, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 249-255

Larval hemolymph feeding: a nondestructive parental cannibalism in the primitive ant Amblyopone silvestrii Wheeler (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

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Summary

The queens of larger colonies of the primitive ant Amblyopone silvestrii are exclusively dependent on the hemolymph of their own larvae as a nutrient, even when prey feeding is possible. On the other hand, the foundresses suppress larval hemolymph feeding (LHF) when prey is available, allowing them to rear the first workers more swiftly. The nondestructive form of cannibalism can be regarded as a nutritive adaptation related to: (1) the lack of social food transfer in this species, and (2) its specialized predation on large sporadic prey (centipedes). LHF similar to that in Amblyopone was found in Proceratium and another type of LHF, with a larval specialized exudatory organ, in Leptanilla.