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Sting, Carry and Stock: How Corpse Availability Can Regulate De-Centralized Task Allocation in a Ponerine Ant Colony.

Schmickl T, Karsai I - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: The common stomach is able to establish and to keep stabilized an effective mix of workforce to exploit the prey population and to transport food into the nest.The model is compared to previously published models that followed a different modeling approach.Based on our model analysis we also suggest a series of experiments for which our model gives plausible predictions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Zoology, Karl-Franzens-University, Graz, Austria.

ABSTRACT
We develop a model to produce plausible patterns of task partitioning in the ponerine ant Ectatomma ruidum based on the availability of living prey and prey corpses. The model is based on the organizational capabilities of a "common stomach" through which the colony utilizes the availability of a natural (food) substance as a major communication channel to regulate the income and expenditure of the very same substance. This communication channel has also a central role in regulating task partitioning of collective hunting behavior in a supply&demand-driven manner. Our model shows that task partitioning of the collective hunting behavior in E. ruidum can be explained by regulation due to a common stomach system. The saturation of the common stomach provides accessible information to individual ants so that they can adjust their hunting behavior accordingly by engaging in or by abandoning from stinging or transporting tasks. The common stomach is able to establish and to keep stabilized an effective mix of workforce to exploit the prey population and to transport food into the nest. This system is also able to react to external perturbations in a de-centralized homeostatic way, such as to changes in the prey density or to accumulation of food in the nest. In case of stable conditions the system develops towards an equilibrium concerning colony size and prey density. Our model shows that organization of work through a common stomach system can allow Ectatomma ruidum to collectively forage for food in a robust, reactive and reliable way. The model is compared to previously published models that followed a different modeling approach. Based on our model analysis we also suggest a series of experiments for which our model gives plausible predictions. These predictions are used to formulate a set of testable hypotheses that should be investigated empirically in future experimentation.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

The predicted colony reactions to a small number of prey (P(0) = 80) provided at the start of the experiment without further prey influx leads to a pulsed response of the colony.Our model predictions show a striking similarity to empirical data of a comparable experiment described in Theraulaz et al. [38] and Schatz et al. [37]. Left figure: Solid line: S, dashed line: U; dotted line: T. Middle figure: Solid line: P, dashed line: C; dotted line: N. Right figure: Solid line: , dashed line: ; dotted line: .
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pone-0114611-g005: The predicted colony reactions to a small number of prey (P(0) = 80) provided at the start of the experiment without further prey influx leads to a pulsed response of the colony.Our model predictions show a striking similarity to empirical data of a comparable experiment described in Theraulaz et al. [38] and Schatz et al. [37]. Left figure: Solid line: S, dashed line: U; dotted line: T. Middle figure: Solid line: P, dashed line: C; dotted line: N. Right figure: Solid line: , dashed line: ; dotted line: .

Mentions: In a different setting, Theraulaz et al. [38] showed that when the authors supplied only a small number of prey to a colony without any steady influx/immigration of prey, the colony reacted with a quick peak of foraging activity. Soon after that the environment was depleted from prey and this in turn led to a cessation of foraging activities. Our model predicts similar collective behaviors (Fig. 5) when parameterized with P(0) = 80, C(0) = 0, N(0) = 0, S(0) = 0, T(0) = 0, U(0) = nColony = 130 ants, prey/min, other parameters were set as it is shown in Table 1. In case of such a small colony size and artificial prey influx it is unclear how the nest saturation can affect the foraging at short timescales. Thus, we practically eliminated these nest-saturation effects from our runs by setting KNest = 2 and .


Sting, Carry and Stock: How Corpse Availability Can Regulate De-Centralized Task Allocation in a Ponerine Ant Colony.

Schmickl T, Karsai I - PLoS ONE (2014)

The predicted colony reactions to a small number of prey (P(0) = 80) provided at the start of the experiment without further prey influx leads to a pulsed response of the colony.Our model predictions show a striking similarity to empirical data of a comparable experiment described in Theraulaz et al. [38] and Schatz et al. [37]. Left figure: Solid line: S, dashed line: U; dotted line: T. Middle figure: Solid line: P, dashed line: C; dotted line: N. Right figure: Solid line: , dashed line: ; dotted line: .
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4262436&req=5

pone-0114611-g005: The predicted colony reactions to a small number of prey (P(0) = 80) provided at the start of the experiment without further prey influx leads to a pulsed response of the colony.Our model predictions show a striking similarity to empirical data of a comparable experiment described in Theraulaz et al. [38] and Schatz et al. [37]. Left figure: Solid line: S, dashed line: U; dotted line: T. Middle figure: Solid line: P, dashed line: C; dotted line: N. Right figure: Solid line: , dashed line: ; dotted line: .
Mentions: In a different setting, Theraulaz et al. [38] showed that when the authors supplied only a small number of prey to a colony without any steady influx/immigration of prey, the colony reacted with a quick peak of foraging activity. Soon after that the environment was depleted from prey and this in turn led to a cessation of foraging activities. Our model predicts similar collective behaviors (Fig. 5) when parameterized with P(0) = 80, C(0) = 0, N(0) = 0, S(0) = 0, T(0) = 0, U(0) = nColony = 130 ants, prey/min, other parameters were set as it is shown in Table 1. In case of such a small colony size and artificial prey influx it is unclear how the nest saturation can affect the foraging at short timescales. Thus, we practically eliminated these nest-saturation effects from our runs by setting KNest = 2 and .

Bottom Line: The common stomach is able to establish and to keep stabilized an effective mix of workforce to exploit the prey population and to transport food into the nest.The model is compared to previously published models that followed a different modeling approach.Based on our model analysis we also suggest a series of experiments for which our model gives plausible predictions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Zoology, Karl-Franzens-University, Graz, Austria.

ABSTRACT
We develop a model to produce plausible patterns of task partitioning in the ponerine ant Ectatomma ruidum based on the availability of living prey and prey corpses. The model is based on the organizational capabilities of a "common stomach" through which the colony utilizes the availability of a natural (food) substance as a major communication channel to regulate the income and expenditure of the very same substance. This communication channel has also a central role in regulating task partitioning of collective hunting behavior in a supply&demand-driven manner. Our model shows that task partitioning of the collective hunting behavior in E. ruidum can be explained by regulation due to a common stomach system. The saturation of the common stomach provides accessible information to individual ants so that they can adjust their hunting behavior accordingly by engaging in or by abandoning from stinging or transporting tasks. The common stomach is able to establish and to keep stabilized an effective mix of workforce to exploit the prey population and to transport food into the nest. This system is also able to react to external perturbations in a de-centralized homeostatic way, such as to changes in the prey density or to accumulation of food in the nest. In case of stable conditions the system develops towards an equilibrium concerning colony size and prey density. Our model shows that organization of work through a common stomach system can allow Ectatomma ruidum to collectively forage for food in a robust, reactive and reliable way. The model is compared to previously published models that followed a different modeling approach. Based on our model analysis we also suggest a series of experiments for which our model gives plausible predictions. These predictions are used to formulate a set of testable hypotheses that should be investigated empirically in future experimentation.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus