Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 421–438 | Cite as

Raiding and Foraging Behavior of the Blood-Red Ant, Formica sanguinea Latr. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

  • Alessandra Mori
  • Donato A. Grasso
  • Francesco Le Moli


In this paper we report the results of a detailed study on the behavioral ecology of slave raiding and foraging activity in the European blood-red ant, Formica sanguinea Latr. The field study was conducted over an unbroken period of 78 days, during which the activity of two dulotic colonies of this facultative slave-maker was observed for 10 h each day. It was possible to observe 26 raids distributed over 23 days, among which 18 were followed by the sacking of nests belonging to the species F. cunicularia, F. fusca, and Lasius emarginatus, whereas 8 failed. Simple, continuous, and simultaneous raids occurred. We recorded the timing, frequency, distance, and direction of slave raids, including the number of participants and the type of booty. Particular attention was devoted to the scouting behavior and raiding organization. Moreover, every day, we observed foraging and predatory behavior, during which adult insects (mainly ants), seeds, and berries were retrieved to the dulotic colonies. On the basis of our observations F. sanguinea seems to be a very efficient slave-maker and predatory species of the Raptiformica subgenus. Moreover, its dulotic behavior may be regarded as a continuation and an expansion of its foraging and predatory behavior, as predicted by Darwin's hypothesis for the origin and evolution of slavery in ants.

raiding foraging evolution of slavery Formica sanguinea 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandra Mori
    • 1
  • Donato A. Grasso
    • 1
  • Francesco Le Moli
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Evolutiva e FunzionaleUniversità degli StudiParmaItaly

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