Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Eciton burchelli : polimorfismo de las principales sub-castas y la eficiencia de forrajeos




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Publication Date

May 2009


Due to the link between efficiency and fitness, there should be selective pressure for morphology and behavior that promotes foraging efficiency. Among social insects, selective pressures act on individuals, shaping the physical castes of a colony. The highly polymorphic army ant, Eciton burchellii, has castes with morphological adaptations to allow task specialization. This study investigates what selective pressures are acting to shape the polymorphism of the submajor caste in E. burchellii. Ants were collected to find a relationship between ant caste and the prey’s biomass, width, and length. Results show that prey width is the greatest pressure effecting transportation efficiency, and in turn, shaping the evolution of the specialized porter caste (i.e., submajor). Results also indicate that of all the castes, submajors are found to be the most morphologically different and they carry the most different sized prey. Possible explanations to Eciton’s physically exaggerated submajor caste include their outstanding need of transport efficiency and unique prey preferences. Este estudio investiga que presiones selectivas actúan moldeando el polimorfismo de la casta submayor en E. burchelli. Las hormigas fueron colectadas para encontrar una relación entre la casta, la biomasa, la anchura y la longitud de la presa.


Ants--Behavior, Hormigas--Comportamiento, Genetic polymorphisms, Polimorfismos geneticos, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone--San Luis, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde--San Luis, CIEE Spring 2009, CIEE Primavera 2009


Student affiliation : Department of Biology, University of Rhode Island Born Digital

Subject: topical

Ants--Behavior; Hormigas--Comportamiento; Genetic polymorphisms; Polimorfismos geneticos; CIEE Spring 2009; CIEE Primavera 2009

Subject: geographic

Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone--San Luis; Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde--San Luis



Holding Location

Monteverde Institute MVI



Eciton burchellii  :  polymorphism of submajor caste and foraging efficiency



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