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Studies on the role of the infrabuccal pocket of the leaf-cutting antAcromyrmex octospinosus (Reich) (Hym., Formicidae)

Etudes sur le rôle du sac infrabuccal d'Acromyrmex octospinosus (Hym., Formicidae)

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Summary

The leaf-cutting antAcromyrmex octospinosus was shown to filter out into its infrabuccal pocket from liquid food, particles down to ten μ in diameter. The pocket acted as a receptacle for material licked from the ants' fungus garden and from their own bodies, and for leaf wax licked from leaves used for fungus culture. The infrabuccal pellets of worker ants, which might contain contaminating fungal spores, were always found away from the fungus garden and mostly on the refuse dump. Virgin queens however, regurgitated their pellets onto the fungus garden. Pellets regurgitated by worker ants were streaked onto agar plates, and from these the ant fungus was cultured. Worker ants were not able to start a new fungus garden, but the use of the infrabuccal pocket by queens to transmit the ant fungus to newly founded colonies can be seen as part of a general behaviour pattern.

Résumé

Le sac infrabuccal d'Acromyrmex octospinosus retient des particules en suspension dans la nourriture, dont le diamètre peut n'être que de 10 μm. Cette poche sert de réceptacle pour des matières prélevées sur les jardins à champignons, sur le corps même des fourmis, et pour de la cire léchée sur les feuilles utilisées dans la culture du champignon.

Les pelotes rejetées de la poche infrabuccale des ouvrières contiennent des spores de champignons contaminants. Elles ont toujours été retrouvées loin des meules, le plus souvent sur les tas de détritus. Les femelles vierges cependant régurgitent leurs pelotes sur les jardins à champignons. Le champignon des fourmis a pu être cultivé sur des plaques d'agar, sur lesquelles des pelotes d'ouvrières ont été étalées. Les ouvrières n'ont pas été capables de débuter une nouvelle culture de champignons, mais l'utilisation par les reines du sac infrabuccal pour inséminer les nouveaux jardins lors des fondations de colonie peut être considérée comme un cas particulier d'un comportement plus général.

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Quinlan, R.J., Cherrett, J.M. Studies on the role of the infrabuccal pocket of the leaf-cutting antAcromyrmex octospinosus (Reich) (Hym., Formicidae). Ins. Soc 25, 237–245 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02224744

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Keywords

  • Agar
  • Agar Plate
  • Behaviour Pattern
  • General Behaviour
  • Fungal Spore