The slave rebellion among ants

AntsNotwithstanding centuries of waste plan of social parasitism, ants, slave owners often have to deal with unruly ants slaves who no longer take care of the manor posterity, if not kill the larvae of the owners.

We tend to think of ants as a tireless worker, working for the benefit of their own colony. However, unusually developed capacities for self-organization have led to the fact that many species of ants switched to a kind of social parasitism.

Thus, the North American Prognathous Americans make regular forays into the slot Temnothorax longstanding. Adult rioters killed, and take with them the offspring – as slaves. In a strange nest T. Longstanding follow the master’s eggs and larvae, clean them and feed.

P. Americans has long lead the life slave, but a well organized system of parasitism sometimes crashes. Several years ago, researchers at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (Germany) found that individuals enslaved species attacking eggs and larvae, for which they must follow. In a new paper published in the journal Evolutionary Ecology , scholars have argued that such “slave revolt” are not isolated cases of laboratory, and quite a common situation faced ant slave owners.
Ant slave owner (left) asked for food from ant slave.

If you look in a few colonies P. Americans in the three North American states, the researchers found what percentage of offspring ants slave survives. The number of surviving larvae ranged from 27% to 58%, and even the upper figure was still lower than when larvae were raised without the slaves, that is, 85%. And on the stage of eggs, survival was much higher, reaching 95%. However, in the larval stage ants slaves obviously already knew that they had to take care of someone else’s offspring. Perhaps there are specific signal pheromones P. larvae Americans, which give them strangers. And the slaves T. longstanding or just stop caring about the larvae, or tear them apart.

Themselves “rebels” of no value to his rebellion are not, but because they limit the growth of colonies of ants slaveholders. This means that the predatory raids on the area will be smaller. Ants, slaves would help the other colonies that have not had to deal with the invaders. These colonies can be free to direct relatives of enslaved individuals, and this, according to scientists, can influence the effectiveness of the fight. That is where the survival of the offspring at least P. Americans, most of the colonies of T. longstanding long is related to each other, so the ants try to put their “masters” as much harm. If the slaves rebelled reluctantly, it is likely to mean that they are not near relatives, and especially try to not make sense.

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