Advertisement

Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 177–191 | Cite as

Predatory behavior in the genusLeptogenys: A comparative study

  • Alain Dejean
  • Claude Evraerts
Article

Abstract

We studied the predatory behavior of seven species of the genusLeptogenys from Mexico and Cameroon. The ants of this genus are armed with long, thin, curved mandibles articulated at the extreme corners of the anterior margin of the head, permitting them easily to seize oniscoid isopods, the obligate or the principal prey of mostLeptogenys species. Workers hunt these prey, which are able to roll themselves up, solitarily. Foraging behavior comprises sequences of up to eight activities. The prey can be seized by the body (rolled up or not), or alternatively by the edge of the shell, then turned over and stung on the ventral face. A relationship between the mandible size of the workers and the handling method permitted us to established that the phase “seizure by the edge of the shell” (compared to grasping the prey by the body) was more frequent as the prey size increased or the mandible length of the workers decreased. The rate of prey escape followed the same pattern. When a prey escaped, workers reacted by using a local searching or “reserve” behavior: they moved by increasing both sinuosity and speed. Recruitment occurred mainly after a worker found a group of prey or a large prey.L. mexicana are attractive at a distance to the isopods Bathytropidae living in the same natural environment. As a consequence, prey capture is possible without foraging for this species.

Key Words

predatory behavior prey attraction Leptogenys Formicidae Ponerinae 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Amold, G. (1915). A monograph of the Formicidae of South Africa.Ann. South Afr. Mus. 14: 1–766.Google Scholar
  2. Bolton, B. (1973). The ant genera of West Africa: A synonimic synopsis with keys (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) 27: 317–368.Google Scholar
  3. Bolton, B. (1975). A revision of the ant genusLeptogenys Roger (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Ethiopian region. With a review of the Malagasy species.Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) 31: 237–305.Google Scholar
  4. China, W. E. (1928). A remarkable bug which lures ants to their destruction.Nat. Hist. Mag. 1: 209–213.Google Scholar
  5. Dejean, A. (1985a). Etude éco-éthologique de la prédation chez les fourmis du genreSmithistruma (Formicidae, Myrmicinae, tribu des Dacetini). II. Attraction des proies principales.Insectes Soc. 32: 158–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dejean, A. (1985b). Etude éco-éthologique de la prédation chez les fourmis du genreSmithistruma (Formicidae, Myrmicinae, tribu des Dacetini). III. La capture des proies chezS. emarginata.Insectes Soc. 32: 244–256.Google Scholar
  7. Dejean, A. (1988a). Failure as an efficient stimulus of a “reserve behaviour” which allows the capture of alternative prey bySerrastruma serrula workers (Formicidae, Myrmicinae).Sociobiology 14: 325–339.Google Scholar
  8. Dejean, A. (1988b). Determination of the hunting strategy in the genusSmithistruma (Formicidae, Myrmicinae) by the kind of prey.Behav. Proc. 16: 111–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dejean, A. (1997). Distribution of colonies and prey specialization in the ponerine ant genusLeptogenys. Sociobiology 29 (in press).Google Scholar
  10. Duncan, F. D. (1992). Foraging strategies ofLeptogenys nitida (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). In Billen, J. (ed.),Biology and Evolution of Social Insects, Leuven University Press, Leuven, pp. 319–323.Google Scholar
  11. Duncan, F. D., and Crewe, R. M. (1994). Group hunting in a ponerine ant,Leptogenys nitida Smith.Oecologia 97: 118–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fletcher, D. J. C. (1971). The glandular source and social functions of trail pheromones in two species of ants (Leptogenys).J. Entomol. 46: 27–37.Google Scholar
  13. Fletcher, D. J. C. (1973). “Army ant” behaviour in the Ponerinae: A re-assessment.Proc. VIIth Conf. IUSSI, London, pp. 116–121.Google Scholar
  14. Freitas, A. V. L. (1995). Nest relocation and prey specialization in the antLeptogenys propelfalciferas Roger (Formicidae: Ponerinae) in an urban area in southern Brazil.Insectes Soc. 42: 453–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Garnett, W. B., Akre, R. D., and Sehlke, G. (1985). Cocoon mimicry and predation by myrmecophilous diptera (Diptera: Syrphidae).Fla. Entomol. 68: 615–621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gorvett, H. (1956). Tegumental glands and terrestrial life in woodlice.Proc. Zool. Soc. London 126: 291–314.Google Scholar
  17. Hölldobler, B., and Wilson, E. O. (1990).The Ants, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  18. Howard, R. W., Akre, R. D., and Garnett, W. B. (1990a). Chemical mimicry in an obligate predator of carpenter ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 83: 607–616.Google Scholar
