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The Transport of Prey By an Ant, Pheidole Crassinoda Em

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image of Behaviour

1. Group transport of prey occurs regularly in Pheidole crassinoda Em. The behaviour of workers in transporting groups has been compared with that of ants transporting food singly. 2. Ants working singly carried prey weighing up to 5 mg. but dragged prey weighing more than 10 mg. The method used depended on the tractive resistance experienced by the ant during transport. 3. When ants working singly experienced difficulty in moving prey they altered the direction in which their effort was applied or the point at which it was applied. If the difficulty was not negotiated by these methods they returned to the nest and recruited more workers to augment the effort. 4. The force exerted by ants was measured with simple apparatus. The force exerted by groups of ants, but not that exerted by single ants, tended to increase in successive hauls by the same group. This increase was associated with rearrangement of the ants in the group into more co-operative patterns. There was a significant correlation between the force exerted and the number in the group. 5. A mechanism is suggested by which more co-operative arrangements of the ants might come about.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, University College, Ibadan, Nigeria


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