Effects of colony-level variation on competitive ability in the invasive Argentine ant

Citation
Da. Holway et Tj. Case, Effects of colony-level variation on competitive ability in the invasive Argentine ant, ANIM BEHAV, 61, 2001, pp. 1181-1192
Citations number
65
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Animal Sciences","Neurosciences & Behavoir
Journal title
ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR
ISSN journal
0003-3472 → ACNP
Volume
61
Year of publication
2001
Part
6
Pages
1181 - 1192
Database
ISI
SICI code
0003-3472(200106)61:<1181:EOCVOC>2.0.ZU;2-T
Abstract
Although colony size and nest number are believed to influence competitive ability in social insects, experimental studies testing this idea are rare. Here, we experimentally manipulated worker number and nest number in labor atory colonies of Argentine ants, Linepithema humile, to test how these att ributes, working alone or in combination, affected different components of exploitative and interference ability. As expected, every measure of compet itive performance tested increased with worker number. In contrast, the inf luence of nest number was more complex, with colony-level performance incre asing, decreasing, or remaining constant depending on the type of competiti on-related test or colony-size category being considered. In the exploitati on of randomly distributed food items, retrieval rates decreased with nest number for 50-worker colonies yet increased with nest number for 2500-worke r colonies. In contrast, retrieval rates decreased with nest number across all colony sizes when resources were clumped. In two experiments on interfe rence competition, only colonies with more than 1000 workers and that occup ied single nests were able to maintain more than 10 workers, on average, at baits in the presence of a competitor, Forelius mccooki. Argentine ant wor kers initiated a majority of pairwise fights against F. mccooki workers but often lost (i.e. either retreated or were injured), in part because their pre-emptive attacks left them vulnerable to chemical defensive compounds us ed against them by Forelius. These findings promise to promote a better und erstanding of the causes of invasion success not only for the Argentine ant but for other invasive ants as well, given that most have colony structure s resembling that of L. humile. (C) 2001 The Association for the Study of A nimal Behaviour.