Winter activity of the European false honeypot ant, Prenolepis nitens (Mayr, 1853)

Abstract

Cryophily, or negative thermotropism, is a poorly documented phenomenon in ants. Only a few species have been reported to be active at such extremely low temperatures that would incapacitate other ant species. In this study, the winter activity of the European false honeypot ant, Prenolepis nitens, was investigated in an oak forest in mid-western Hungary. The results suggest that P. nitens similar to its North American sister species, Prenolepis imparis, has no definite winter hibernation period and, unlike most temperate ant species, it remains active above-ground all winter and early spring, foraging whenever temperature allows movement, even when temperatures are near freezing.

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Acknowledgments

I am grateful for the helpful comments of István Maák and two anonymous reviewers, and Csaba Tölgyesi and Judit Márton for helping with linguistic issues.

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Correspondence to G. Lőrinczi.

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Lőrinczi, G. Winter activity of the European false honeypot ant, Prenolepis nitens (Mayr, 1853). Insect. Soc. 63, 193–197 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-015-0437-z

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Keywords

  • Cold tolerance
  • Cryophily
  • Foraging
  • Prenolepis nitens
  • Temperature