Friday, September 28, 2012

Slave rebellion is widespread in ants

Enslaved worker ants kill the offspring of their parasites and thereby improve the chances of survival for their neighboring relatives.

View image in original size 

Ants that are held as slaves in nests of other ant species damage their oppressors through acts of sabotage. Ant researcher Professor Dr. Susanne Foitzik of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) first observed this "slave rebellion" phenomenon in 2009. According to the latest findings, however, this behavior now appears to be a widespread characteristic that is not limited to isolated occurrences. In fact, in three different populations in the U.S. states of West Virginia, New York, and Ohio, enslaved Temnothorax longispinosus workers have been observed to neglect and kill the offspring of their Protomognathus americanus slavemakers rather than care for them. As a result, an average of only 45% of the parasite's offspring survived. This presumably reduces the strength of the parasites in the area and thereby increases the chances of survival for the neighboring colonies populated by the slave ants' relatives.

For the rest of the story:  http://www.uni-mainz.de/presse/15733_ENG_HTML.php

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...