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Body size variation of the ant Lasius niger along a metal pollution gradient

Authors
  • Grześ, Irena M.
  • Okrutniak, Mateusz
  • Gorzałczany, Monika
  • Piszczek, Piotr
Type
Published Article
Journal
Environmental Science and Pollution Research
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
May 07, 2019
Volume
26
Issue
17
Pages
17858–17864
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11356-019-04811-0
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

The phenotypic diversity of ant workers plays a fundamental role in their biology. In this study, we asked if the body size variation of monomorphic workers of the ant Lasius niger (Formicidae) responds adaptively to metal pollution in a post-mining metal-polluted area. Nest samples of workers were collected along a pollution gradient to calculate the within-colony variance in body size (expressed as maximum head width, HW). The results showed that the body size variation of L. niger was unrelated to the pollution index but demonstrated considerable variation between colonies even within the same study site. We suggest that the differences in morphological diversity between the colonies of L. niger could be shaped by colony personality traits, i.e., by colony-specific foraging and/or the feeding efficiency of nursing workers. The study supports previous findings, showing that morphological traits in Lasius ants are weakly related to environmental metal pollution.

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