You are not currently logged in.
Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:
If You Use a Screen ReaderThis content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Ant Societies Buffer Individual-Level Effects of Parasite Infections
Inon Scharf, Andreas P. Modlmeier, Sara Beros and Susanne Foitzik
The American Naturalist
Vol. 180, No. 5 (November 2012), pp. 671-683
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/667894
Page Count: 13
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Insect colonies, Ants, Parasites, Infections, Worker insects, Parasite hosts, Queen insects, Productivity, Insect behavior, Insect larvae
Were these topics helpful?See something inaccurate? Let us know!
Select the topics that are inaccurate.
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Preview not available
AbstractParasites decrease host fitness and can induce changes in host behavior, morphology, and physiology. When parasites exploit social insects, they influence not only infected individuals but also the society as a whole. Workers of the ant Temnothorax nylanderi are an intermediate host for the cestode Anomotaenia brevis. We studied a heavily parasitized population and found that, although parasite infection had strong and diverse consequences for individual workers, colony fitness remained unchanged. At the individual level, we uncovered differences among the three worker types, infected and healthy workers from parasitized colonies and healthy workers from nonparasitized colonies. Infected workers were smaller than healthy ones and had smaller heads as parasite load increased. Behavioral changes extended to all workers from parasitized colonies; such workers were less active than workers in nonparasitized colonies but engaged in more grooming. Healthy workers from parasitized colonies showed behavioral patterns intermediate to those of infected workers and healthy workers from nonparasitized colonies. Despite the lower activity level found in ants from parasitized colonies, an important fitness parameter, per-worker productivity, remained unaltered in parasitized colonies. However, the investment strategies of parasitized colonies changed as their sex ratio became male biased and as male body size increased. In short, ant colonies can buffer the drain of resources by the parasite despite strong effects on individual workers.
© 2012 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.