Mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies – Department of Biology - University of Copenhagen

Social Evolution > Videos > Mercenary ants protect...

29 November 2013

Mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies

Megalomyrmex symmetochus guest ants protect their Sericomyrmex amabilis host from Gnamptogenys raiders by recruiting nestmates from their cavity (cavity shown is open because it was built against the roof of the nest box). The guest ants fight the raiders with alkaloid weaponry that is toxic and causes the invaders to attack one another. Filming and editing by Anders Illum. Written by Rachelle Adams and Anders Illum.

Adams, RMM, Liberti, J, Illum, A, Jones, TH, Nash, D, Boomsma, J J (2013) Chemically armed mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110(39): 15752-7 doi: 10.1073/iti3913110