A comparative analysis of rapid antennation behavior in four species of Odontomachus trap-jaw ants
- 444 Downloads
The exchange of rapid antennal strikes between individuals is a behavior exhibited by many social hymenopterans, largely in dominance contexts within the nest and in aggressive contexts towards non-nestmates. Despite being widely reported, the behavior itself has not been well described or compared between species for the majority of social insect groups. We first document how often rapid antennation is used as an aggressive response to non-nestmates for four species of Odontomachus ants. We then use high-speed videography to measure the rate of rapid antennation behavior for these species. We find that rates are neither conserved nor species-specific and average between 19.5 and 41.5 strikes/s. Next, with O. brunneus, we compare this behavior as it is performed between nestmates and non-nestmates. We find no context-specific differences in rate, bout length, or number of strikes. We conclude by discussing the evolution of this behavior and its potential utility as a model for understanding aggressive behaviors both inside and outside of the nest.
KeywordsAntennal dueling Antennal boxing Antennal drumming Dominance Aggression
All ants were collected with permission from the Archbold Biological Station (Florida), Weeks Bay Reserve (Alabama), and the Central Cardamom Protected Forest Forestry Administration and the Scientific Capacity Development Initiative (Cambodia). Ants were transported to the University of Illinois under USDA permit numbers P526P-13-02992 and P526P-12-01513. For support in the field, we would like to thank: Fred Larabee and Mark Deyrup (Florida); Scott Phipps and Rafael Achury (Alabama); Stephan De Greef, Dietrich Gotzek, Bill Wills, Fred Larabee and Vittoria Elliott (Cambodia).
Supplemental Video. Rapid antennation behavior at full speed and 1/8 speed between non-nestmates (O. brunneus). (MP4 11742 kb)
- Emlen DJ (2014) Animal weapons: the evolution of battle. Henry Holt and Company, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Hölldobler B, Carlin NF (1985) Colony founding, queen dominance and oligogyny in the australian meat ant Iridomyrmex purpureus. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 18:45–58Google Scholar
- Jeanne RL (2009) Vibrational signals in social wasps: a role in caste determination? In: Gadau J, Fewell J (eds) Organization of insect societies: from genome to sociocomplexity. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Lachaud JP, Dejean A (1991) Food sharing in Odontomachus troglodytes (Santschi): a behavioral intermediate stage in the evolution of social food exchange in ants. An Biol 17:53–61Google Scholar
- Schmidt CA (2009) Molecular phylogenetics and taxonomic revision of ponerine ants. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZGoogle Scholar
- van Walsum E, Gobin B, Ito F, Billen J (1998) Worker reproduction in the ponerine ant Odontomachus simillimus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 32:427–440Google Scholar