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J Insect Physiol. 1998 Jul;44(7-8):579-585.

Nectar feeding by the ant Camponotus mus: intake rate and crop filling as a function of sucrose concentration.

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Zoologie II, Biozentrum der Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, D-97074, Würzburg, Germany


In independent assays, workers of the ant Camponotus mus were conditioned to visit an arena where they found a large drop of sucrose solution of different concentrations, from 5 to 70% weight on weight (w/w). Single ants were allowed to collect the sucrose solution ad libitum, and feeding time, feeding interruptions, crop load, and intake rates were recorded. Feeding time increased exponentially with sucrose concentration, and this relationship was quantitatively described by the increase in viscosity with concentration corresponding to pure sucrose solutions. Ants collecting dilute solutions (5 to 15% w/w) returned to the nest with partial crop loads. Crop filling increased with increasing sucrose concentration, and reached a maximum at 42.6% w/w. Workers collecting highly concentrated solutions (70% w/w) also returned to the nest with a partially-filled crop, as observed for dilute solutions. Nectar intake rate was observed to increase with increasing sucrose concentration in the range 5 to 30% sucrose. It reached a maximum at 30.8%, and declined with increasing sucrose concentration. Results suggest that both sucrose concentration and viscosity of the ingested solution modulate feeding mechanics as well as the worker's decision about the load size to be collected before leaving the source.

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