Navigation Links
Playing dead is no game for ant survival
Date:4/8/2008

Pretending to be dead is an effective self-defense strategy adopted by young fire ant workers under attack from neighboring colonies. This tactic makes them four times more likely to survive aggression than older workers who fight back. As a result, these young workers are able to contribute to brood care and colony growth to ensure the survival and fitness of their queen. These findings (1) by Dr. Deby Cassill from the Biology Department at USF Petersburg in Florida and her team from USF Tampa in Florida, have just been reported online in Naturwissenschaften, a Springer publication.

Feigning death is a method of self-defense used by a wide range of species - mammals, birds, amphibians, lizards, dragonflies, and beetles - in response to threats by predators. Cassill and colleagues studied the death feigning behavior of the highly territorial fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, during attacks by ants from neighboring colonies in the laboratory.

They showed that the age of the victims was a significant predictor of their response to their aggressors. Days-old workers responded to the attacks by pretending to be dead. Weeks-old workers responded by fleeing and months-old workers fought back. By feigning death, young workers were four times more likely to survive the attack than were the older workers who ran away or fought back. The researchers also found that sustained movement from the victims was necessary to trigger a physical attack known as a kinetic cue.

The authors offer two possible explanations for the death feigning behavior of the young fire ants. The external skeleton of days-old workers is relatively soft. Not only are these young workers prone to injury, they are ineffective in battle as their mandibles and stingers are not sufficiently hardened to penetrate the external skeleton of their aggressors. It may be that young workers pretend to be dead to avoid physical aggression at a time when they are vulnerable to injury and certain to fail. Another explanation is that by feigning death, young valuable workers are spared, allowing them to increase colony growth, which is essential to the survival and fitness of the colony queen.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joan Robinson
joan.robinson@springer.com
49-622-148-78130
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Arctic climate models playing key role in polar bear decision
2. Lung cancer cells survival gene seen as drug target
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/30/2017)... Va. , June 30, 2017 ... leading developer and supplier of face and eye ... ATA Featured Product provider program. ... an innovative way to monitor a driver,s attentiveness ... greatly from being able to detect fatigue and ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner startups at ... between startups and global businesses, taking place in ... startups will showcase the solutions they have built with IBM ... France is one of the most ... increase in the number of startups created between 2012 and ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), an ... identity verification solutions, announced today they will participate as ... 15 thru May 17, 2017, in Washington ... Center. Identity impacts the lives of ... quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is critical to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/18/2017)... SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA (PRWEB) , ... September 18, ... ... risk management, technological innovation and business process optimization firm for the life sciences ... presentation at the ServiceMax Maximize 2017 conference. , What: Digital Transformation in Medical ...
(Date:9/14/2017)... ... September 14, 2017 , ... RoosterBio ... clinically-relevant starting and ancillary materials that generate unprecedented efficiencies in adult stem ... The CliniControl product portfolio will radically simplify major steps in product development ...
(Date:9/14/2017)... ... September 14, 2017 , ... ... analytics solutions, today announced that its Anzo Smart Data Lake has been named ... includes technologies and solutions that help organizations succeed in surpassing their knowledge management ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... ... September 12, 2017 , ... ... has announced the release of their latest product LabCODE™, a novel Lab ... LabCODE™ offers pre-built capabilities for Biobanking, Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacogenetics, Next Generation Sequencing, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: