Head-on encounter rates and walking speed of foragers in leaf-cutting ant traffic

  title={Head-on encounter rates and walking speed of foragers in leaf-cutting ant traffic},
  author={Martin Burd and Nuvan Aranwela},
  journal={Insectes Sociaux},
Summary. Trail traffic of the leaf-cutting ant Atta cephalotes involves intermingled flows of outbound and returning foragers. Head-on encounters between workers from the opposite flows are a common occurrence in this traffic. Each encounter momentarily delays the two ants involved, and these small delays might pose a significant cost to the colony's foraging performance when summed over thousands of workers along many metres of trail. We videotaped outbound and returning foragers over a 1 m… 

Contact rate modulates foraging efficiency in leaf cutting ants

It is suggested that outgoing ants are able to collect information from inbound ants even when these latter do not carry any leaf fragment and that this information can influence their foraging decisions when reaching the end of the trail.

Crowding increases foraging efficiency in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica

It is concluded that crowding actually increased foraging efficiency, possibly because of increased communication between laden foragers returning to the nest and out-going ants.

Allometric scaling of foraging rate with trail dimensions in leaf-cutting ants

  • A. I. BruceM. Burd
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2012
This work determined the scaling relationship between the rate of resource acquisition and the size of the trail system and foraging workforce for 18 colonies of Atta colombica and Atta cephalotes and examined conventional power-law scaling patterns, revealing the simultaneous effects of forager number, trail length and trail width.

Fast Food Delivery: Is There a Way for Foraging Success in Leaf-Cutting Ants?

Physical trails have an important role in foraging efficiency as they allow workers go quickly and further to forage, since they limit a path and congregate more individuals, raising the leaf delivery rate.

Traffic rules around the corner: walking of leaf-cutting ants at branching points in trunk trails

It was showed that ants appear to follow simple rules to reduce overcrowding at theses trail sectors: keep walking on the same traffic lane when turning, and this behavior did not increase with increments in ant flow.

Priority rules govern the organization of traffic on foraging trails under crowding conditions in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica

The cluster organization promotes information transfer about the level of food availability by increasing the number of contacts between outbound and inbound laden ants, which could possibly stimulate these former to cut and retrieve leaf fragments when reaching the end of the trail.

Dynamics of physical trail construction and of trail usage in the leaf-cutting ant Atta laevigata

The main benefit of trail construction is to mobilize less foragers on the trail to collect the same amount of food, leaving the possibility for the remaining workers to forage on other trails or to accomplish other tasks.

Branch Width and Height Influence the Incorporation of Branches into Foraging Trails and Travel Speed in Leafcutter Ants Atta cephalotes (L.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

The results indicate that A. cephalotes can adjust their speed to compensate for the difficulty of traveling on branch slopes, and branch size should be considered when studying ant foraging efficiency.



Costs of trail construction and maintenance in the leaf-cutting ant Atta columbica

  • J. J. Howard
  • Environmental Science
    Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
  • 2001
These costs are small relative to the number of available workers and rates of mass harvest, suggesting that costs do not significantly constrain trail construction and that trails may persist because they provide access to high-quality resources or because only a few trails are required to fully exploit the foraging territory.

Traffic Dynamics of the Leaf‐Cutting Ant, Atta cephalotes

It is found that flow rates are higher when traffic is near a 50:50 mix of outbound and returning ants than when it contains majority flows in a single direction, and a simple behavioral mechanism is proposed to allow trails to be cleared to the correct width to provide the optimal concentration.

Host-plant selection, diet diversity, and optimal foraging in a tropical leafcutting ant

SummaryA month-long study was conducted on the comparative foraging behavior of 20 colonies of the leafcutting ant, Atta cephalotes L. in Santa Rosa National Park, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica.

Conditioning of scouts and recruits during foraging by a leaf-cutting ant, Atta colombica

Experiments on colonies of the leaf-cutting ant in Costa Rica suggest that conditioning relative acceptability of resources to both scouts and recruits may be a partial explanation for the diversity of resources harvested by ant colonies.

Variable load size-ant size matching in leaf-cutting ants,Atta colombica (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

  • M. Burd
  • Biology
    Journal of Insect Behavior
  • 2005
It is uncertain whether ants can shift the correlation between worker size and fragment size according to differing foraging circumstances, so that ants of a fixed size cut and carry fragments of greater or smaller area.

Information about food quality influences load-size selection in recruited leaf-cutting ants

The results suggest that the decision to transfer information about the quality of the encountered food motivates a worker to return sooner to the nest, displaying recruiting behaviour, than with a full load.

Decision-making in foraging by social insects

Experimental and theoretical findings will lead us to re-consider the level of complexity of information processing and coding needed for the emergence of adaptive foraging patterns in social insects.

Task partitioning in insect societies: bucket brigades

This study focuses on a particular form of task partitioning, bucket brigades, which is defined as a multistage partitioned transport scheme that uses only direct transfer between individual workers and without any predetermined transfer locations, other than the first or last stages.

Defense against parasites by hitchhikers in leaf-cutting ants: a quantitative assessment

Results of experimental introductions of parasites and a year of biweekly censuses at ten colonies indicate that leaf-cutting ants adjust the level of hitchhiking to accommodate both daily and seasonal changes in the abundance of parasites.

Open-Air Litter Foraging in the Nasute Termite Longipeditermes longipes (Isoptera: Termitidae)

The Southeast Asian nasute termite Longipeditermes longipes forages on the open ground on leaf litter while dimorphic soldiers defensively surround the marching columns and the foraging patches.