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Seasonal and temporal variations in colony-level foraging activity of a queenless ant, Diacamma sp., in Japan

Win, Aye T., Machida, Yuto, Miyamoto, Yoshihiro, Dobata, Shigeto, Tsuji, Kazuki
Journal of ethology 2018 v.36 no.3 pp. 277-282
Diacamma, autumn, circadian rhythm, environmental factors, foraging, spring, temperature, temporal variation, winter, Japan
We investigated colony-level foraging activities of Diacamma sp., a queenless ponerine ant, in the field. Our aim was to elucidate the presence of any pattern in foraging activity in field colonies in relation to: (1) circadian rhythm, (2) physical environmental conditions such as extreme temperatures, (3) seasonality, and (4) short-term foraging efficiency (i.e. the success ratio in obtaining food per foraging trip). Colony-level foraging activity tended to be diurnal throughout the year, as more foraging trips were observed in the daytime. Although temperature had no linear effect on overall foraging activity, lower temperature precluded foraging at night. Overall, foraging was more frequent at times of day when foraging efficiency was high, but this relationship was weak and varied seasonally. Interestingly, we found that hourly foraging efficiency and hourly foraging activity were negatively correlated in autumn, the season when the average foraging efficiency peaked, whereas they were positively correlated in winter and spring.