Polymorphism and size-pairing in the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex badius : a test of the ecological release hypothesis
- 1) Department of Biology, Boston University, 5 Cummington Street, 02215, Boston, MA, USA
The role of caste polymorphism in the foraging strategy ofPogonomyrmex badius was studied in the field by measuring food items collected by foragers, and correlating food item size variables with forager size variables. The diet ofP. badius included seeds and insects. In two colonies examined, these food types comprised different proportions of the diet sample. Although some forager size variables showed close or significant correlations with food item size variables, we could identify no overall significant relationship between worker size and seed or prey size. Polymorphism inP. badius may be associated with omnivory. However, since minor workers serve as foragers and represent a portion of the total worker size variation, dietary expansion through caste proliferation appears to be only one aspect of the functional significance of polymorphism in this species.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Insect Science
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics