Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 407–411 | Cite as

Graded recruitment in a ponerine ant

  • Michael D. Breed
  • Jennifer H. Fewell
  • Allen J. Moore
  • Kristina R. Williams


(1) The giant tropical ant, Paraponera clavata, exhibits graded recruitment responses, depending on the type, quantity, and quality of a food source. More ants are initially recruited to a large prey or scavenge item than to a large quantity of sugar water. (2) Individual ants encountering prey items gauge the size and/or unwieldiness of the item, regardless of the weight, when determining whether to recruit. (3) The trail pheromone of this species is often used as an orientation device by individual ants, independent of recruitment of nestmates. (4) It is proposed that the foraging behavior of P. clavata represents one of the evolutionary transitions from the independent foraging activities of the primitive ants to the highly coordinated cooperative foraging activities of many “higher” ants.


Sugar Food Source Prey Item Evolutionary Transition Large Prey 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael D. Breed
    • 1
  • Jennifer H. Fewell
    • 1
  • Allen J. Moore
    • 1
  • Kristina R. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental, Population, and Organismic BiologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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