Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

For ant pupae, status means being heard

Date:
February 7, 2013
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
For young ants at the pupal stage of life -- caught between larva and adulthood -- status is all about being heard. The findings add to evidence that ants can communicate abstract information through sound in addition to chemical cues.

This is an ant pupa under a scanning electron microscope.
Credit: Current Biology, Casacci et al.

For young ants at the pupal stage of life -- caught between larva and adulthood -- status is all about being heard. The findings, reported online on February 7 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, add to evidence that ants can communicate abstract information through sound in addition to chemical cues.

"One of the truly fascinating characteristics of social insects is their power of self-organization, which allows their societies to achieve amazing feats way beyond the ability of individuals, and communication is key to these achievements," said Karsten Schönrogge of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) in the United Kingdom. "Our experiments are the first to show not only that ant pupae use sound to communicate with the adults in their colony, but also that the social ranking of mature pupae depends on their ability to make those sounds."

Social insects were known to use chemical pheromones to recognize each other and to organize complex behaviors such as swarming. Researchers also knew that ants make audible sounds. But it wasn't so clear until recently that those sounds might actually mean something.

The new work, by scientists at CEH, University of Oxford, and University of Turin, shows that as soon as the ants' bodies begin to harden as pupae, they begin making sounds similar to adults with their "file and scraper" organs, although the sounds are first emitted as single pulses, not longer sequences.

It turns out that those sounds are essential for pupae to maintain their rightful place in the ant hierarchy, above their younger, larval siblings. When unstressed adult worker ants hear those sounds from pupae, they are assigned priority over their silent fellows in rescue operations back to the nest. Pupae experimentally rendered mute lose that higher-priority status.

The findings suggest that acoustics might actually replace chemicals as a mode of communication in this phase of an ant's social life, the researchers say. They also confirm that ants are able to send and receive signals across multiple information "channels."

"It seems highly likely that, in some situations, one type of signal might mediate the response to another," Schönrogge said. "The implications of this additional layer of flexibility need to be explored."

Worker ant sounds: http://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/52338.php?from=231385


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Luca P. Casacci, Jeremy A. Thomas, Marco Sala, David Treanor, Simona Bonelli, Emilio Balletto, Karsten Schönrogge. Ant Pupae Employ Acoustics to Communicate Social Status in Their Colony’s Hierarchy. Current Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.01.010

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "For ant pupae, status means being heard." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130207131508.htm>.
Cell Press. (2013, February 7). For ant pupae, status means being heard. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130207131508.htm
Cell Press. "For ant pupae, status means being heard." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130207131508.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) — A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) — Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins