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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10261/45443
Title: Individual and collective foraging decisions: a field study of worker recruitment in the gypsy ant Aphaenogaster senilis
Authors: Cerdá, Xim; Angulo, Elena; Boulay, Raphaël; Lenoir, Alain
Keywords: Foraging
Group recruitment
Food size
Issue Date: Apr-2009
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2009) 63:551–562
Abstract: In social insects, the decision to exploit a food source is made both at the individual (e.g., a worker collecting a food item) and colony level (e.g., several workers communicating the existence of a food patch). In group recruitment, the recruiter lays a temporary chemical trail while returning from the food source to the nest and returns to the food guiding a small group of nestmates. We studied how food characteristics influence the decision-making process of workers changing from individual retrieving to group recruitment in the gypsy ant Aphaenogaster senilis. We offered field colonies three types of prey: crickets (cooperatively transportable), shrimps (non-transportable), and different quantities of sesame seeds (individually transportable). Colonies used group recruitment to collect crickets and shrimps, as well as seeds when they were available in large piles, while small seed piles rarely led to recruitment. Foragers were able to “measure” food characteristics (quality, quantity, transportability), deciding whether or not to recruit, accordingly. Social integration of individual information about food emerged as a colony decision to initiate or to continue recruitment when the food patch was rich. In addition, group recruitment allowed a fast colony response over a wide thermal range (up to 45°C ground temperature). Therefore, by combining both advantages of social foraging (group recruitment) and thermal tolerance, A. senilis accurately exploited different types of food sources which procured an advantage against mass-recruiting and behaviorally dominant species such as Tapinoma nigerrimum and Lasius niger.
Publisher version (URL): http://www.springerlink.com/content/7615312145076705/fulltext.pdf
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10261/45443
DOI: 10.1007/s00265-008-0690-5
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