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Social, spatial, and temporal organization in a complex insect society.

Quevillon LE, Hanks EM, Bansal S, Hughes DP - Sci Rep (2015)

Bottom Line: High-density living is often associated with high disease risk due to density-dependent epidemic spread.When the temporal ordering of social interactions is taken into account, active foragers and inactive foragers are not observed to interact with the queen in ways that could lead to the meaningful transfer of disease.This study provides an understanding of a complex society's organization in the absence of disease that will serve as a model for future studies in which disease is explicitly introduced.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA.

ABSTRACT
High-density living is often associated with high disease risk due to density-dependent epidemic spread. Despite being paragons of high-density living, the social insects have largely decoupled the association with density-dependent epidemics. It is hypothesized that this is accomplished through prophylactic and inducible defenses termed 'collective immunity'. Here we characterise segregation of carpenter ants that would be most likely to encounter infectious agents (i.e. foragers) using integrated social, spatial, and temporal analyses. Importantly, we do this in the absence of disease to establish baseline colony organization. Behavioural and social network analyses show that active foragers engage in more trophallaxis interactions than their nest worker and queen counterparts and occupy greater area within the nest. When the temporal ordering of social interactions is taken into account, active foragers and inactive foragers are not observed to interact with the queen in ways that could lead to the meaningful transfer of disease. Furthermore, theoretical resource spread analyses show that such temporal segregation does not appear to impact the colony-wide flow of food. This study provides an understanding of a complex society's organization in the absence of disease that will serve as a model for future studies in which disease is explicitly introduced.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Trophallaxis as percentage of total ant-time budget.Barplots showing the mean percentage of total time budget for each dyadic interaction between ant functional groups over all eight nights for each colony, error bars are +/− st. dev.
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f3: Trophallaxis as percentage of total ant-time budget.Barplots showing the mean percentage of total time budget for each dyadic interaction between ant functional groups over all eight nights for each colony, error bars are +/− st. dev.

Mentions: Having calculated the ant-time for each class for each night, the percentage of each functional group’s total time-budget engaged in trophallaxis was calculated. The total duration of trophallaxis (edge weight) between two ant types provides the numerator and this is the same for both functional groups in the dyadic interaction being considered. However, the ant-time denominator varies for each type and thus the same total trophallaxis duration represents different total percentages of each group’s total time-budget available for interaction. The percentage time-budget for each dyadic interaction (for example, active forager - active forager, active forager - inactive forager, active forager -nest worker, active forager - queen) is presented in Fig. 3. For percentage of time-budget engaged in trophallaxis, refer to Table S5.


Social, spatial, and temporal organization in a complex insect society.

Quevillon LE, Hanks EM, Bansal S, Hughes DP - Sci Rep (2015)

Trophallaxis as percentage of total ant-time budget.Barplots showing the mean percentage of total time budget for each dyadic interaction between ant functional groups over all eight nights for each colony, error bars are +/− st. dev.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4547134&req=5

f3: Trophallaxis as percentage of total ant-time budget.Barplots showing the mean percentage of total time budget for each dyadic interaction between ant functional groups over all eight nights for each colony, error bars are +/− st. dev.
Mentions: Having calculated the ant-time for each class for each night, the percentage of each functional group’s total time-budget engaged in trophallaxis was calculated. The total duration of trophallaxis (edge weight) between two ant types provides the numerator and this is the same for both functional groups in the dyadic interaction being considered. However, the ant-time denominator varies for each type and thus the same total trophallaxis duration represents different total percentages of each group’s total time-budget available for interaction. The percentage time-budget for each dyadic interaction (for example, active forager - active forager, active forager - inactive forager, active forager -nest worker, active forager - queen) is presented in Fig. 3. For percentage of time-budget engaged in trophallaxis, refer to Table S5.

Bottom Line: High-density living is often associated with high disease risk due to density-dependent epidemic spread.When the temporal ordering of social interactions is taken into account, active foragers and inactive foragers are not observed to interact with the queen in ways that could lead to the meaningful transfer of disease.This study provides an understanding of a complex society's organization in the absence of disease that will serve as a model for future studies in which disease is explicitly introduced.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA.

ABSTRACT
High-density living is often associated with high disease risk due to density-dependent epidemic spread. Despite being paragons of high-density living, the social insects have largely decoupled the association with density-dependent epidemics. It is hypothesized that this is accomplished through prophylactic and inducible defenses termed 'collective immunity'. Here we characterise segregation of carpenter ants that would be most likely to encounter infectious agents (i.e. foragers) using integrated social, spatial, and temporal analyses. Importantly, we do this in the absence of disease to establish baseline colony organization. Behavioural and social network analyses show that active foragers engage in more trophallaxis interactions than their nest worker and queen counterparts and occupy greater area within the nest. When the temporal ordering of social interactions is taken into account, active foragers and inactive foragers are not observed to interact with the queen in ways that could lead to the meaningful transfer of disease. Furthermore, theoretical resource spread analyses show that such temporal segregation does not appear to impact the colony-wide flow of food. This study provides an understanding of a complex society's organization in the absence of disease that will serve as a model for future studies in which disease is explicitly introduced.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus