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Seasonal patterns in the orientation system of the migratory ant Pachycondyla marginata

Author:
Acosta-Avalos, Daniel, Esquivel, Darci M., Wajnberg, Eliane, Lins de Barros, Henrique G., Oliveira, Paulo S., Leal, Inara
Source:
Naturwissenschaften 2001 v.88 no.8 pp. 343-346
ISSN:
0028-1042
Subject:
Pachycondyla, abdomen, cold, cold season, forest reserves, head, iron oxides, migratory behavior, seasonal variation, tropics, Brazil
Abstract:
Route directions of migrations by the neotropical termite-hunting ant Pachycondyla marginata at a forest reserve in Southeast Brazil were analysed by circular statistic. Colony movement patterns were compared between the rainy/hot and dry/cold seasons. Migrations during the dry/cold season are significantly oriented 13° with the magnetic North–South axis, while rainy/hot migrations do not exhibit a preferred direction. This result is discussed considering the hypothesis that P. marginata ants may use the geomagnetic field as an orientation cue for migrations in the dry/cold season. The presence of magnetic iron oxides in the head and abdomen of P. marginata is consistent with this suggestion.
Agid:
246506