• search hit 1419 of 1507
Back to Result List

Saving the injured: Rescue behavior in the termite-hunting ant Megaponera analis

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-157933
  • Predators of highly defensive prey likely develop cost-reducing adaptations. The ant Megaponera analis is a specialized termite predator, solely raiding termites of the subfamily Macrotermitinae (in this study, mostly colonies of Pseudocanthotermes sp.) at their foraging sites. The evolutionary arms race between termites and ants led to various defensive mechanisms in termites (for example, a caste specialized in fighting predators). Because M. analis incurs high injury/mortality risks when preying on termites, some risk-mitigating adaptationsPredators of highly defensive prey likely develop cost-reducing adaptations. The ant Megaponera analis is a specialized termite predator, solely raiding termites of the subfamily Macrotermitinae (in this study, mostly colonies of Pseudocanthotermes sp.) at their foraging sites. The evolutionary arms race between termites and ants led to various defensive mechanisms in termites (for example, a caste specialized in fighting predators). Because M. analis incurs high injury/mortality risks when preying on termites, some risk-mitigating adaptations seem likely to have evolved. We show that a unique rescue behavior in M. analis, consisting of injured nestmates being carried back to the nest, reduces combat mortality. After a fight, injured ants are carried back by their nestmates; these ants have usually lost an extremity or have termites clinging to them and are able to recover within the nest. Injured ants that are forced experimentally to return without help, die in 32% of the cases. Behavioral experiments show that two compounds, dimethyl disulfide and dimethyl trisulfide, present in the mandibular gland reservoirs, trigger the rescue behavior. A model accounting for this rescue behavior identifies the drivers favoring its evolution and estimates that rescuing enables maintenance of a 28.7% larger colony size. Our results are the first to explore experimentally the adaptive value of this form of rescue behavior focused on injured nestmates in social insects and help us to identify evolutionary drivers responsible for this type of behavior to evolve in animals.show moreshow less

Download full text files

Export metadata

Additional Services

Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar Statistics
Metadaten
Author: Erik Thomas Frank, Thomas Schmitt, Thomas Hovestadt, Oliver Mitesser, Jonas Stiegler, Karl Eduard Linsenmair
URN:urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-157933
Document Type:Journal article
Faculties:Fakultät für Biologie / Theodor-Boveri-Institut für Biowissenschaften
Language:English
Parent Title (English):Science Advances
Year of Completion:2017
Volume:3
Issue:4
Pagenumber:e1602187
Source:Science Advances 2017;3(4):e1602187. DOI: DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602187
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1602187
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 595 Arthropoden (Gliederfüßer)
Tag:Megaponera analis; rescue behavior
Release Date:2018/02/26
Collections:Open-Access-Publikationsfonds / Förderzeitraum 2017
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY: Creative-Commons-Lizenz: Namensnennung 4.0 International