Directed Aerial Descent Behavior in African Canopy Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
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- Yanoviak, S.P., Fisher, B.L. & Alonso, A. J Insect Behav (2008) 21: 164. doi:10.1007/s10905-008-9116-5
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Several species of neotropical ants direct their aerial descent toward tree trunks during a fall from the forest canopy. The primary goal of this study was to determine if afrotropical arboreal ants exhibit similar gliding behavior. Ants were collected from nine tree crowns in late secondary forest at a hydrocarbon extraction site near Gamba, Gabon. Of the 32 species tested, the behavior was observed in five Cataulacus spp. and three Camponotus spp., making this the first report of gliding in African ants. Aerial glide performance (horizontal distance traveled per unit vertical drop distance) decreased with increasing body size among species and among individuals of Cataulacus erinaceus. Characteristics of directed descent behavior in C. erinaceous were very similar to those of the neotropical ant Cephalotes atratus.