Ants Complex Adaptive Systems, CS 591 April 16, 2008 Prof. Melanie Moses. Basic Ant Biology. All ants are eusocial The colony is the unit of selection Queen(s): reproducers, not masterminds Reproductives: winged male and female alates Workers: female, short lived compared to queens
AntsComplex Adaptive Systems, CS 591 April 16, 2008Prof. Melanie Moses
“Lean against a tree almost anywhere, and the first creature that crawls on you will probably be an ant.” Holldobler and Wilson, Journey to the Ants (1995)
Photos by Steven Holt
Photos by Alex Wild
SWRS, Portal, AZ
“Human societies send their young men to war, and colonies send their old ladies.” Holldobler and Wilson, The Ants (1990)
Old workers take on dangerous tasks
Many spp have morphological differences in castes
Trend toward increasing caste differentiation in large colonies
2003 & 2004
2003 Portal, AZ
Workers organize to increase the survival and reproduction of the colony without central control
Colony metabolism is determined by foraging success:
foragers collect all of the food that the colony consumes
Colony population size ranges from 10 to 10 million
There are costs and benefits to increased size
How does colony size influence acquisition of energy and information?
How do foraging networks scale with the size of the colony?
How does network scaling affect colony behavior?
Model and field study of Pogonomyrmex (seed harvesting ants)
Longer foraging trips require more energy & reduce energy intake rates