Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Eficiencia de forrajeo y el polimorfismo de la casta submayor en E. burchellii



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Publication Date

May 2011


Army ants are superefficient in their retrieval of prey. There are four distinct worker castes in Eciton burchellii each important to the high efficiency of foraging. When prey is too large for an individual it is segmented by workers into manageable pieces then conveyed to the bivouac. Workers carrying prey were collected to determine the relationship between prey size and the worker(s) carrying prey as well as examine prey as an evolutionary pressure for selection of the submajor caste. Results show length and width are poor determinants of which caste is performing the retrieval task, as all castes are equally as likely to carry prey of any size. Prey biomass was shown to be a significant factor in determining which caste carried which prey, with the submajor caste carrying the heaviest of prey items.


Las hormigas arrieras son muy eficientes en la recuperación de presas. Existen cuatro castas diferentes en Eciton burchellii cada una importante para la alta eficiencia en el forrajeo. Cuando una presa es muy grande para un solo individuo, las hormigas la dividen en pedazos manejables y así transportados al bivouac. Las obreras que cargan presas que ellos colectan para determinar la relación entre el tamaño de las presas que las obreras cargan como una fuerza evolucionaria a la selección de la casta submayor. Los resultados muestran que mientras el largo y el ancho son factores no determinantes en cual casta realiza la recolección, todas las castas son igualmente capaces de cargar presas de cualquier tamaño. La biomasa de las presas resulto ser el factor significativo en la determinación de cual casta carga cual presa, con la casta submayor cargando las presas más pesadas.


Army ants, Ants--Behavior, CIEE Spring 2011

Palabras claves

Hormigas Arrieras, Hormigas--Comportamiento, CIEE Primavera 2011


6 pages

Geographic Location

San Luis (Puntarenas, Costa Rica)

Holding Location

Monteverde Institute


English; Spanish

Media Type



Digital Only





Foraging efficiency and polymorphism of the submajor caste in E. burchellii, May 2011



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