Young fire ant workers feign death and survive aggressive neighbors

  title={Young fire ant workers feign death and survive aggressive neighbors},
  author={Deby Lee Cassill and Kim Vo and Brandie Becker},
Feigning death is a method of self-defense employed among a wide range of prey species when threatened by predator species. This paper reports on death-feigning behavior by the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, during intraspecific aggression among neighboring fire ant workers. Days-old workers responded to aggression by death feigning, weeks-old workers responded by fleeing and months-old workers responded by fighting back. By feigning death, days-old workers were four times more likely to survive… 

What can ants tell us about collective behavior during a natural catastrophe?

The fire ant, Solenipsis invicta, has successfully invaded and colonized ecosystems worldwide. Like humans, fire ants build permanent domiciles to house family members, establish well-defined

Tonically immobilized selfish prey can survive by sacrificing others

The results suggest that immobility following a spider attack is selfish; death-feigning prey increase their probability of survival at the expense of more mobile neighbours, thus confirming the selfish-prey hypothesis.

Interactions of diet and behavior in a death-feigning snake (Heterodon nasicus)

  • A. Durso
  • Psychology, Environmental Science
  • 2011
This work videotaped death-feigning behavior in wild Plains Hog-Nosed Snakes (Heterodon nasicus) subjected to standardized harassment and described the diet of the same individuals subjected to behavioral analysis.

Arousal from death feigning by vibrational stimuli: comparison of Tribolium species

Why there is a difference in the strength of the stimulus needed for arousal from death feigning among Tribolium species is discussed, and whether there was a positive association between intensity of stimulus needed to rouse and the duration ofdeath feigning is determined.

Body size, not maladaptive gene flow, explains death-feigning behaviour in Timema cristinae stick insects

The hypothesis that variation in death feigning across populations stems from an eco-evolutionary feedback loop, whereby gene flow causes poor camouflage, which increases the strength of bird predation, and ultimately drives the evolution of increased death-feigning is tested.

Is it all death feigning? Case in anurans

It is believed that there is more than one behaviour type referred to as thanatosis, and definitions and new names that complement the present knowledge on the subject are proposed.

Production of new colonies of Melipona subnitida Ducke (Hymenoptera: Apidae) by reclamation of excess virgin queens

The results showed that the age of the virgin queens is not a limiting factor for their acceptance by the workers but the existence of clusters of males is essential for the fertilization and establishment of the new colonies.



Adaptive significance of death feigning posture as a specialized inducible defence against gape-limited predators

This work examined whether death feigning in the pygmy grasshopper Criotettix japonicus Haan was an inducible defence behaviour against the frog Rana nigromaculata, a sit-and-wait, gape-limited predator.

Drop or fly? Negative genetic correlation between death-feigning intensity and flying ability as alternative anti-predator strategies

The choice between alternative escaping behaviours in animals is discussed from two points of view: phenotypic plasticity, an individual with two tactics; and pleiotropic genetic correlation, different individuals with opposite strategies.

Gaster flagging by fire ants (Solenopsis spp.): Functional significance of venom dispersal behavior

Observations suggest that airborne venom dispersal by workers is context specific rather than temporal caste specific and that workers can control the quantity of venom released.

Is death–feigning adaptive? Heritable variation in fitness difference of death–feigning behaviour

The results indicate the possibility of the evolution of death–feigning under natural selection and variation and inheritance of death-feigning behaviour in the red flour beetle.

The Fire Ants

The reader learns much about ants, the practice of science, and humans' role in the fire ant's North American success.

Death feigning in the face of sexual cannibalism

It is proposed that death feigning evolved as an adaptive male mating strategy in conjunction with nuptial gift giving under the risk of being victimized by females.

Density-Dependent Competition in Fire Ants: Effects on Colony Survivorship and Size Variation

Competition by brood raiding tended to increase the degree of size inequality among colonies, consistent with models and observations of «asymmetric competition» among sessile organisms.

Effects of Starvation on Death-Feigning in Adults of Cylas formicarius (Coleoptera: Brentidae)

Abstract Effects of starvation on death-feigning behavior, or thanatosis, were observed in adults of the sweetpotato weevil, Cylas formicarius (F.). A significantly lower proportion of death-feigned

Behavioural development and abdomen inflation of gynes and newly mated queens of Melipona beecheii (Apidae, Meliponinae)

An hypothesis is presented to explain how abdomen enlargement and behavioural development influences the acceptance of gynes and the establishment of a dominance relation with workers under queenless conditions.