Neotropical Entomology

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 115–121

Workers’ Extra-Nest Behavioral Changes During Colony Fission in Dinoponera quadriceps (Santschi)

Ecology, Behavior and Bionomics

DOI: 10.1007/s13744-013-0193-6

Cite this article as:
Medeiros, J. & Araújo, A. Neotrop Entomol (2014) 43: 115. doi:10.1007/s13744-013-0193-6

Abstract

Ant colonies can reproduce by two strategies: independent foundation, wherein the queen starts a new colony alone, and dependent foundation, in which workers assist the queen. In the queenless species Dinoponera quadriceps (Santschi), the colony reproduces obligatorily by fission, a type of dependent foundation, but this process is not well understood. This study describes a colony fission event of D. quadriceps in the field and analyzes the influence of the fission process on workers’ extra-nest behavior. Based on observations of workers outside the nest, five distinct stages were identified: monodomic stage, polydomic stage, split stage, conflict stage, and post-conflict stage. The colony was initially monodomic and then occupied a second nest before it split into two independent colonies, indicating a gradual and opportunistic dependent foundation. After the fission event, the daughter colony had aggressive conflicts with the parental colony, resulting in the latter’s disappearance. Colony fission affected workers’ extra-nest behavior by increasing the frequency of rubbing the gaster against the substrate (which probably has a chemical marking function) and by decreasing the frequency of foraging during the split stage. After the fission event, the number of foragers was halved and foragers remained nearer to the nest during extra-nest activity. The spatial closeness of the parental and daughter colonies led to competition that caused the extinction or migration of the parental colony. Intraspecific competition was indicated by foraging directionality at the colony level, whereby areas of neighbor colonies were avoided; this directionality was stronger while both colonies coexisted.

Keywords

Dependent colony foundation intraspecific competition Ponerinae 

Copyright information

© Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Depto de Fisiologia, PPG em Psicobiologia, Lab de Biologia ComportamentalUniv Federal do Rio Grande do NorteNatalBrasil

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