Foraging behavior in two species of Ectatomma (Formicidae: Ponerinae): Individual learning of orientation and timing

Nico M. Franz, William T. Wcislo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

The foraging behavior of marked individuals of Ectatomma ruidum and E. tuberculatum (Formicidae: Ponerinae) was observed on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, in order to determine whether learning of orientation and timing is involved when foraging on patchy resources on the forest floor. Foraging experiments under seminatural conditions were designed to control for the spatiotemporal distribution of resources at one or two preying sites. Using both single- and multi-event past experience, individual foragers of E. ruidum and (although less significantly) E. tuberculatum made directional and temporal adjustments to their behavior in response to previous differential foraging success. In spite of considerable individual variation in foraging efficiency, it is hypothesized that the observed differences in cognitive abilities can be invoked to explain ecological differences among both species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-410
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cognitive ecology
  • Ectatomma
  • Foraging behavior
  • Individual learning
  • Ponerinae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

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