11 ANT BEHAVIOR 2007 - Nest Recognition in Harvester Ants...

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Nest Recognition in   Harvester Ants
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Objectives 1. Test the hypothesis that harvester ants can recognize  their own nest soil, using quantitative and unbiased  procedures to reject a null hypothesis. 2. Learn some basic statistical procedures for evaluating  quantitative data and use them to test a hypothesis. 3. Observe the behavior of members of an animal species  that forms very complex social organizations.
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Queen Drone Workers
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Ants are social insects with specific roles to  play… Haven’t changed in last 35,000,000 years Drones *, males are short lived, may fertilize 1 queen  (provide set of genes) * Old English, “dron” parasites living on labor of others. Queen lays eggs (fertilized and unfertilized) Workers switch professions several times, soldier, forager,  larva care
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Harvester ant nest  (gravel mounds in center of large clearings)
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Harvester Ants (Pogonomyremex barbatus)
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Pogonomyremex {bearded ant} barbatus {hairs/setae on ventral surface of petiole} Taber (1998). The world of the Harvester Ant . p.104
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Worker carries a seed home
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You discover wingless ants in your box of cookies. What is  the sex of those ants?   A. Males or drones B. Female C. A mixture of drones and workers
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Stages in  life of ant nest Founding stage Exponential growth stage Maturity state Death of queen: end of nest
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Stages of Development Stored sperm used to fertilize some eggs. Eggs laid 1N (unfertilized) eggs become winged males. 2N (fertilized) eggs become females
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What determines fate of ant females? Females have similar or same genes. Environmental factors during larval development:  temperature, food  Physical condition of queen (secretions from  healthy queen inhibit development of new queens)
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Metamorphosis among order Hymenoptera Egg hatches into grublike larva (feeding m achine) Fem ale larva capable of m ating becom e queen ants Fem ale larva not capable of m ating becom e workers After a period of growth, larva changes into a pupa. Pupa transform s into an adult.
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Establishing a new colony   Virgin winged queen ant m ates with a single m ale Ants leave the nest (“m arriage flight”) Sperm  cells transferred to sem inal receptacle of queen. Male discarded 
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This note was uploaded on 11/10/2008 for the course BIO 206L taught by Professor Unknown during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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11 ANT BEHAVIOR 2007 - Nest Recognition in Harvester Ants...

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