Age Polyethism in Atta sexdens (Linnaeus) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Fabrícia Gonçalves Lacerda, Leandro Sousa-Souto, Terezinha Maria Castro Della Lucia, Danival José de Souza

Abstract


This study aimed to verify age polyethism occurrence in medium-sized (cephalic capsule = 2.3 ± 0.21 mm) and small-sized (cc = 1.4 ± 0.10 mm) workers from Atta sexdens (Linnaeus) colonies. Four laboratory colonies were used, and they were maintained at 25 ± 2 °C, with 75 ± 3% relative humidity and a 12-hour photoperiod. Workers from these colonies were marked after their emergence and observed throughout their lifetime to determine which tasks they performed. The number of ants performing each activity was analyzed using linear mixed-effect models (LME), considering the temporal effect and the block design (colonies). We found that fungal garden maintenance tasks were frequent for both sizes, but their occurrence decreased significantly from the ninth week. The foraging activity occurred gradually in both sizes, with stabilization in the number of workers from the fourth week onwards and declined in the last three weeks of lifespan. Waste management tasks occurred throughout life but were more frequent during the first two weeks of life, in both medium and small workers. Therefore, age polyethism may be related to all activities; however, foraging tasks presented a distinct pattern compared to tasks in the fungus garden and refuse dump, where younger ants were more frequently observed.


Keywords


Brood; leaf-cutting ant; foraging; fungus garden; waste

Full Text:

PDF

References


Ballari, S., Farji-Brener, A.G. & Tadey, M. (2007). Waste management in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex lobicornis: Division of labour, aggressive behaviour, and location of external refuse dumps. Journal of Insect Behavior, 20: 87-98. doi: 10.1007/s10905-006-9065-9

Bot, A. N. M., Currie, C. R., Hart, A. G. & Boomsma, J. (2001). Waste management in leaf-cutting ants. Ethology, Ecology and Evolution, 13: 225-237. doi: 10.1080/08927014.2001.9522772

Calabi, P., Traniello, J.F.A. & Werner, M.H. (1983). Age polyethism: its occurrence in the ant Pheidole hortensis, and some general considerations. Psyche, 90 : 395-412. doi : 10.11 55/1983/57061

Camargo, R.S., Forti, L.C., Lopes, J.F.S., Andrade, A.P.P. & Ottati, A.L.T. (2007). Age polyethism in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex subterraneus brunneus Forel, 1911 (Hym., Formicidae). Journal of Applied Entomology, 131: 139-145. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0418.2006.01129.x

Crawley, M.J. (2012). The R Book. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.br/books?id=XYDl0mlH-moC

Cremer, S., Armitage, S.A. & Schmid-Hempel, P. (2007). Social immunity. Current Biology, 17: R693-702. doi: 10.1016/ j.cub.2007.06.008

Currie, C.R., Scott, J.A., Summerbell, R.C. & Malloch, D. (1999). Fungus-growing ants use antibiotic-producing bacteria to control garden parasites. Nature, 398: 701-704. doi: 10.1038/19519

Dângelo, R.A.C., de Souza, D.J., Mendes, T.D., Couceiro, J. da C. & Lucia, T.M.C. Della. (2016). Actinomycetes inhibit filamentous fungi from the cuticle of Acromyrmex leafcutter ants. Journal of Basic Microbiology, 56: 229-237. doi: 10.1002/jobm.201500593

Hart, A.G., & Ratnieks, F.L.W. (2002). Waste management in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica. Behavioral Ecology, 13: 224-231. doi: 10.1093/beheco/13.2.224

Hughes, W.O.H., Thomsen, L., Eilenberg, J. & Boomsma, J.J. (2004). Diversity of entomopathogenic fungi near leaf-cutting ant nests in a neotropical forest, with particular reference to Metarhizium anisopliae var. anisopliae. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 85: 46-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2003.12.005

Julian, G.E. & Fewell, J.H. (2004). Genetic variation and task specialization in the desert leafcutter ant, Acromyrmex versicolor. Animal Behaviour, 68: 1-8. doi: 10.1016/janbehav. 2003.06.023

Kolmes, S.A. (1986). Age polyethism in worker honey bees. Ethology, 68: 252-255. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0310.1986.tb00589.x

Lacerda, F.G, Della Lucia, T.M.C., Lima, E.R., Campos, L.A.O. & Pereira, O.L. (2006). Waste management by workers of Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in colonies supplied with different substrates. Sociobiology, 48: 165-173.

