"Wall-papering" and elaborate nest architecture in the ponerine ant Harpegnathos saltator

C. Peeters, Berthold Hoelldobler, M. Moffett, T. M Musthak Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Excavation of 18 nests of Harpegnathos saltator from southern India revealed an unusually complex architecture for a ponerine ant. The inhabited chambers are not deep in the ground. The uppermost chamber is protected by a thick vaulted roof, on the outside of which is an intervening space serving as isolation from the surrounding soil. In large colonies, the vaulted roof is extended into a shell which encloses several superimposed chambers. Little openings, which may be encircled by moulded flanges, occur in the upper region of the shell. The inside of the chambers is partly or completely lined with strips of empty cocoons. A refuse chamber is always found deeper than the inhabited chambers; live dipteran larvae (family Milichiidae) are typically present. These elaborate nests represent a large energetic investment, and we speculate therefore that nest emigration is unlikely in this species. Consequently, colony fission may never occur, unlike other ants where gamergates reproduce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-218
Number of pages8
JournalInsectes Sociaux
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1994
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

ant
nest
Formicidae
nests
roof
gamergate
shell
cocoon
cocoons
emigration
refuse
excavation
energetics
larva
India
larvae
soil
dipteran
family

Keywords

  • ant
  • emigration
  • fission
  • monsoon
  • nest
  • Ponerinae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science

Cite this

"Wall-papering" and elaborate nest architecture in the ponerine ant Harpegnathos saltator. / Peeters, C.; Hoelldobler, Berthold; Moffett, M.; Ali, T. M Musthak.

In: Insectes Sociaux, Vol. 41, No. 2, 06.1994, p. 211-218.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Peeters, C. ; Hoelldobler, Berthold ; Moffett, M. ; Ali, T. M Musthak. / "Wall-papering" and elaborate nest architecture in the ponerine ant Harpegnathos saltator. In: Insectes Sociaux. 1994 ; Vol. 41, No. 2. pp. 211-218.
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