, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 117–121 | Cite as

Thievery, home ranges, and nestmate recognition inEctatomma ruidum

  • Michael D. Breed
  • Paul Abel
  • Tony J. Bleuze
  • Scott E. Denton
Original Papers


Thievery of food items among colonies of a ponerine ant,Ectatomma ruidum was common; nonnestmates in colonies or near the colony entrances receive incoming food items and carry them to their own colony. In our study area 7 of 10 colonies were victimized by thief ants. Colonies have discrete home ranges and home range size is correlated with the number of workers in the colony. Worker ants discriminate nestmates from non-nestmates when non-nestmates are presented at colony entrances, but individuals from different colonies were not observed to engage in agonistic interactions away from nest entrances. Non-nestmates gain entrance to colonies when the entrance is unguarded. Many instances of non-nestmates being removed from colonies by residents were observed. The costs and benefits of theft under these circumstances are considered.

Key words

Nestmate recognition Territoriality Home range Theft Ponerine 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael D. Breed
    • 1
  • Paul Abel
    • 1
  • Tony J. Bleuze
    • 1
  • Scott E. Denton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental, Population, and Organismic BiologyThe University of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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