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Comparison of Twelve Ant Species and Their Susceptibility to Fungal Infection

Authors
  • bos, nick
  • kankaanpää-kukkonen, viljami
  • freitak, dalial
  • stucki, dimitri
  • sundström, liselotte
Publication Date
Aug 26, 2019
Source
MDPI
Keywords
Language
English
License
Green
External links

Abstract

Eusocial insects, such as ants, have access to complex disease defenses both at the individual, and at the colony level. However, different species may be exposed to different diseases, and/or deploy different methods of coping with disease. Here, we studied and compared survival after fungal exposure in 12 species of ants, all of which inhabit similar habitats. We exposed the ants to two entomopathogenic fungi (Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium brunneum), and measured how exposure to these fungi influenced survival. We furthermore recorded hygienic behaviors, such as autogrooming, allogrooming and trophallaxis, during the days after exposure. We found strong differences in autogrooming behavior between the species, but none of the study species performed extensive allogrooming or trophallaxis under the experimental conditions. Furthermore, we discuss the possible importance of the metapleural gland, and how the secondary loss of this gland in the genus Camponotus could favor a stronger behavioral response against pathogen threats.

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