Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 404–405 | Cite as

The adaptive benefit of leaf transfer in Atta colombica

  • C. Anderson
  • J. L. V. Jadin


We studied leaf transfer on trails of the leafcutter ant Atta colombica. 78.6% (N = 210) of leaves were not transferred, 12.4% (33) were cached and the remaining 9% (24) were transferred directly to another individual. Directly-transferred leaves travelled significantly faster post-transfer. There was no difference between the speeds of leaves that were not transferred and those post-transfer, although there was a significant difference among the pre-direct-transfer, pre-cache, and non-transfer speeds. We suggest that there may be a critical transportation speed, and that if this speed is not met, an individual will relinquish its leaf.

Key words: Task partitioning, leaf-transfer, foraging trails, Atta colombica. 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Anderson
    • 1
  • J. L. V. Jadin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Genetics and Ecology, University of Aarhus, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark DK
  2. 2.Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA US

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