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The construction of ventilation turrets in Atta vollenweideri leaf-cutting ants: Carbon dioxide levels in the nest tunnels, but not airflow or air humidity, influence turret structure

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-159133
  • Nest ventilation in the leaf-cutting ant Atta vollenweideri is driven via a wind-induced mechanism. On their nests, workers construct small turrets that are expected to facilitate nest ventilation. We hypothesized that the construction and structural features of the turrets would depend on the colony’s current demands for ventilation and thus might be influenced by the prevailing environmental conditions inside the nest. Therefore, we tested whether climate-related parameters, namely airflow, air humidity and CO\(_{2}\) levels in the outflowingNest ventilation in the leaf-cutting ant Atta vollenweideri is driven via a wind-induced mechanism. On their nests, workers construct small turrets that are expected to facilitate nest ventilation. We hypothesized that the construction and structural features of the turrets would depend on the colony’s current demands for ventilation and thus might be influenced by the prevailing environmental conditions inside the nest. Therefore, we tested whether climate-related parameters, namely airflow, air humidity and CO\(_{2}\) levels in the outflowing nest air influenced turret construction in Atta vollenweideri. In the laboratory, we simulated a semi-natural nest arrangement with fungus chambers, a central ventilation tunnel providing outflow of air and an aboveground building arena for turret construction. In independent series, different climatic conditions inside the ventilation tunnel were experimentally generated, and after 24 hours, several features of the built turret were quantified, i.e., mass, height, number and surface area (aperture) of turret openings. Turret mass and height were similar in all experiments even when no airflow was provided in the ventilation tunnel. However, elevated CO\(_{2}\) levels led to the construction of a turret with several minor openings and a larger total aperture. This effect was statistically significant at higher CO\(_{2}\) levels of 5% and 10% but not at 1% CO\(_{2}\). The construction of a turret with several minor openings did not depend on the strong differences in CO\(_{2}\) levels between the outflowing and the outside air, since workers also built permeated turrets even when the CO\(_{2}\) levels inside and outside were both similarly high. We propose that the construction of turrets with several openings and larger opening surface area might facilitate the removal of CO\(_{2}\) from the underground nest structure and could therefore be involved in the control of nest climate in leaf-cutting ants.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author: Florian Halboth, Flavio Roces
URN:urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-159133
Document Type:Journal article
Faculties:Fakultät für Biologie / Theodor-Boveri-Institut für Biowissenschaften
Language:English
Parent Title (English):PLoS ONE
Year of Completion:2017
Volume:12
Issue:11
Pagenumber:e0188162
Source:PLoS ONE 12 (11): e0188162 (2017). DOI: 10.1371/journal. pone.0188162
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0188162
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 595 Arthropoden (Gliederfüßer)
Tag:animal sociality; ants; carbon dioxide; fungal structure; fungi; humidity; nesting habits; social systems
Release Date:2018/03/27
Collections:Open-Access-Publikationsfonds / Förderzeitraum 2017
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY: Creative-Commons-Lizenz: Namensnennung 4.0 International