoma simrothi followed by Tapinoma israele and Crematogaster scutellaris. In more than 80% of the cases, specimens of only one ant species climbed at the same time on any individual tree, and no tree was occupied by more than three species. The C-score of climbing ants was statistically higher than simulated indexes when resources were individual trees, indicating that the ants strongly monopolized each tree. No difference was detected between observed and simulated C-scores when resources were tree species. The observed index of Pianka's niche overlap indicated no species specific interaction between trees and ants. In conclusion, this study confirms that ant mosaic structure may be formed by ground-nesting ants while foraging on trees. Tree species heterogeneity did not have a selective impact on the ants nor a central role in the ant community structure.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. New mutualism for old: indirect disruption and direct facilitation of seed dispersal following Argentine ant invasion.

    PubMed

    Rowles, Alexei D; O'Dowd, Dennis J

    2009-01-01

    The indirect effects of biological invasions on native communities are poorly understood. Disruption of native ant communities following invasion by the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is widely reported to lead indirectly to the near complete collapse of seed dispersal services. In coastal scrub in southeastern Australia, we examined seed dispersal and handling of two native and two invasive alien plant species at Argentine ant-invaded or -uninvaded sites. The Argentine ant virtually eliminates the native keystone disperser Rhytidoponera victoriae, but seed dispersal did not collapse following invasion. Indeed, Argentine ants directly accounted for 92% of all ant-seed interactions and sustained overall seed dispersal rates. Nevertheless, dispersal quantity and quality among seed species differed between Argentine ant-invaded and -uninvaded sites. Argentine ants removed significantly fewer native Acacia retinodes seeds, but significantly more small seeds of invasive Polygala myrtifolia than did native ants at uninvaded sites. They also handled significantly more large seeds of A. sophorae, but rarely moved them >5 cm, instead recruiting en masse, consuming elaiosomes piecemeal and burying seeds in situ. In contrast, Argentine ants transported and interred P. myrtifolia seeds in their shallow nests. Experiments with artificial diaspores that varied in diaspore and elaiosome masses, but kept seed morphology and elaiosome quality constant, showed that removal by L. humile depended on the interaction of seed size and percentage elaiosome reward. Small diaspores were frequently taken, independent of high or low elaiosome reward, but large artificial diaspores with high reward instead elicited mass recruitment by Argentine ants and were rarely moved. Thus, Argentine ants appear to favour some diaspore types and reject others based largely on diaspore size and percentage reward. Such variability in response indirectly reduces native seed dispersal and can directly

  7. Ants (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) of the Savannah River Plant, South Carolina

    SciTech Connect

    Van Pelt, A.; Gentry, J.B.

    1985-03-01

    This report lists each ant species collected on the SRP by habitat and, where determined, the nesting site within a particular habitat. Through the use of baited traps, relative frequencies of foraging ants were determined and listed. A key to the subfamilies and genera of ants occurring on the SRP is included along with illustrations of species representative of the major genera. 10 refs., 32 figs., 2 tabs.

  8. Biotic and abiotic controls of argentine ant invasion success at local and landscape scales

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Menke, S.B.; Fisher, R.N.; Jetz, W.; Holway, D.A.

    2007-01-01

    Although the ecological success of introduced species hinges on biotic interactions and physical conditions, few experimental studies - especially on animals - have simultaneously investigated the relative importance of both types of factors. The lack of such research may stem from the common assumption that native and introduced species exhibit similar environmental tolerances. Here we combine experimental and spatial modeling approaches (1) to determine the relative importance of biotic and abiotic controls of Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) invasion success, (2) to examine how the importance of these factors changes with spatial scale in southern California (USA), and (3) to assess how Argentine ants differ from native ants in their environmental tolerances. A factorial field experiment that combined native ant removal with irrigation revealed that Argentine ants failed to invade any dry plots (even those lacking native ants) but readily invaded all moist plots. Native ants slowed the spread of Argentine ants into irrigated plots but did not prevent invasion. In areas without Argentine ants, native ant species showed variable responses to irrigation. At the landscape scale, Argentine ant occurrence was positively correlated with minimum winter temperature (but not precipitation), whereas native ant diversity increased with precipitation and was negatively correlated with minimum winter temperature. These results are of interest for several reasons. First, they demonstrate that fine-scale differences in the physical environment can eclipse biotic resistance from native competitors in determining community susceptibility to invasion. Second, our results illustrate surprising complexities with respect to how the abiotic factors limiting invasion can change with spatial scale, and third, how native and invasive species can differ in their responses to the physical environment. Idiosyncratic and scale-dependent processes complicate attempts to forecast where

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

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2002-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2002-01-01

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

  11. 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

  12. Thermoregulation strategies in ants in comparison to