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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 14;8(8):e70888. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070888. eCollection 2013.

Fast and flexible: argentine ants recruit from nearby trails.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States of America. tpaz@unm.edu

Abstract

Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) live in groups of nests connected by trails to each other and to stable food sources. In a field study, we investigated whether some ants recruit directly from established, persistent trails to food sources, thus accelerating food collection. Our results indicate that Argentine ants recruit nestmates to food directly from persistent trails, and that the exponential increase in the arrival rate of ants at baits is faster than would be possible if recruited ants traveled from distant nests. Once ants find a new food source, they walk back and forth between the bait and sometimes share food by trophallaxis with nestmates on the trail. Recruiting ants from nearby persistent trails creates a dynamic circuit, like those found in other distributed systems, which facilitates a quick response to changes in available resources.

PMID:
23967129
PMCID:
PMC3743883
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0070888
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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