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Authors: Glaser, Simone Monika
Feitosa, Rodrigo Machado
Koch, A.
Goß, N.
Nascimento, Fabio Santos do
Grüter, Christoph
Title: Tandem communication improves ant foraging success in a highly competitive tropical habitat
Online publication date: 27-Jun-2022
Language: english
Abstract: Tropical ants experience intense intra- and interspecific competition for food sources, which influences their activity pattern and foraging strategies. Even though different ant species can coexist through spatial and temporal niche partitioning, direct competition for food cannot be avoided. Recruitment communication is assumed to help colonies to monopolize and exploit food sources successfully, but this has rarely been tested under field conditions. We studied if recruitment communication helps colonies of the Neotropical ant Pachycondyla harpax to be more successful in a highly competitive tropical environment. Additionally, we explored if temporal and spatial niche differentiation helps focal colonies to avoid competition. Pachycondyla harpax competed with dozens of ant species for food. Mass-recruiting competitors were often successful in displacing P. harpax from food baits. However, when foragers of P. harpax were able to recruit nestmates they had a 4-times higher probability to keep access to the food baits. Colonies were unlikely to be displaced during our observations after a few ants arrived at the food source. Competition was more intense after sunset, but a disproportionate increase in activity after sunset allowed focal colonies to exploit food sources more successfully after sunset. Our results support the hypothesis that recruitment communication helps colonies to monopolize food sources by helping them to establish a critical mass of nestmates at large resources. This indicates that even species with a small colony size and a slow recruitment method, such as tandem running, benefit from recruitment communication in a competitive environment.
DDC: 570 Biowissenschaften
570 Life sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 10 Biologie
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Insectes sociaux
Pages or article number: 161
Publisher: Springer International Publishing AG
Publisher place: Cham (ZG)
Issue date: 2021
ISSN: 1420-9098
Publisher DOI: 10.1007/s00040-021-00810-y
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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