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Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 257–274 | Cite as

On the communication systems of the fungus-growing anttrachymyrmex urichi

  • K. Jaffé
  • G. Villegas
Article

Summary

Trachymyrmex urichi Forel has the following communication systems:

  1. a).

    Chemical recruitment with a trail pheromone from the poison gland which gives information about the presence and location of food. Its concentration regulates the amount of recruitment. Workers use the pheromone fo find the food source but not for homing. The fade-out time of a trail with normal pheromone concentration is about one hour.

     
  2. b).

    The ants use a decision-making system during recruitment of the type called autocratic byJaff\'eet al. (1985).

     
  3. c).

    Nests have a colony specific odour.

     
  4. d).

    Nestmates are recognized by a colony specific odour, which can be transfered through the air to nestmates, is present on all body parts of the insects and requires the presence of the fungus to be effective for long periods.

     
  5. e).

    Queens are also recognized colony specifically.

     
  6. f).

    Workers secrete a defence secretion from the gaster which induces nestmates to attack any object with it, even if this object is its own queen.

     
  7. g).

    Dump-carrying workers are not attacked, nor is their defensive secretion effective in inducing attack.

    Additional observations on their behaviour showed:

     
  8. h).

    Learning the route during foraging or navigational memory is more important in homing than during the way to the food.

     
  9. i).

    Territories are pricipally recognized by visual cues.

     
  10. j).

    T. urichi builds simple nests with up to three chambers. In observation nests, it builds its nest by first excavating a gallery and then expanding parts of the gallery to build the chambers.

     
  11. k).

    This ant has nocturnal foraging habits.

     
  12. l).

    The social behaviour of this ant can be considered to be intermediate between the higher and the lower Attini.

     

Keywords

Trail Pheromone Defensive Secretion Pheromone Concentration Poison Gland Observation Nest 

Sur les systèmes de communication chez la fourmi champignonniste Trachymyrmex urichi

Resume

La fourmiTrachymyrmex urichi Forel possède les systèmes de communication suivants:

  1. a)

    Recrutement chimique avec une ph\'eromone de trace qui provient de la glande \`a poison et fournit une information sur la pr\'esence de nourriture et l'endroit o\`u celle-ci se trouve. Sa concentration r\'egule la quantit\'e du recrutement. Les ouvri\`eres utilisent la ph\'eromone pour trouver la source de nourriture et non pas pour retourner au nid. Une trace de concentration normale de ph\'eromone prend environ und heure pour se dissiper.

     
  2. b)

    Les fourmis utilisent pour la prise de d\'ecision, pendant le recrutement, un syst\`eme du type appel \laautocratique\ra (Jaff\'eet al., 1985).

     
  3. c)

    Il existe une odeur du nid sp\'ecifique de chaque colonie.

     
  4. d)

    Les membres du nid sont reconnus par une odeur sp\'ecifique de la colonie. Cette odeur est pr\'esente sur toutes les parties du corps de l'insecte, et est transmissible par l'air \'a des compagnons. La pr\'esence de champignons est n\'ecessaire pour que l'odeur soit efficace pendant de longues p\'eriodes de temps.

     
  5. e)

    Le reines sont reconnues, elles aussi, comme sp\'ecifiques d'une colonie.

     
  6. f)

    Les ouvri\`eres produisent, au niveau du gastre, une s\'ecr\'etion de d\'efense. Celle-ci induit chez les membres du nid l'attaque de tout objet qu'elle impr\`egne, m\^eme si l'objet en question est leur propre reine.

     
  7. g)

    Les ouvri\`eres qui portent des d\'echets ne sont pas attaqu\'ees. D'autre part, leur s\'ecr\'etion d\'efensive n'est pas efficace dans l'induction de l'attaque.

    Des observations additionnelles montrent que:

     
  8. h)

    L'apprentissage de la route ou la m\'emoire de navigation est plus importante pour retourner au nid que pour trouver la nourriture.

     
  9. i)

    Ces fourmis reconnaissent les territoires principalement par des indices visuels.

     
  10. j)

    LesT. urichi construisent des nids simples qui peuvent avoir jusqu'\`a trois chambres. Dans des nids d'observation, elles construisent d'abord une galerie. Ensuite, elles construisent les chambres en \'elargissant diff\'erentes parties de la galerie.

     
  11. k)

    Les fourmis ont des habitudes de fourragement nocturnes.

     
  12. l)

    Le comportement social de ces fourmis peut \^etre consid\'et\'e comme interm\'ediaire entre les Attini sup\'erieures et inf\'erieures.

     

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Copyright information

© Masson 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Jaffé
    • 1
  • G. Villegas
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia de OrganismosUniversidad Simon BolivarCaracas

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