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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

Predicted increase of the number of transporter ants of our model (solid line) to the data given by an empirical study (dots: data redrawn from Pratt [60].Our model and the empirical study show an increase from 0 to approx. 10–12 ants over 30 minutes of the experimental run.
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pone-0114611-g007: Predicted increase of the number of transporter ants of our model (solid line) to the data given by an empirical study (dots: data redrawn from Pratt [60].Our model and the empirical study show an increase from 0 to approx. 10–12 ants over 30 minutes of the experimental run.

Mentions: In order to further validate the parameters of our model, we compared our model predictions to another set of empirical data [60]. To perform this analysis, we initialized our model without initial stingers and transporters (S(0) = T(0) = 0 ants), no prey and corpse influx (prey items/min), no initial prey items P(0) = 0 prey items) and with 100 corpses in the environment (C(0) = 100 prey items). The colony size was set to nColony = 120 ants and all other parameters were set to their basic value (Table 1). The model, similar to the findings of Pratt [60], predicts an increase of transporters in the system approaching 10 transporter ants after 30 minutes of runtime (Fig. 7). It noteworthy that this set of empirical data was neither used for building our model, nor was it used for comparison/validation of the previously published model by Theraulaz et al. [38].


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)

Predicted increase of the number of transporter ants of our model (solid line) to the data given by an empirical study (dots: data redrawn from Pratt [60].Our model and the empirical study show an increase from 0 to approx. 10–12 ants over 30 minutes of the experimental run.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0114611-g007: Predicted increase of the number of transporter ants of our model (solid line) to the data given by an empirical study (dots: data redrawn from Pratt [60].Our model and the empirical study show an increase from 0 to approx. 10–12 ants over 30 minutes of the experimental run.
Mentions: In order to further validate the parameters of our model, we compared our model predictions to another set of empirical data [60]. To perform this analysis, we initialized our model without initial stingers and transporters (S(0) = T(0) = 0 ants), no prey and corpse influx (prey items/min), no initial prey items P(0) = 0 prey items) and with 100 corpses in the environment (C(0) = 100 prey items). The colony size was set to nColony = 120 ants and all other parameters were set to their basic value (Table 1). The model, similar to the findings of Pratt [60], predicts an increase of transporters in the system approaching 10 transporter ants after 30 minutes of runtime (Fig. 7). It noteworthy that this set of empirical data was neither used for building our model, nor was it used for comparison/validation of the previously published model by Theraulaz et al. [38].

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