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Construction of nest mound and preference for it during relocation in an Indian ant Diacamma indicum

In: Behaviour
Authors:
Kushankur Bhattacharyya Behaviour and Ecology Lab, Department of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) — Kolkata, Nadia, West Bengal — 741246, India

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Sumana Annagiri Behaviour and Ecology Lab, Department of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) — Kolkata, Nadia, West Bengal — 741246, India

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Abstract

Ants living in subterranean nests face the challenge of nest flooding and require to combat this recurring issue. The tropical Ponerine ant species, Diacamma indicum, living in simple nests with a single chamber, was used in the current study to examine mound building in the lab. Upon stimulating rain ( N = 13 colonies) they built significantly larger nest mounds as compared to controls. Nest mounds proved to be important to colonies that had experienced rain while relocating. Relocating colonies showed significantly higher preference for new nests with mounds (12/13) when choosing between two equidistant, similar quality potential new nests in contrast to control relocations. To the best of our knowledge this study for the first-time documents mound building behaviour in any Ponerine species in laboratory conditions and introduces nest mounds as another architectural feature of interest to relocating colonies.

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