(480) 727-9425 Stephen.Pratt@asu.edu

Primer on how to paint mark ants

This video demonstrates how we encode unique identifications onto otherwise very similar looking ants. It serves as an instructional video for this very useful technique. It was produced by Andy Quitmeyer and written by Yohan Cho.

Tandem run recruitment by Temnothorax ants

During nest site selection, Temnothorax scouts use tandem runs to recruit one another to promising candidate sites. The successful scout emits a pheromone signal that attracts a single follower. The follower shows her continued presence by antennal contact with the abdomen of the leader, who frequenty stops to allow her follower to catch up. Tandem runs are also used to by foragers to recruit nestmates to rich sugary food.

Nestmate transport by Temnothorax ants

Once a quorum of scouts has arrived at a candidate site, scouts begin transporting the passive majority of their nestmates. This behavior is faster than tandem running, but tandem runs are likely much better at allowing the recruit to learn the route from the old to the new nest. This is important for scout ants, but not for the non-scouting workers, brood items, and queens who make up the bulk of transportees.

Collective food retrieval by ant teams

A team of Novomessor cockerelli foragers cooperatively retrieving a large fig chunk. The well-coordinated team is adept at crossing rough terrain and navigating around obstacles.

Cooperative retrieval of an artificial load.

A team of Novomessor cockerelli ants cooperatively retrieving an artificial load. The plastic load has been made attractive to the ants by rubbing it against a dried fig. The ants carry it to their nest, located to the left of the image about one meter away.

Cooperative transport around an obstacle

Novomessor cockerelli workers carry an artificial load past an obstacle on the way to their nest, located to the left of the image.