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An overlooked mandibular-rubbing behavior used during recruitment by the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda.

Roux O, Billen J, Orivel J, Dejean A - PLoS ONE (2010)

Bottom Line: We demonstrate that this behavior is used to recruit nestmates.Its frequency varies with the rate at which a new territory, a sugary food source, a prey item, or an alien ant are discovered.So, by rubbing their mandibles onto the substrate, the workers probably spread a secretion from these glands that is involved in nestmate recruitment.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique: Unité Mixte de Recherche, Kourou, France. oroux@cict.fr

ABSTRACT
In Oecophylla, an ant genus comprising two territorially dominant arboreal species, workers are known to (1) use anal spots to mark their territories, (2) drag their gaster along the substrate to deposit short-range recruitment trails, and (3) drag the extruded rectal gland along the substrate to deposit the trails used in long-range recruitment. Here we study an overlooked but important marking behavior in which O. longinoda workers first rub the underside of their mandibles onto the substrate, and then--in a surprising posture--tilt their head and also rub the upper side of their mandibles. We demonstrate that this behavior is used to recruit nestmates. Its frequency varies with the rate at which a new territory, a sugary food source, a prey item, or an alien ant are discovered. Microscopy analyses showed that both the upper side and the underside of the mandibles possess pores linked to secretory glands. So, by rubbing their mandibles onto the substrate, the workers probably spread a secretion from these glands that is involved in nestmate recruitment.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Effects of the introduction of honey, prey, or alien ants on the intensity of the marking behavior.Number of workers that marked territories (A) and number of markings (B) 10 minutes before (left) and 10 minutes after (right) the introduction of honey, prey or alien ants. The box plots indicate the median (wide horizontal bars), the 25th and 75th percentiles (squares), and the minimum and maximum values (whiskers). Statistical comparisons 10 minutes before (left bars) and 10 minutes after (right bars) the introduction of honey, prey or an alien individual were made using glmm; *** = P<0.001. Comparisons between treatments after the introduction of food items were made using glmm (different letters indicate significant differences at least at P<0.01).
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pone-0008957-g002: Effects of the introduction of honey, prey, or alien ants on the intensity of the marking behavior.Number of workers that marked territories (A) and number of markings (B) 10 minutes before (left) and 10 minutes after (right) the introduction of honey, prey or alien ants. The box plots indicate the median (wide horizontal bars), the 25th and 75th percentiles (squares), and the minimum and maximum values (whiskers). Statistical comparisons 10 minutes before (left bars) and 10 minutes after (right bars) the introduction of honey, prey or an alien individual were made using glmm; *** = P<0.001. Comparisons between treatments after the introduction of food items were made using glmm (different letters indicate significant differences at least at P<0.01).

Mentions: During the first series of experiments we noted that the number of marking workers increased significantly after we deposited honey, prey or alien ants on the tested area (z = 5.303, 6.536 and 5.555, respectively; P<0.001 in all cases); (Fig. 2A). The number of markings followed the same pattern (z = 9.258, 13.613 and 13.254, respectively; P<0.001 in all cases); (Fig. 2B). Furthermore, the introduction of prey resulted in a greater number of workers that mark than did the introduction of honey (z = 3.154; P = 0.0016), while the comparisons between honey and alien ants, or prey and alien ants resulted in non-significant differences (z = −1.757 and 1.219, respectively); (Fig. 2A). The number of times the workers marked was, however, significantly different in each case with a greater difference between honey and an alien ant and honey and a prey (z = −9.784 and 12.797, respectively; P<0.001 in both cases) than between an alien ant and a prey (z = 2.574; P = 0.01) (Fig. 2B). Note that the number of markings per worker increased significantly after we deposited honey, prey or alien ants on the tested area (z = 6.094, 8.452 and 7.473, respectively; P<0.001 in all cases).


An overlooked mandibular-rubbing behavior used during recruitment by the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda.

Roux O, Billen J, Orivel J, Dejean A - PLoS ONE (2010)

Effects of the introduction of honey, prey, or alien ants on the intensity of the marking behavior.Number of workers that marked territories (A) and number of markings (B) 10 minutes before (left) and 10 minutes after (right) the introduction of honey, prey or alien ants. The box plots indicate the median (wide horizontal bars), the 25th and 75th percentiles (squares), and the minimum and maximum values (whiskers). Statistical comparisons 10 minutes before (left bars) and 10 minutes after (right bars) the introduction of honey, prey or an alien individual were made using glmm; *** = P<0.001. Comparisons between treatments after the introduction of food items were made using glmm (different letters indicate significant differences at least at P<0.01).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2813860&req=5

pone-0008957-g002: Effects of the introduction of honey, prey, or alien ants on the intensity of the marking behavior.Number of workers that marked territories (A) and number of markings (B) 10 minutes before (left) and 10 minutes after (right) the introduction of honey, prey or alien ants. The box plots indicate the median (wide horizontal bars), the 25th and 75th percentiles (squares), and the minimum and maximum values (whiskers). Statistical comparisons 10 minutes before (left bars) and 10 minutes after (right bars) the introduction of honey, prey or an alien individual were made using glmm; *** = P<0.001. Comparisons between treatments after the introduction of food items were made using glmm (different letters indicate significant differences at least at P<0.01).
Mentions: During the first series of experiments we noted that the number of marking workers increased significantly after we deposited honey, prey or alien ants on the tested area (z = 5.303, 6.536 and 5.555, respectively; P<0.001 in all cases); (Fig. 2A). The number of markings followed the same pattern (z = 9.258, 13.613 and 13.254, respectively; P<0.001 in all cases); (Fig. 2B). Furthermore, the introduction of prey resulted in a greater number of workers that mark than did the introduction of honey (z = 3.154; P = 0.0016), while the comparisons between honey and alien ants, or prey and alien ants resulted in non-significant differences (z = −1.757 and 1.219, respectively); (Fig. 2A). The number of times the workers marked was, however, significantly different in each case with a greater difference between honey and an alien ant and honey and a prey (z = −9.784 and 12.797, respectively; P<0.001 in both cases) than between an alien ant and a prey (z = 2.574; P = 0.01) (Fig. 2B). Note that the number of markings per worker increased significantly after we deposited honey, prey or alien ants on the tested area (z = 6.094, 8.452 and 7.473, respectively; P<0.001 in all cases).

Bottom Line: We demonstrate that this behavior is used to recruit nestmates.Its frequency varies with the rate at which a new territory, a sugary food source, a prey item, or an alien ant are discovered.So, by rubbing their mandibles onto the substrate, the workers probably spread a secretion from these glands that is involved in nestmate recruitment.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique: Unité Mixte de Recherche, Kourou, France. oroux@cict.fr

ABSTRACT
In Oecophylla, an ant genus comprising two territorially dominant arboreal species, workers are known to (1) use anal spots to mark their territories, (2) drag their gaster along the substrate to deposit short-range recruitment trails, and (3) drag the extruded rectal gland along the substrate to deposit the trails used in long-range recruitment. Here we study an overlooked but important marking behavior in which O. longinoda workers first rub the underside of their mandibles onto the substrate, and then--in a surprising posture--tilt their head and also rub the upper side of their mandibles. We demonstrate that this behavior is used to recruit nestmates. Its frequency varies with the rate at which a new territory, a sugary food source, a prey item, or an alien ant are discovered. Microscopy analyses showed that both the upper side and the underside of the mandibles possess pores linked to secretory glands. So, by rubbing their mandibles onto the substrate, the workers probably spread a secretion from these glands that is involved in nestmate recruitment.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus