Integration raids in the Amazon ant Polyergus rufescens (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

Insectes Sociaux (Impact Factor: 1.02). 01/2005; 52(1):103-104. DOI: 10.1007/s00040-004-0788-3


Groups of enslaved Formica fusca workers from mixed colonies of Polyergus rufescens with numerous slave workforce tend to split off and found small and almost homospecific nests around the main nest, with at least some of them connected with the latter with underground passages. Their inhabitants are able, at least temporarily, to adopt young F. fusca gynes. P. rufescens invades these satellite nests in a manner similar to the normal slave raids, and carries the slaves back to the main nest. The supposed evolutionary cause of this behaviour is to keep integrity of mixed colonies and prevent possible emancipation of slaves.

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Available from: Wojciech Czechowski, Jan 23, 2015
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    • "Consequently, F. fusca colonies could persist there and grow bigger . On the other hand F. polyctena severely decreases the foraging success and alters the foraging strategy of F. fusca (Czechowski 1985, Savolainen and Vepsäläinen 1989, Savolainen 1990, 1991, Czechowski and Markó 2005), and occasionally even destroys wrong-placed colonies. In addition, its dependent colony-foundation causes F. fusca colonies to die out, though at a slower rate than F. sanguinea. "
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    ABSTRACT: The wood ant Formica polyctena Först. is a territorial species, a regular top dominant of ant communities in forests. Its colonies defend their whole foraging areas (territories) against other territorial ants, including F. sanguinea Latr., a common facultative slave-maker. The most frequent 'victim' of F. sanguinea is F. fusca L., a ubiquitous submissive ant species. On the basis of some earlier observations, the presumption was made that F. polyctena, when defending its own territories, would indirectly protect F. fusca colonies, which nest within these territories, from F. sanguinea raids. It was expected that F. fusca should be more abundant in F. polyctena territories, than in F. sanguinea territories, while other subordinate ants, which are not potential slaves of F. sanguinea, should not show such difference. This hypothesis was supported by the results of the baiting experiments carried out in the Białowieża Forest, NE Poland. The findings are discussed in the context of interspecific competition hierarchy in ants.
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    • "Finally, it is worth noting that the minimum distance traveled by P. breviceps to a host colony was only 1 m (Table II). Czechowski (2005) reported that slaves of large P. rufescens colonies commonly formed nearly-independent satellite nests that were raided on several occasions, with slave-makers carrying adult slaves back to the slavemaker nest. Despite the close proximity of the aforementioned host nest to the P. breviceps nest that raided it, this raid seemed characteristic of a normal slave raid rather than of the integration raids described by Czechowski (2005). "
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    Conservation Genetics 10/2004; 5(6):853-859. DOI:10.1007/s10592-004-1977-3 · 2.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Slave-making ants are social parasites that exploit the labor of workers from their host species by keeping them captive in the slave-maker nest. Slave-makers vary in their degree of specialization, ranging from obligate slave-makers that cannot survive without captives, to facultative slave-makers, which are often found living independently. Our study system included one obligate slave-maker, Polyergus breviceps, two facultative slave-makers, Formica puberula and F. gynocrates, and two hosts, F. occulta and F. sp. cf. argentea. We observed all raids conducted during two raiding seasons by seven P. breviceps colonies, two F. puberula colonies, and two F. gynocrates colonies. We report on raiding frequency, average raid distances, and then compare the probability of being raided multiple times in a single raiding season for the two host species. We also report on the spatial distribution of slave raids, which suggests that slave-makers avoid raiding in areas used by other slave-maker colonies. This is the first report of raiding activity for P. breviceps in this location, and the first report of raiding activity of any kind for F. puberula and F. gynocrates.
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