Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Division of labor increases with colony size in the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus

Contents:

Author Info

  • C. Tate Holbrook
  • Phillip M. Barden
  • Jennifer H. Fewell
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Size has profound consequences for the structure and function of biological systems, across levels of organization from cells to social groups. As tightly integrated units that vary greatly in size, eusocial insect colonies, in particular, are expected to exhibit social scaling relations. To address the question of how social organization scales with colony size, we quantified task performance in variably sized colonies of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus. We found a positive scaling relationship between colony size and division of labor in 2 different contexts. First, individual workers were more specialized in older, larger colonies. Second, division of labor increased with colony size, independently of colony age. Moreover, the proportional allocation of workers to tasks shifted during colony ontogeny--older, larger colonies performed relatively less brood care--but did not vary with colony size among same-aged colonies. There were no colony-size effects on per capita activity or the distribution of activity across workers. Size-related changes in task performance were correlated with changes in the rate of encounter between nest mates. These results highlight the importance of colony size for the organization of work in insect societies and raise broader questions about the role of size in sociobiology. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

    Download Info

    If 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.
    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/beheco/arr075
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    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 Info

    Article provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 960-966

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:5:p:960-966

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK
    Fax: 01865 267 985
    Email:
    Web page: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/

    Order Information:
    Web: http://www.oup.co.uk/journals

    Related research

    Keywords:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:5:p:960-966. See general 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.