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Social and orientation behavior of Polyergus breviceps during slave-making raids

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Summary

In southeastern Arizona, Polyergus breviceps conducts slave raids on Formica gnava. Intraspecific territorial raids are frequent, and result in brood capture when the invaded colony is small. Target Formica colonies are located by one or more Polyergus scouts. Field tests show that scouts use optical orientation when returning from the target nest to their own colony, and when leading nestmates on the slave raid back to the Formica colony (Fig. 1). Both scouts and raiders deposit a chemical trail as they move out on the raid. After the raid, the Polyergus workers orient to their home nest by simultaneously using optical cues and the chemical trail deposited on the outbound raid.

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Topoff, H., LaMon, B., Goodloe, L. et al. Social and orientation behavior of Polyergus breviceps during slave-making raids. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 15, 273–279 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00292989

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Keywords

  • Field Test
  • Optical Orientation
  • Orientation Behavior
  • Home Nest
  • Chemical Trail