Raid process, activity pattern and influence of abiotic conditions in the slave-making ant Rossomyrmex minuchae (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)
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In the present work, we present the results of a study on the seasonal and daily activity, as well as on the raid process in Rossomyrmex minuchae. A comparative study of the annual and daily activity of the host species, Proformica longiseta, has also been made in parasitized and non-parasitized colonies. R. minuchae is an obligate slave-maker, in which the annual activity is strongly related to abiotic conditions, especially temperature and moisture of the soil. The raid process is comprised of three phases: scouting, assault of the host nest and robbing of the host brood. Recruitment of nestmates by mean of adult transport, concentration close to and invasion of the host nest, are the three tasks carried out by R. minuchae workers during the assault phase. Major differences between Rossomyrmex and Polyergus (the other obligate dulotic genus of the tribe Formicini) in terms of behaviour, both in nestmate recruitment and in the host-nest invasion, reflect different parasitic strategies in the two genera, supporting the assignment of these two genera to different phylogenetic groups.
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