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Mound Temperatures of the Ant Formica Ulkei Emery

Gerald Scherba
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 67, No. 2 (Apr., 1962), pp. 373-385
DOI: 10.2307/2422715
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2422715
Page Count: 13
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Mound Temperatures of the Ant Formica Ulkei Emery
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Abstract

The temperature characteristics of mound nests of Formica ulkei were compared with those of the undisturbed soil in an attempt to test the hypothesis that one function of mound nest construction is the regulation of environmental temperature. The results of temperature measurement were consistent with this hypothesis and indicate that mound temperatures represent a modification of the temperature regime existing in the soil. Mound temperatures differed from those in the soil by being higher, fluctuating seasonally over a wider range, and presenting a wider temperature difference at noon between the depths of 5 cm and 30 cm than exist in the soil at comparable depths over the same period of time. This thermoregulation, which exists during the warmer months only, appears to be a direct consequence of the action of solar radiation on the mound structure. However, the possible roles of physiological heat production and behavior patterns in regulating mound temperatures are discussed.

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