Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 74–86 | Cite as

Species-specific patterns in the social activities of harvester ant colonies (Pogonomyrmex)

  • Deborah M. Gordon
Article

Summary

This field study examines the social behavior of five sympatric species of desert seed-eating ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus, P. rugosus, P. maricopa, P. desertorum, P. californicus). The species differed significantly in measures of activity rhythms in various colony tasks, use of space around the nest yard, and reaction to disturbance. Species differences were related to the typical size of a colony's outside work force. The behavior ofP. rugosus, P. barbatus, andP. maricopa, which had larger outside work forces, emphasized territoriality and the acquisition of food; that ofP. desertorum andP. californicus, which had smaller outside work forces, emphasized the avoidance of contact with other colonies. Examining the patterns in colony behavior can illuminate interspecific relationships in desert ant communities.

Keywords

Social Behavior Social Activity Species Difference Work Force Typical Size 

Différences spécifiques dans le comportement social de cinq espèces de fourmis moissonneuses (Pogonomyrmex)

Resume

Cette étude faite sur le terrain dans le désert du sud-ouest des Etats-Unis différencie le comportement social de cinq espèces de fourmis moissonneuses:Pogonomyrmex barbatus, P. rugosus, P. maricopa, P. desertorum, P. californicus. Les espèces diffèrent significativement quant à leurs rythmes d'activité pour plusieurs tâches (fourragement, maintien du nid, surveillance, maintien des débris, rassemblement), ainsi que pour l'utilisation de l'espace autour du nid et la réaction de la societé à un dérangement. En général, les différences de comportement peuvent s'organiser en fonction de la quantité habituelle d'ouvrières hors du nid. Chez les espèces ayant une plus grande quantité d'ouvrières à l'extérieur du nid, l'organisation de la société met plus en valeur l'acquisition de la nourriture et la territorialité. Par contre, les espèces ayant moins d'ouvrières hors du nid ont un comportement social qui leur permet de réduire leur contact avec d'autres sociétés. En examinant les régularités temporelles et spatiales du comportment social, on peut mieux comprendre les rapports interspécifiques chez les communautés de fourmis.

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Copyright information

© Masson 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deborah M. Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyDuke UniversityDurhamU.S.A.

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