Senior Project Advisor
Peterson, Merrill A., 1965-
Atta cephalotes, A. cephalotes colonies, Foraging velocity
Efficient foraging methods are essential to colony survival in the leaf-cutting ant Atta cephalotes. One parameter of efficiency is the speed at which laden foragers return to the nest. This study examines the effects of ant size, load size, trail activity, and the number of collisions an ant incurs with other ants or objects on velocity for four A. cephalotes colonies in Costa Rica. Multiple linear regression analysis yielded a model which suggests that velocity decreases as loading index and the number of collisions increase. Results of a theoretical analysis using the regression model indicate that the ants select loads smaller than those which maximize the rate of leaf transport to the colony. Possible explanations for sub-optimal load selection are discussed. Additionally, no ants were observed to travel at velocities in the range 1.3-1.5 cm/s. This result differs from those of previous studies and warrants future research.
Buckingham, Kati, "An Investigation of Variables that Affect Foraging In the Leaf-Cutting Ant, Atta cephalotes (Formicidae)" (2003). WWU Honors College Senior Projects. 189.
Subjects - Topical (LCSH)
Leaf-cutting ants--Food; Leaf-cutting ants--Costa Rica
student projects; term papers
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