Ant foraging strategies vary along a natural resource gradient

Submitted by editor on 6 October 2020.Get the paper!

Ant foraging strategies vary along a natural resource gradient - Segev et al. (2020)

Food selectivity by foragers has been shown to be affected by its availability in a patch. However, such food availability and its selection by foragers could also vary along geographical gradients. In our new paper “Ant foraging strategies vary along a natural resource gradient”, we addressed this hypothesis by studying the foraging decisions of harvester ants of the genus Messor at both natural and artificial seed food patches along a geographical gradient of habitat productivity.

A Messor arenarius forager from one of the arid sites of the study, carrying an Astragalus hamosus fruit.

Our results reveal that the selectivity of harvester ants differs according to seed resource availability in sites along the gradient. Moreover, harvester ants exhibited shifts in their foraging strategies along the gradient, which could result in important implications on plant species composition.

Pictures from the cafeteria experiment, showing artificial food patches placed 3 m from a nest entrance (A). The patches comprise barley seeds of three size classes in Petri dishes (B) that are visited here by Messor semirufus foragers (C).


Written by: Udi Segev

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