Ant Research Roundup (5.ii.08)

A trail of Atta leafcutting ants in Gamboa, Panama.

From the recent literature:

The Journal of Experimental Biology has a lab study by Dussutour et al documenting how leafcutter ants avoid traffic jams under crowded trail conditions.  Apparently, unladen ants increase a narrow trail’s efficiency by following the leaf-carrying ants instead of trying to pass their slower sisters. See also commentary by JEB and Wired.

source: Dussutour, A., Beshers, S., Deneubourg, J. L., Fourcassie, V. 2009. Priority rules govern the organization of traffic on foraging trails under crowding conditions in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica. J Exp Biol 2009 212: 499-505.

In the journal PLoS One, Youngsteadt et al document that the seeds of the neotropical ant plant Peperomia macrostachya are dispersed by just a single species of Camponotus in spite of a high ant diversity at the study site.

source: Youngsteadt E, Baca JA, Osborne J, Schal C, 2009. Species-Specific Seed Dispersal in an Obligate Ant-Plant Mutualism. PLoS ONE 4(2): e4335. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004335

A smattering of ant taxonomic papers in the online journal Zootaxa includes work on Lordomyrma by Bob Taylor, Pheidole by Jack Longino, and the Egyptian Solenopsis by Mostafa Sharaf et al.

source: Zootaxa Hymenoptera

2 thoughts on “Ant Research Roundup (5.ii.08)”

  1. When in the name of Darwin will Zootaxa get off their arses and get taxon-specific RSS feeds?? Or at least email Table of contents or alerts?? Been pissing me off for at least 2 years now.

  2. I agree. Zootaxa is stuck on Web 1.0. You’d think the first online taxonomy journal would lead the way in adopting newer technologies, but they seem to have calcified.

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