Productivity increases with variation in aggression among group members in Temnothorax ants
AbstractSocial insect societies are characterized not only by a reproductive division of labor between the queen and workers but also by a specialization of workers on different tasks. However, how this variation in behavior or morphology among workers influences colony fitness is largely unknown. We investigated in the ant Temnothorax longispinosus whether aggressive and exploratory behavior and/or variation among nest mates in these behavioral traits are associated with an important fitness measure, that is, per worker offspring production. In addition, we studied how body size and variation in size among workers affect this colony fitness correlate. First, we found strong differences in worker body size, aggression, and exploration behavior among colonies. Most notably, intracolonial variance in aggression was positively correlated with per worker productivity, suggesting a selective advantage of colonies with a higher variability in worker aggression. Because ant colonies in dense patches were both more aggressive and more productive, we cannot exclude the possibility that higher productivity and greater variability in aggression could both be results of good habitat quality and not causal influences on one another. This study suggests that social insect societies with stronger behavioral variation among nest members, and possibly a more efficient task allocation, are more productive in the field. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.
Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK
Fax: 01865 267 985
Web page: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.