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Selection and spatial arrangement of building materials during the construction of nest turrets by grass-cutting ants

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-230458
  • Ants build complex nest structures by reacting to simple, local stimuli. While underground nests result from the space generated by digging, some leaf- and grass-cutting ants also construct conspicuous aboveground turrets around nest openings. We investigated whether the selection of specific building materials occurs during turret construction in Acromyrmex fracticornis grass-cutting ants, and asked whether single building decisions at the beginning can modify the final turret architecture. To quantify workers' material selection, the originalAnts build complex nest structures by reacting to simple, local stimuli. While underground nests result from the space generated by digging, some leaf- and grass-cutting ants also construct conspicuous aboveground turrets around nest openings. We investigated whether the selection of specific building materials occurs during turret construction in Acromyrmex fracticornis grass-cutting ants, and asked whether single building decisions at the beginning can modify the final turret architecture. To quantify workers' material selection, the original nest turret was removed and a choice between two artificial building materials, thin and thick sticks, was offered for rebuilding. Workers preferred thick sticks at the very beginning of turret construction, showed varying preferences thereafter, and changed to prefer thin sticks for the upper, final part of the turret, indicating that they selected different building materials over time to create a stable structure. The impact of a single building choice on turret architecture was evaluated by placing artificial beams that divided a colony's nest entrance at the beginning of turret rebuilding. Splitting the nest entrance led to the self-organized construction of turrets with branched galleries ending in multiple openings, showing that the spatial location of a single building material can strongly influence turret morphology.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author: Daniela RömerORCiD, Marcela I. CosarinskyORCiD, Flavio RocesORCiD
URN:urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-230458
Document Type:Journal article
Faculties:Fakultät für Biologie / Theodor-Boveri-Institut für Biowissenschaften
Language:English
Parent Title (English):Royal Society Open Science
Year of Completion:2020
Volume:7
Article Number:201312
Source:Royal Society Open Science 2020 7: 201312. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.201312
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.201312
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Tag:Acromyrmex fracticornis; behavioural plasticity; collective building; leaf-cutting ants; quantitative stigmergy; self-organization
Release Date:2021/04/20
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY: Creative-Commons-Lizenz: Namensnennung 4.0 International