Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 261–271 | Cite as

Caste specialization in food storage in the dimorphic antColobopsis nipponicus (Wheeler)

  • E. Hasegawa
Research Articles


Food-storage abilities of both minor and major workers of the dimorphic antColobopsis nipponicus were examined to prove the hypothesis that major workers of this species have a trophic role in addition to a defensive one. Both worker subcastes accumulated water, that was supplied with water-soluble food, as well as fat, that probably originated from food given. However, the major workers accumulated much larger amounts of water and fat than did the minor workers. Difference in water accumulation increased as food supply increased. In spite of their difference in body weight, the residual amount of fat after starvation did not differ between the two subcastes. Although the amount of stored fat increased with colony size in both subcastes, the stored fat per dry weight of the major worker was significantly larger than that of the minor worker regardless of the colony size. When workers of a colony were starved, minor workers with a single major worker survived significantly longer than those without a major worker. In addition, about half the behavioral acts of major workers were regurgitation for minor workers. These results demonstrate that major workers ofC. nipponicus functioned as a trophic caste. On the basis of the results, quantitative relationships of storage abilities between the two worker subcastes are discussed.

Key words

Food storage worker dimorphism division of labor trophic caste 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Hasegawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceTokyo Metropolitan University Minamiohsawa 1-1TokyoJapan

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