Saving the injured: Rescue behavior in the termite-hunting ant Megaponera analis

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Ressource 1Télécharger: Frank et al (2017).pdf (420.79 [Ko])
Etat: Public
Version: Final published version
ID Serval
serval:BIB_3E80A61A08FB
Type
Article: article d'un périodique ou d'un magazine.
Collection
Publications
Titre
Saving the injured: Rescue behavior in the termite-hunting ant Megaponera analis
Périodique
Science Advances
Auteur(s)
Frank Erik Thomas, Schmitt Thomas, Hovestadt Thomas, Mitesser Oliver, Stiegler Jonas, Linsenmair Karl Eduard
ISSN
2375-2548
Statut éditorial
Publié
Date de publication
04/2017
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
3
Numéro
4
Pages
e1602187
Langue
anglais
Résumé
Predators of highly defensive prey likely develop cost-reducing adaptations. The ant Megaponera analis is a specialized termite predator, solely raiding termites of the subfamily Macrotermitinae (in this study, mostly colonies of Pseudocanthotermes sp.) at their foraging sites. The evolutionary arms race between termites and ants led to various defensive mechanisms in termites (for example, a caste specialized in fighting predators). Because M. analis incurs high injury/mortality risks when preying on termites, some risk-mitigating adaptations seem likely to have evolved. We show that a unique rescue behavior in M. analis, consisting of injured nestmates being carried back to the nest, reduces combat mortality. After a fight, injured ants are carried back by their nestmates; these ants have usually lost an extremity or have termites clinging to them and are able to recover within the nest. Injured ants that are forced experimentally to return without help, die in 32% of the cases. Behavioral experiments show that two compounds, dimethyl disulfide and dimethyl trisulfide, present in the mandibular gland reservoirs, trigger the rescue behavior. A model accounting for this rescue behavior identifies the drivers favoring its evo- lution and estimates that rescuing enables maintenance of a 28.7% larger colony size. Our results are the first to explore experimentally the adaptive value of this form of rescue behavior focused on injured nestmates in social insects and help us to identify evolutionary drivers responsible for this type of behavior to evolve in animals.
Pubmed
Web of science
Open Access
Oui
Création de la notice
06/02/2018 12:38
Dernière modification de la notice
21/08/2019 6:34
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