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Nest Splitting By the Red Wood Ant (Formica Polyctena Foerster)

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

1. In the red wood ant, nest splitting is accompanied by the formation of one or more daughter nests. During this process, which can last a week, a month or even longer, transport of workers, queens and brood from the mother to the daughter nest occurs and often in the opposite direction as well. 2. Transport of congeners can occur throughout the season in which the red wood ant is active. 3. Transport between a mother nest and a daughter nest can be the result of: a. a difference in the accessibility of the main source of food, b. an attack by the population of a neighbouring nest and/or c. a change in the condition of the nest itself. The predominant direction in which transport occurs can be interred from the environmental conditions of the nests. 4. For removals, transport occurs in only one direction. Some of the ants transported during a removal were observed to return to the nest from which they had been taken. This prolonged the removal. 5. The number of transporters increased during the removal process. This increase is shown to be ascribable to a considerable extent to the transmission of information; in other words, other ants in the nest are in some way stimulated by the transporters to start to participate in the transport.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Ecology, University of Leiden, The Netherlands

10.1163/002829679X00124
/content/journals/10.1163/002829679x00124
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/content/journals/10.1163/002829679x00124
1978-01-01
2016-12-06

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