Sensitivity and feeding efficiency of the black garden ant Lasius niger to sugar resourcesReport as inadecuate




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* Corresponding author 1 Service d-Ecologie Sociale, CP 231, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Boulevard du Triomphe, 1050 Brussels, Belgium 2 EthoS - UMR6552 Ethologie animale et humaine

Abstract : Carbohydrate sources such as plant exudates, nectar and honeydew represent the main source of energy for many ant species and contribute towards maintaining their mutualistic relationships with plants or aphid colonies. Here we characterise the sensitivity, feeding response curve and food intake efficiency of the aphid tending ant, Lasius niger for major sugars found in nectar, honeydew and insect haemolymph i.e. fructose, glucose, sucrose, melezitose and trehalose. We found that sucrose concentrations - ranging from 0.1 to 2.5 M - triggered food acceptance by L. niger workers with their food intake efficiency being enhanced by sugar concentrations of 1 M or higher at which points energy intake was maximised. The range of sucrose concentrations that elicit a feeding response by L. niger scouts thus overlaps with that of natural sugar resources. The response curves of feeding acceptance by scouts consistently increased with sugar concentration, except for trehalose which was disregarded by the ants. Ants are highly sensitive to sucrose and melezitose exhibiting low response thresholds. Sucrose, fructose and glucose share a same potential to act as phagostimulants as they had similar half feeding efficiency concentration values when expressed as the energetic content of sugar solution. Aphid-biosynthezised melezitose generated the highest sensitivity and phagostimulant potential. The feeding behavior of ants appears to be primarily regulated by the energy content of the food solution for the main sugars present in nectar and honeydew. However, feeding by scouts is also influenced by the informative value of individual sugars when it serves as a cue for the presence of aphid partners such as the aphid-biosynthesised melezitose.

Keywords : Ant Taste sensitivity Food intake Response curve Sugars





Author: Claire Detrain - Jacques Prieur -

Source: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/



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