Preemptive Defensive Self-Sacrifice by Ant Workers

Tofilski, Adam, Couvillon, Margaret J, Evison, Sophie E F, Helanterä, Heikki, Robinson, Elva J H and Ratnieks, Francis L W (2008) Preemptive Defensive Self-Sacrifice by Ant Workers. American Naturalist, 172 (5). E239-E243. ISSN 0003-0147

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Abstract

Worker insects altruistically sacrifice their own reproduction to rear nondescendant kin. This sacrifice reaches its most spectacular level in suicidal colony defense. Suicidal defense, such as when the sting of a honeybee worker embeds in a predator and then breaks off, is normally a facultative response. Here we describe the first example of preemptive self-sacrifice in nest defense. In the Brazilian ant Forelius pusillus, the nest entrance is closed at sunset. One to eight workers finish the job from the outside and, in doing so, sacrifice their lives.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Subjects: Q Science
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Depositing User: Group 1045
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:37
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2012 12:16
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/17455
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