Directional fidelity as a foraging constraint in the western harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding the foraging behavior of an animal is critically dependent upon knowledge of the constraints on that animal. In this study, I tested whether fidelity to foraging direction acts as a behavioral constraint to foraging western harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis. Individual P. occidentalis foragers showed strong fidelity to foraging route and direction. Directional fidelity in this population was not related to trunk trail use, food specialization, colony activity levels, or mortality risks. Directional fidelity constrained individual foraging decisions; when colonies were offered seeds of different quality in 2 directions, individuals did not switch directions to obtain the energetically more rewarding seeds. Colony-level recruitment was increased for energetically more profitable seeds, indicating that colonial responses may compensate for the constraints of directional fidelity on individual foragers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-51
Number of pages7
JournalOecologia
Volume82
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Foraging constraints
  • Pogonomyrmex occidentalis
  • Route fidelity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this