Biology

Food dissemination in ants: robustness of the trophallactic network against resource quality [SHORT COMMUNICATION]



Olivier Bles, Jean-Louis Deneubourg, and Stamatios C. Nicolis

Insect societies are often composed of many individuals, achieving collective decisions that depend on environmental and colonial characteristics. For example, ants are able to focus their foraging effort on the most rewarding food source. While this phenomenon is well known, the link between the food source quality and the intranidal food dissemination networks and its dynamics has been neglected. Here, we analysed the global dynamics of food dissemination in Camponotus cruentatus workers, after feeding on a low (0.1 mol l–1) or on a high (1 mol l–1) sucrose concentration food source. We also analysed the trophallaxis activity at the individual level and built the complete network of trophallaxis. The results reveal that the dynamics of food dissemination and the structure of the trophallaxis network are robust and independent of the food concentration. We discuss these results in the light of recent advances in the study of efficiency in food management in ants.

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