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:1/21/2016)... India , January 21, 2016 ... According to a new market research report "Emotion Detection ... and Others), Software Tools (Facial Expression, Voice Recognition ... Regions - Global forecast to 2020", published by ... is expected to reach USD 22.65 Billion by ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... Minn. , Jan. 20, 2016   MedNet ... supports the entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased ... 2015. MedNet,s significant achievements are the result of the ... iMedNet eClinical , it,s comprehensive, easy-to-use ... --> --> Key MedNet growth achievements ...
(Date:1/18/2016)... Jan. 18, 2016  Extenua Inc., a pioneering ... the use and access of ubiquitous on-premise and ... with American Cyber.  ... leading transformational C4ISR and Cyber initiatives in support ... latest proven technology solutions," said Steve Visconti ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016 NX Prenatal Inc., ... proprietary NeXosome® technology for early warning of adverse ... most recent study by Dr. Thomas McElrath ... Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine,s (SMFM) annual meeting held ... th , 2016.  The presentation reported initial positive ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Feb. 10, 2016  IsoRay, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ISR), ... and medical radioisotope applications for the treatment of prostate, ... announced its financial results for the second quarter and ... 2015. --> --> ... of fiscal 2016, which ended December 31, 2015, a ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... centers across three states, announced today the promotion of two long-standing principal investigators ... Chief of Family Medicine, Clinical Research and Development. , Dr. Laurence Chu, a ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... their comprehensive training and support program, Sonalink™ remote monitoring. The inaugural launch of ... on Friday, February 5th, connecting Dr. Samuel Peretsman to a HIFU technical expert ...
Breaking Biology Technology: