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Substrate Temperature Constrains Recruitment and Trail Following Behavior in Ants

AuthorsVan Oudenhove, Louise; Boulay, Raphaël; Lenoir, Alain; Berterstein, C.; Cerdá, Xim
Issue Date2012
PublisherKluwer Academic Publishers
CitationJournal of Chemical Ecology 38: 802- 809 (2012)
AbstractIn many ant species, foragers use pheromones to communicate the location of resources to nestmates. Mass-recruiting species deposit long-lasting anonymous chemical trails, while group-recruiting species use temporary chemical trails. We studied how high temperature influenced the foraging behavior of a mass-recruiting species (Tapinoma nigerrimum) and a group-recruiting species (Aphaenogaster senilis) through pheromone decay. First, under controlled laboratory conditions, we examined the effect of temperature on the trail pheromone of both species. A substrate, simulating soil, marked with gaster extract was heated for 10 min. at 25°, 35°, 45°, or 55 °C and offered to workers in a choice test. Heating gaster extract reduced the trail following behavior of the mass-recruiters significantly more than that of the group-recruiters. Second, analyses of the chemicals present on the substrate indicated that most T. nigerrimum gaster secretions vanished at 25 °C, and only iridodials persisted up to 55 °C. By contrast, A. senilis secretions were less volatile and resisted better to elevated temperatures to some extent. However, at 55 °C, the only chemicals that persisted were nonadecene and nonadecane. Overall, our results suggest that the foraging behavior of the group-recruiting species A. senilis is less affected by pheromone evaporation than that of the mass-recruiting species T. nigerrimum. This group-recruiting species might, thus, be particularly adapted to environments with fluctuating temperatures. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s10886-012-0130-x
issn: 0098-0331
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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