  19. Howard, R. W., Standley-Samuelson, D. W., and Akre, R. D. (1990b). Biosynthesis and chemical mimicry of cuticular hydrocarbons from the obligate predator,Microdon albicomatus Novak (Diptera: Syrphidae) and its ant prey,Myrmica incompleta Provancher (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).J. Kans. Entomol. Soc. 63: 437–443.Google Scholar
  20. Huber, I. (1979). Prey attraction and immobilization by allomone from nymphs ofWomeria strandtmanni (Acarina: Trombiculidae).Acarologia 20: 112–115.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Jacobson, E. (1911). Biological notes on the HemipteronPtilocerus ochraceus.Tids. voor Entomol. 54: 175–179.Google Scholar
  22. Kumar, A. R. V. (1990). Batch strench of hunting groups inLeptogenys diminuta (Formicidae: Ponerinae). In Veeresh, G. K., Mallik, B., and Viraktamath, C. A. (eds.),Social Insects and the Environment, E. J. Brill, Leiden, pp. 562–563.Google Scholar
  23. Lévieux, J. (1977). La nutrition des fourmis tropicales. V. Eléments de synthèse: Les modes d’exploitation de la biocénose.Insectes Soc. 24: 235–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lévieux, J. (1983). The soil fauna of tropical savannas. IV. The ants. In Bourlière, B. (ed.),Tropical Savannas, Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 525–540.Google Scholar
  25. Longhurst, C., Baker, R., and Howse, P. E. (1978). Chemical crypsis in predatory ants.Experientia 35: 870–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Maschwitz, U., and Mühlemberg, M. (1975). Zür Jaardstrategie einger orientaliischerLeptogenys-Arten (Formicidae: Ponerinae).Oecologia 20: 65–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Maschwitz, U., and Schönegge, P. (1977). Recruitment gland ofLeptogenys chinensis. A new type of pheromone gland in ants.Naturwissenschaften 64: 589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Maschwitz, U., and Schönegge, P. (1983). Forage communication, nest moving recruitment, and prey specialization in the oriental ponerineLeptogenys chinensis.Oecologia 57: 175–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Maschwitz, U., Steghaus-Kovac, S., Gaube, R., and Hänel, H. (1989). A south Asian ponerine ant of the genusLeptogenys (Hym., Form.) with army ant life habits.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 24: 305–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mill, A. E. (1982). Faunal studies on termites (Isoptera) and observations on their ant predators (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Amazon basin.Rev. Bras. Entomol. 26: 253–260.Google Scholar
  31. Peeters, C. P. (1997). Morphology of “primitive” ants: Comparative revue of social characters, and the importance of queen dimorphism. In Choe, J., and Crespi, B. (eds.),The Evolution of Social Behavior in Insects and Arachnids, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 372–391.Google Scholar
  32. Schmalfuss, H. (1984). Eco-morphological strategies in terrestrial isopods.Symp. Zool. Soc. London 53: 49–63.Google Scholar
  33. Steghaus-Kovac, S., and Maschwitz, U. (1993). Predation on earwigs: A novel diet specialization within the genusLeptogenys (Formicidae: Ponerinae).Insectes Soc. 40: 337–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sutton, S. L. (1980).Woodlice, Pergamon Press, New York.Google Scholar
  35. Trager, J. C., and Johnson, C. (1988). The ant genusLeptogenys (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Ponerinae) in the United States. In Trager, J. C. (ed.),Advances in Myrmecology, E. J. Brill, New York, pp. 29–33.Google Scholar
  36. Vander Meer, R. K., and Wojcik, D. P. (1982). Chemical mimicry in the myrmecophilous beetleMyrmecaphodius excavaticolis.Science 218: 806–808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wheeler, W. M. (1904). A crustacean-eating ant (Leptogenys elongata Buckley).Biol. Bull. Marine Biol. Lab. Woods Hole 6: 251–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wheeler, W. M. (1910).Ants: Their Structure, Development and Behavior, Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  39. Wheeler, W. M. (1922). Ants of the Belgian Congo. Part 2. Ants collected by the American Museum Congo Expedition.Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 39–269.Google Scholar
  40. Wheeler, W. M. (1936). Ecological relations of ponerine and other ants to termites.Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 71: 159–243.Google Scholar
  41. Wilson, E. O. (1958a). Studies on the ant fauna of Melanesia. I. The tribeLeptogenyini. II. The tribesAmblyoponini andPlatythyreini.Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 118: 101–153.Google Scholar
  42. Wilson, E. O. (1958b). The beginnings of nomadic and group-predatory behavior in the ponerine ants.Evolution 12: 24–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wilson, E. O. (1959). Some ecological characteristics of ants in New Guinea rain forests.Ecology 40: 437–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alain Dejean
    • 1
  • Claude Evraerts
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Ethologie Expérimentale et Comparée (URA CNRS No. 2214)Université Paris NordVilletaneuseFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Zoologie (URA CNRS No. 674)Université de BourgogneDijonFrance

Personalised recommendations