Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 767–777 | Cite as

Regulated food recruitment through individual behavior of scouts in the ant,Myrmica sabuleti (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

  • J. C. de Biseau
  • J. M. Pasteels


By presenting different kinds of food sources to colonies ofM. sabuleti, we have demonstrated that this species regulates its foraging activity by altering the proportion of scouts that return to the nest to recruit nestmates after discovering a food source and by varying the number of nestmates recruited by a scout. These two parameters are related to the kind of food discovered. Our behavioral experiments showed that the probability that a scout returned to the nest decreased with a decreasing quantity of sucrose solution. In contrast, the number of returned scouts that elicited recruitment from the nest and the mean number of nestmates recruited by one of these scouts were independent of the quantity of the sucrose solution. Recruitment even occurred toward a 1- or 0.25-µl droplet of sucrose solution. When a scout discovered a large dead prey, a large drop of prey juice, a cluster of 30 dead fruit flies, or 1 isolated fruit fly, it always went back to the nest, but it elicited recruitment only when the food source was a large dead prey or a large drop of prey juice. No recruitment occurred when the food source was a single fruit fly and recruitment occurred only once in 30 trials when a cluster of 30 fruit flies was discovered.

Key words

recruitment foraging Myrmica sabuleti 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. C. de Biseau
    • 1
  • J. M. Pasteels
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biologie Animale et Cellulaire, CP 160/12Université Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium

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