Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Collective exploration and area marking in the ant Lasius niger

  • 327 Accesses

  • 55 Citations

Summary:

The aphid tending ant species, Lasius niger collectively explore new areas. Scouts are mobilised within the first five minutes of exploration with activity thereafter decreasing and stabilising after 40 minutes. Collective path choices of colonies underline the existence of chemical recruitment and area marking during exploration. To identify the territorial or home-range role of exploratory marking, we examined its influence on agonistic behaviour during intraspecific encounters. Ten nestmates and ten alien conspecifics were confronted: (i) on a paper marked by their own colony, (ii) on a paper marked by the alien colony or (iii) on a paper not chemically marked by ants. Residents and intruders showed a weak level of aggression and behaved similarly whatever the type of area marking. As no colony-specificity was observed in the odds of eliciting aggression, exploratory area marking in Lasius niger seems to be rather a home-range than a true territorial marking. We discuss the role of collective exploration, home-range marking and intraspecific interactions in the structuring and use of foraging space by neighbour Lasius niger colonies.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Author information

Additional information

Received 21 December 2001; revised 18 June 2002; accepted 25 June 2002.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Devigne, C., Detrain, C. Collective exploration and area marking in the ant Lasius niger . Insectes soc. 49, 357–362 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/PL00012659

Download citation

  • Key words: Lasius niger, collective exploration, home-range marking, intraspecific interactions, ants.