Nesting habits and colony composition of the hypogaeic army ant Dorylus (Dichthadia) laevigatus Fr. Smith

S. M., Berghoff and A., Weissflog and K., E. Linsenmair and Maryati Mohamed, Datin and U., Maschwitz (2002) Nesting habits and colony composition of the hypogaeic army ant Dorylus (Dichthadia) laevigatus Fr. Smith. Insectes Sociaux, 49 (4). pp. 380-387. ISSN 0020-1812


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Epigaeicly active species have set the standards for our understanding of army ant behavior. However, the majority of species leads a cryptic hypogaeic life. Being the first of the hypogaeicly foraging and nesting army ant species investigated in more detail, we studied the nesting habits and colony structure of Dorylus (Dichthadia) laevigatus in Malaysia. By monitoring the species' hypogaeic movements via oil baits we were able to locate and - for one colony - to excavate a nest. The location of the nest was not revealed by epigaeic excavation signs. Within the soil high densities of large and intermediate sized trails indicated the presence of nest cavities. Nest form and number of cavities varied with local conditions. With an estimated colony size of 325,000 workers, the excavated colony was rather small for an army ant. Colony fragments were kept and observed in the laboratory, where emigrations and bivouac formation were documented. Worker morphological traits were measured, showing D. laevigatus to lack the large workers of some epigaeic species. In comparison, small workers were more common and conducted more tasks in D. laevigatus colonies than in epigaeicly foraging species. A description of the queen is provided. The simultaneous occurrence of brood of different developmental stages indicated a non-phasic brood production. Overall, the data obtained for the hypogaeic D. laevigatus were compared to known epigaeicly foraging Dorylus species.

Item Type: Article
Keyword: Army ants, Colony structure, Morphology, Hypogaeic, Dorylus laevigatus.
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology > QL1-991 Zoology > QL360-599.82 Invertebrates > QL461-599.82 Insects
Department: INSTITUTE > Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Depositing User: ADMIN ADMIN
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2012 16:20
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2017 15:32

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