Individual Experience Alone Can Generate Lasting Division of Labor in Ants

  title={Individual Experience Alone Can Generate Lasting Division of Labor in Ants},
  author={Fabien Ravary and Emmanuel Lecoutey and Gwena{\"e}l Kaminski and Nicolas Ch{\^a}line and Pierre Jaisson},
  journal={Current Biology},

Figures and Tables from this paper

Specialization Does Not Predict Individual Efficiency in an Ant

The ecological success of social insects is often attributed to an increase in efficiency achieved through division of labor between workers in a colony. Much research has therefore focused on the

The emergence and scaling of division of labor in insect societies

Division of labor is a pervasive feature of animal societies, but little is known about the causes or consequences of division of labor in non-eusocial cooperative groups. We tested whether division

Learning, specialization, efficiency and task allocation in social insects

It is argued that learning psychology might provide the missing link between social insect task specialization and efficiency: just like in human societies, efficiency at a job specialty is only in small parts a result of "talent", or innate tendency to engage in a job.

Individual experience influences reconstruction of division of labour under colony disturbance in a queenless ant species

It is suggested that individual experience decreases the response threshold of original foragers, as they continue to be specialist nurses in a disturbed colony, and other factors, such as reproductive ability, are clearly required to understand DOL maintenance in fluctuating environments.

Experience, corpulence and decision making in ant foraging

The results show that when information from corpulence and recent experience conflict, ants behave only in accordance with their corpulence, and foraging is organised via long-term physiological differences among individuals resulting in a relatively stable response threshold distribution, with fine-tuning provided by short-term learning processes.

The effects of genotype, caste, and age on foraging performance in leaf-cutting ants

Examining the foraging performance of workers of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex subterraneus found that patrilines within colonies differed significantly in the size of fragment cut, and the speed of cutting and transporting fragments when controlling for both ant size and fragment size in the analyses.

Regulation of Ant Foraging: A Review of the Role of Information Use and Personality

It is pointed out that a more focused examination of the interplay between personality and information use will help to understand how behavioral plasticity in the context of foraging is shaped at the colony and individual levels.

Worker Personality and Its Association with Spatially Structured Division of Labor

This study investigates the behavioral mechanisms governing the spatial distribution of individual workers and its physiological underpinning in the ant Myrmica rubra and uncover position-associated behavioral syndromes, which could promote the basic separation between inside and outside workers.

Diverse societies are more productive: a lesson from ants

Aggressiveness was consistent over four to five months with a new generation of workers emerging in between trial series, and colonies with more intracolonial behavioural variation in brood care and exploration of novel objects were more productive under standardized conditions than colonies with less variation.



Regulation of division of labor in insect societies.

A key feature of the division of labor in insect colonies is its plasticity, which enables it to continue to grow, develop, and ultimately produce a new generation of reproductive males and females despite changing colony conditions.

Social control of division of labor in honey bee colonies

The activator-inhibitor model provides a heuristic tool for understanding the division of labor in honey bee colonies and supports the predictions of this model.

Foraging for Work and Age‐Based Polyethism: The Roles of Age and Previous Experience on Task Choice in Ants

In social insects, colonies commonly show temporal polyethism in worker behavior, such that a worker follows a predictable pattern of changes between tasks as it ages. This pattern usually leads from

Response threshold reinforcements and division of labour in insect societies

A model of division of labour in insect societies, based on variable response thresholds is introduced. Response thresholds refer to the likelihood of reacting to task–associated stimuli.

Response thresholds and division of labor in insect colonies.

It is argued that the response threshold concept is a logical starting point for developing explanations for the proximate basis of division of labor, and that further development of this concept may be a necessary and critical step in the study of social insect behavior.

Models of division of labor in social insects.

The models to date have advanced understanding by suggesting possible mechanisms for division of labor and by revealing how individual and colony-level behavior may be related, and so may lead to the development of more powerful and integrative explanatory models.

Social Evolution in Ants

An overview of the current state of scientific knowledge about social evolution in ants is presented and how studies on ants have contributed to an understanding of many fundamental topics in behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology is shown.

Dynamic Polyethism and Competition for Tasks in Threshold Reinforcement Models of Social Insects

It is shown that the introduction of a threshold-dependent competition process between the individuals during task selection leads to the occurrence of specialists and differentiation between individuals as an emergent phenomenon that depends on the colony size.

Proximate mechanisms of age polyethism in the honey bee

The current dialogue over proximate mechanisms of age polyethism has helped to clarify the pattern of behavioral ontogeny in honey bees, and a conservative interpretation of existing data is that behavioralontogeny is characterized by a nest phase followed by a foraging phase.

Regulation of behavioral maturation by a primer pheromone produced by adult worker honey bees.

The identification of a substance produced by adult forager honey bees, ethyl oleate, that acts as a chemical inhibitory factor to delay age at onset of foraging is reported, suggesting that worker behavioral maturation is modulated via trophallaxis.