Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Individual experience structures division of labour

Via Ant Visions:

An article on the Japanese ant Cerapachys biroi shows that success or failure of a foraging individual (~7 successive experiences) can determine if the ant would continue as a forager or would decide to nurse the brood. A really simple strategy that could structure division of labour in insect societies. It is interesting to note the authors mention that an unsuccessful individual spends more time with the brood and hence could end up caring for the brood instead of foraging. Virgin workers of this species produces diploid eggs through thelytokous parthenogenesis. It would be interesting to see how insects with different grades of recruitment fare with this current finding.
Read the article here:
Ravary F, Lecoutey E, Kaminski G, Châline N & Jaisson P. 2007. Individual experience alone can generate lasting division of labour in ants. Current Biology 17: 1308-1312.

Image: Cerapachys biroi, AntWeb,
Photographer: April Nobile

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