Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 45–54 | Cite as

A seasonal natural history of the ant, Odontomachus brunneus

  • L. M. HartEmail author
  • W. R. Tschinkel
Research Article


A north Florida population of Odontomachus brunneus, a species of ponerine ants, was studied for a one-year period to determine the annual cycle of reproduction and colony growth, including the foraging biology and seasonal changes in nest architecture. The life cycle of O. brunneus is strongly seasonal. Colonies produce brood for 6 months and are broodless for 6 months. Alates are produced in mixed broods at the beginning of each season, consuming much of the colony’s energy reserves. These reserves recover slowly through foraging during the summer’s worker production, and rapidly after brood production ceases in October. The foraging population was estimated to average 77% (SD 22) of the workforce. This proportion was not related to colony size and female alates were also found to forage. Nest architecture was found to change seasonally, with winter nests being more than twice as deep as the average summer nest.


Odontomachus brunneus Annual cycle Seasonal nest architecture Foraging 



We would like to thank Dr. Josh King for assistance in project design, as well as Carli Seeba, Jacob Kline, Justin Diepenbrock, David Hart and Joshua Gold for their hours of field assistance.


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Copyright information

© International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological ScienceFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Division of Plant SciencesUniversity of Missouri—ColumbiaColumbiaUSA

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