Lacerda, Fabrícia G, Della Lucia, T.M.C., DeSouza, O., de Souza, L.M. & de Souza, D.J. (2013). Task performance of midden workers of Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Insect Behavior, 26: 873-880. doi: 10.10 07/s10905-013-9403-7

Mattoso, T.C., Moreira, D.D.O. & Samuels, R.I. (2012). Symbiotic bacteria on the cuticle of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus protect workers from attack by entomopathogenic fungi. Biology Letters, 8: 461-464. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0963

Miguel, T.B. & Del-Claro, K. (2005). Polietismo etário e repertório comportamental de Ectatomma opaciventre Roger, 1861 (Formicidae, Ponerinae). Revista Brasileira de Zoociências, 7: 297-310.

Ortiz, A. & Orduz, S. (2001). In vitro evaluation of Trichoderma and Gliocladium antagonism against the symbiotic fungus of the leaf-cutting ant Atta cephalotes. Mycopathologia, 150: 53-60. doi: 10.1023/a:1010843413085

Peixoto, A.V, Campiolo, S., Lemes, T.N., Delabie, J.H.C. & Hora, R.R. (2008). Comportamento e estrutura reprodutiva da formiga Dinoponera lucida Emery (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Revista Brasileira de Entomologia, 52: 88-94. doi: 10.1590/S0085-56262008000100016

Poulsen, M., Bot, A.N., Nielsen, M.G. & Boomsma, J.J. (2002). Experimental evidence for the costs and hygienic significance of the antibiotic metapleural gland secretion in leaf-cutting ants. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 52: 151-157. doi: 10.1007/s00265-002-0489-8

Santana Vieira, A., Desidério Fernandes, W. & Antonialli-Junior, W.F. (2010). Temporal polyethism, life expectancy, and entropy of workers of the ant Ectatomma vizottoi Almeida, 1987 (Formicidae: Ectatomminae). Acta Ethologica, 13: 23-31. doi: 10.1007/s10211-010-0069-2

Santos, C.G., Blochtein, B., Megiolaro, F.L. & Imperatriz-Fonseca, V.L. (2010). Age polyethism in Plebeia emerina (Friese) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies related to propolis handling. Neotropical Entomology, 39: 691-696. doi: 10.1590/ S1519-566X2010000500003.

Schmid-Hempel, P. (1998). Parasites in social insects. Princeton University Press.

Schofield, R.M.S., Emmett, K.D., Niedbala, J.C. & Nesson, M.H. (2011). Leaf-cutter ants with worn mandibles cut half as fast, spend twice the energy, and tend to carry instead of cut. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 65: 969-982. doi: 10.1007/s00265-010-1098-6

Sen, R., Ishak, H.D., Estrada, D., Dowd, S.E., Hong, E. & Mueller, U.G. (2009). Generalized antifungal activity and 454-screening of Pseudonocardia and Amycolatopsis bacteria in nests of fungus-growing ants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106: 17805-17810. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0904827106

Waddington, S. J., Santorelli, L.A., Ryan, F.R. & Hughes, W.O.H. (2010). Genetic polyethism in leaf-cutting ants. Behavioral Ecology, 21:1165-1169. doi: 10.1093/beheco/arq128

Wang, D.I. & Mofller, F.E. (1970). The division of labor and queen attendance behavior of nosema-infected worker honey bees. Journal of Economic Entomology, 63: 1539-1541. doi: 10.1093/jee/63.5.1539

Wilson, E.O. (1971). The Insect Societies. Cambridge: Belknap Press. 562 p.

Wilson, Edward O. (1980). Caste and division of labor in leafcutter ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Atta). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 7: 157-165.

Yanagihara, S., Suehiro, W., Mitaka, Y. & Matsuura, K. (2018). Age-based soldier polyethism: old termite soldiers take more risks than young soldiers. Biology Letters, 14: 20180025. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0025




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v67i4.5081

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


JOURNAL METRICS

 

JCR Impact Factor (2019): 0.690

JCR 5-year Impact Factor (2019): 0.846

Google Scholar h5-index (Insects and Arthropods journals): 12 

Scimago h-index (whole journal circulation period): 37         

Scopus CiteScore (2016-2019): 0.90

Mean time for editorial decision (2020): 78 days

Mean time for article publication (2020): 171 days

 

Sociobiology is indexed in the following databases: