, Volume 97, Issue 1, pp 118–123 | Cite as

Group hunting in a ponerine ant, Leptogenys nitida Smith

  • Frances D. Duncan
  • Robin M. Crewe
Original Paper


Field observations on the emigration and foraging behaviours of the southern African ponerine ant, Leptogenys nitida, were undertaken at Mtunzini, Natal, South Africa. These colonies have a single ergatoid queen and 200–1000 workers. The nest sites are found in the leaf litter and these nests are moved frequently over distances ranging from 0.5 to 5 m. Leptogenys nitida is a diurnal predator of arthropods dwelling in the leaf litter. Up to 500 workers participate in each foraging trail, and are not led by definite scouts. Ants form clear trunk trails and fan out at various intervals to search for prey. The prey is searched for and retrieved cooperatively. From laboratory tests it was determined that ants will follow pygidial gland extracts, with the poison gland extract eliciting a limited response. The type of army ant behaviour observed in L. nitida seems to be different to that observed in other ponerine ants.

Key words

Foraging strategy Leptogenys Group hunting Ponerinae Trail pheromone 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frances D. Duncan
    • 1
  • Robin M. Crewe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of the WitwatersrandSouth Africa

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