Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher K. Starr

Slave-Making in Ants (Dulosis)

  • Marah Stoldt
  • Susanne FoitzikEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_105-1
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In the typical lifestyle in ants, as in other social insects, workers – daughters of the queen(s) – undertake all of the colony-maintaining tasks, such as brood care, nest maintenance, and foraging. In a striking departure from this, some species exploit workers of other species (hosts) to undertake all of these tasks, which are raided from neighboring host nests [5]. Such slave-making, or dulosis, was first described by Pierre Huber in the Amazon ant Polyergus rufescens in 1810. The slave-making habit represents a form of brood parasitism or social parasitism, in which it is not the host organism as such that is exploited, but its social activities. In contrast to avian brood parasites such as cuckoos, the altruistic behaviors of kidnapped individuals from multiple societies are redirected to serve the social parasite and their offspring. Slave-making ants need very dense host populations. So far slave-making species were only described in the Northern Hemisphere, although the reason...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Organismic and Molecular EvolutionJohannes Gutenberg UniversityMainzGermany