Symmetry breaking in mass-recruiting ants: extent of foraging biases depends on resource quality.

Détails

Ressource 1Télécharger: BIB_AA4F7D40130D.P001.pdf (2400.81 [Ko])
Etat: Public
Version: de l'auteur
ID Serval
serval:BIB_AA4F7D40130D
Type
Article: article d'un périodique ou d'un magazine.
Collection
Publications
Titre
Symmetry breaking in mass-recruiting ants: extent of foraging biases depends on resource quality.
Périodique
Behavioral ecology and sociobiology
Auteur(s)
Price R.I., Grüter C., Hughes W.O., Evison S.E.
ISSN
0340-5443 (Print)
ISSN-L
0340-5443
Statut éditorial
Publié
Date de publication
2016
Volume
70
Numéro
11
Pages
1813-1820
Langue
anglais
Notes
Publication types: Journal Article
Publication Status: ppublish
Résumé
The communication involved in the foraging behaviour of social insects is integral to their success. Many ant species use trail pheromones to make decisions about where to forage. The strong positive feedback caused by the trail pheromone is thought to create a decision between two or more options. When the two options are of identical quality, this is known as symmetry breaking, and is important because it helps colonies to monopolise food sources in a competitive environment. Symmetry breaking is thought to increase with the quantity of pheromone deposited by ants, but empirical studies exploring the factors affecting symmetry breaking are limited. Here, we tested if (i) greater disparity between two food sources increased the degree to which a higher quality food source is favoured and (ii) if the quality of identical food sources would affect the degree of symmetry breaking that occurs. Using the mass-recruiting Pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis, we carried out binary choice tests to investigate how food quality affects the choice and distribution of colony foraging decisions. We found that colonies could coordinate foraging to exploit food sources of greater quality, and a greater contrast in quality between the food sources created a stronger collective decision. Contrary to prediction, we found that symmetry breaking decreased as the quality of two identical food sources increased. We discuss how stochastic effects might lead to relatively strong differences in the amount of pheromone on alternative routes when food source quality is low.
Pheromones used by social insects should guide a colony via positive feedback to distribute colony members at resources in the most adaptive way given the current environment. This study shows that when food resources are of equal quality, Pharaoh ant foragers distribute themselves more evenly if the two food sources are both of high quality compared to if both are of low quality. The results highlight the way in which individual ants can modulate their response to pheromone trails which may lead colonies to exploiting resources more evenly when in a resource rich environment.

Mots-clé
Colony organisation, Foraging, Monomorium pharaonis, Symmetry breaking, Trail pheromones
Pubmed
Open Access
Oui
Création de la notice
03/11/2016 9:24
Dernière modification de la notice
20/08/2019 16:14
Données d'usage