AVAILABILITY OF BROOD CARE WORK AND INACTIVITY IN TEMNOTHORAX ANTS

picture of Theodore Jones presenting his/her poster: AVAILABILITY OF BROOD CARE WORK AND INACTIVITY IN TEMNOTHORAX ANTS

Theodore Jones , Daniel Charbonneau,Anna Dornhaus

AVAILABILITY OF BROOD CARE WORK AND INACTIVITY IN TEMNOTHORAX ANTS

    Ant colonies are examples of highly organized groups and are generally highly efficient. However, high levels of inactivity have been observed in social insects and as many as 60% of the ants in Temnothorax colonies are inactive. We test the hypothesis that observed inactivity is due to inactive ants being idle when work availability is low by seeing if increases in brood number positively correlate to increases in inactivity. The number and type of activity conducted by each of the ants was recorded using video taken between May and August of 2012 and the amount and type of brood present at each day of filming was measured. Ants that conducted less than 25% of the average amount of activity were considered inactive. A significant correlation between larvae number and inactivity was observed but not between total brood number (eggs, larvae, and pupae) and inactivity. Furthermore, no significant correlation between pupae number and inactivity was observed. This result suggests that inactivity may be caused by lack of work availability in the colony and that larvae may require more work to care for than either eggs or pupae. This means that this inactivity is most likely a necessary part of the colony structure to account for changes in larvae number. 

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