Title

Young fire ant workers feign death and survive aggressive beighbors.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Deby L. Cassill

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2008

Date Issued

January 2008

Abstract

Feigning death is a method of self-defense employed among a wide range of prey species when threatened by predator species. This paper reports on death-feigning behavior by the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, during intraspecific aggression among neighboring fire ant workers. Days-old workers responded to aggression by death feigning, weeks-old workers responded by fleeing and months-old workers responded by fighting back. By feigning death, days-old workers were four times more likely to survive aggression than older workers. From a proximate perspective, retaliation by young workers against aggressive older workers is certain to fail. With their relatively soft exoskeleton, young workers would be prone to injury and death and unable to execute an effective attack of biting or stinging older workers with harder exoskeletons. From an ultimate perspective, death feigning allows young workers to survive and contribute to brood care and colony growth, both of which are essential to queen survival and fitness.

Comments

Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Naturwissenschaften, 95, 617-624. doi: 10.1007/s00114-008-0362-3 Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.

Language

en_US

Publisher

Springer Verlag

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.