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:3/14/2016)... 14, 2016 NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... market, announces the airing of a new series of commercials ... of March 21 st .  The commercials will air on ... Squawk on the Street show. --> NXTD ) ... mobile commerce market, announces the airing of a new series ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... , March 10, 2016 ... new market research report "Identity and Access Management Market ... Audit, Compliance, and Governance), by Organization Size, by Deployment, ... 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, The market is estimated to ... 12.78 Billion by 2020, at a Compound Annual Growth ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , March 9, 2016 ... identity management authentication and enrollment solutions, today announced ... DigitalPersona ® Altus multi-factor authentication ... IT and InfoSec managers to step-up security where ... Washington, DC . ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... for information (RFI) issued by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health ... experience, and determines if clinically relevant data were available when and where it ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... and traumatic injuries, will be accelerated by research at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) ... of wound healing and tissue regeneration. , The novel method, developed by WPI ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... PrecisionAg® Media has released ... and Beyond. The paper outlines the key trends that are creating both opportunities ... witnessed a lot of highs and lows as the precision agriculture market has ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2016 , ... ... interest organization focused on molecular nanotechnology, announced the winners for the 2015 Foresight ... physicist Richard Feynman, are given in two categories, one for experiment and the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: