Site Fidelity of Formica rufa: Micro-Scaled and Persistent Despite Disturbane (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Thomas Parmentier

Abstract


Long-term site fidelity or Ortstreue is an individual foraging strategy typical of ants exploiting stable and predictable food sources in space and time. Red wood ant workers (Formica s. str.) are central-place foragers feeding on honeydew secreted by stable aphid populations. In this field study, temporal site fidelity of Formica rufa honeydew tenders was investigated on a micro-scaled level for a period of time. Additionally, the effect of exchanging honeydew workers between two trees on site fidelity was examined. Site fidelity of the honeydew tenders was very high and they returned repeatedly to particular micro-sites (branches, set of leaves) on a tree. The transfer to a new feeding site apparently did not influence site fidelity as honeydew tenders mainly return to their initial tree. Small-scale site fidelity decreased with time and was not so rigid as larger-scale fidelity. We discuss how site fidelity on one hand and flexibility in foraging and recruiting on the other hand promote foraging efficiency of the colony.


Keywords


site fidelity; Ortstreue; foraging behavior; ant; Formica rufa.

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v59i4.892

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