Advertisement

Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 92, Issue 7, pp 324–327 | Cite as

Influence of interspecific competition on the recruitment behavior and liquid food transport in the tramp ant species Pheidole megacephala

  • Alain Dejean
  • Julien Le Breton
  • Jean Pierre Suzzoni
  • Jérôme Orivel
  • Corrie Saux-Moreau
Short Communication

Abstract

This study was conducted on the reactions of Pheidole megacephala scouts when finding liquid food sources situated on territories marked by competing dominant ant species or on unmarked, control areas to see if the number of recruited nestmates is affected and if soldiers behave in ways adapted to the situation. We show that scouts recruit more nestmates, particularly soldiers, on marked rather than on unmarked areas. This recruitment allows P. megacephala to organize the defence and rapid depletion of these food sources prior to any contact with competitors. Soldiers can carry liquid foods both (1) in their crops like other Myrmicinae and (2), in a new finding concerning myrmicine ants, under their heads and thoraxes like certain poneromorph genera because the droplets adhere through surface tension strengths. Later, the liquids stored in the crop are distributed to nestmates through regurgitations during trophallaxis and the external droplets are distributed through “social buckets”, or the mode of liquid food transfer common in poneromorphs. Their flexibility to use or not use the latter technique, based on the situation, corroborates other reports that Pheidole soldiers have a relatively large behavioral repertoire.

Keywords

Liquid Food Marked Area High Sugar Concentration Recruitment Behavior Neutral Area 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Dr B. Bolton for the identification of the ants, and to Andrea Dejean for proofreading the manuscript. This work was supported by a CAMPUS project of the French Ministry of Cooperation (108/CD/90)

References

  1. Beugnon G, Dejean A (1992) Adaptive properties of the chemical trail system of the African weaver ant. Insect Soc 39:341–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bolton B (2003) Synopsis and classification of Formicidae. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute, vol. 71. The American Entomological Institute, GainesvilleGoogle Scholar
  3. Campbell CAM (1994) Homoptera associated with the ants Crematogaster clariventris, Pheidole megacephala and Tetramorium aculeatum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on cocoa in Ghana. Bull Entomol Res 84:313–318Google Scholar
  4. Davidson DW, Cook SC, Snelling RR (2004) Liquid-feeding performances of ants (Formicidae): Ecological and evolutionary implications. Oecologia 139:255–266CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Dejean A (1990) Circadian rhythm of Oecophylla longinoda in relation with territoriality and predatory behaviour. Physiol Entomol 15:393–403Google Scholar
  6. Dejean A, Suzzoni JP (1997) Surface tension strengths in the service of a ponerine ant: A new kind of nectar transport. Naturwissenschaften 84:76–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Delabie JHC (2001) Trophobiosis between Formicidae and Hemiptera (Sternorrhyncha and Auchenorrhyncha): An overview. Neotrop Entomol 30:501–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Eisner T (1957) A comparative morphological study of the proventriculus of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bull Mus Compar Zool 116:439–490Google Scholar
  9. Hölldobler B (1985) Liquid food transmission and antennation signals in ponerine ants. Israel J Entomol 19:89–99Google Scholar
  10. Hölldobler B, Wilson EO (1990) The ants. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Holway D, Lach L, Suarez AV, Tsutui ND, Case T (2002) The causes and consequences of ant invasions. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 33:181–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Josens RB, Farina WM, Roces F (1998) Nectar feeding by the ant Camponotus mus: Intake rate and crop filling as a function of sucrose concentration. J Insect Physiol 44:579–585CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Mailleux AC, Deneubourg JL, Detrain C (2000) How do ants asses food volume? Anim Behav 59:1061–1069CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Offenberg J, Nielsen MG, MacIntoch DJ, Havanon S (2004) Evidence that insect herbivores are deterred by ant pheromones. Biol Lett 271:433–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Sempo G, Detrain C (2004) Between-species differences of behavioural repertoire of caste in the ant genus Pheidole: A methodological artifact? Insect Sci 51:48–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Taylor B (2005) The ants of (sub-Saharan) Africa. [WWW document]. URL http://antbase.org/ants/africa (04 March 2005)Google Scholar
  17. Tschinkel WR, Mikheyev AS, Storz SR (2003) Allometry of workers of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. J Insect Sci 3:1–11PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Völk W, Woodring J, Fisher M, Lorenz MW, Hoffman KH (1999) Ant-aphid mutualisms: The impact of honeydew production and honeydew sugar composition on ant preferences. Oecologia 118:483–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alain Dejean
    • 1
  • Julien Le Breton
    • 2
  • Jean Pierre Suzzoni
    • 1
  • Jérôme Orivel
    • 1
  • Corrie Saux-Moreau
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Evolution et Diversité Biologique, UMR-CNRS 5174Université Toulouse IIIToulouse Cedex 4France
  2. 2.Laboratory of Sub-Tropical Zoology, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of the RyukyusNishiharaJapan
  3. 3.Museum of Comparative ZoologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations