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Plasticity of Daily Behavioral Rhythms in Foragers and Nurses of the Ant Camponotus rufipes: Influence of Social Context and Feeding Times

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-148010
  • Daily activities within an ant colony need precise temporal organization, and an endogenous clock appears to be essential for such timing processes. A clock drives locomotor rhythms in isolated workers in a number of ant species, but its involvement in activities displayed in the social context is unknown. We compared locomotor rhythms in isolated individuals and behavioral rhythms in the social context of workers of the ant Camponotus rufipes. Both forager and nurse workers exhibited circadian rhythms in locomotor activity under constantDaily activities within an ant colony need precise temporal organization, and an endogenous clock appears to be essential for such timing processes. A clock drives locomotor rhythms in isolated workers in a number of ant species, but its involvement in activities displayed in the social context is unknown. We compared locomotor rhythms in isolated individuals and behavioral rhythms in the social context of workers of the ant Camponotus rufipes. Both forager and nurse workers exhibited circadian rhythms in locomotor activity under constant conditions, indicating the involvement of an endogenous clock. Activity was mostly nocturnal and synchronized with the 12:12h light-dark-cycle. To evaluate whether rhythmicity was maintained in the social context and could be synchronized with non-photic zeitgebers such as feeding times, daily behavioral activities of single workers inside and outside the nest were quantified continuously over 24 hours in 1656 hours of video recordings. Food availability was limited to a short time window either at day or at night, thus mimicking natural conditions of temporally restricted food access. Most foragers showed circadian foraging behavior synchronized with food availability, either at day or nighttime. When isolated thereafter in single locomotor activity monitors, foragers mainly displayed arrhythmicity. Here, high mortality suggested potential stressful effects of the former restriction of food availability. In contrast, nurse workers showed high overall activity levels in the social context and performed their tasks all around the clock with no circadian pattern, likely to meet the needs of the brood. In isolation, the same individuals exhibited in turn strong rhythmic activity and nocturnality. Thus, endogenous activity rhythms were inhibited in the social context, and timing of daily behaviors was flexibly adapted to cope with task demands. As a similar socially-mediated plasticity in circadian rhythms was already shown in honey bees, the temporal organization in C. rufipes and honey bees appear to share similar basic features.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author: Stephanie Mildner, Flavio Roces
URN:urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-148010
Document Type:Journal article
Faculties:Fakultät für Biologie / Theodor-Boveri-Institut für Biowissenschaften
Language:English
Parent Title (English):PLoS One
Year of Completion:2016
Volume:12
Issue:1
Pagenumber:e0169244
Source:PLoS ONE 12(1): e0169244. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0169244
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0169244
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 595 Arthropoden (Gliederfüßer)
Tag:ants; biological locomotion; chronobiology; circadian rhythms; foraging; honey bees; insects; nurses
Release Date:2017/06/09
Collections:Open-Access-Publikationsfonds / Förderzeitraum 2016
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY: Creative-Commons-Lizenz: Namensnennung