Advanced

Behavioural syndromes at multiple scales in Myrmica ants

Chapman, Ben LU ; Thain, Harry; Coughlin, Jennifer and Hughes, William O. H. (2011) In Animal Behaviour 82(2). p.391-397
Abstract
Behavioural syndromes (correlations between suites of behavioural traits) have been documented in a wide range of animals and are important for the understanding of evolution and ecology. Previous research has focused primarily on behavioural syndromes composed of individual animals: we investigated behavioural syndromes at the individual, caste and colony levels in Myrmica ants. We first related an individual's position on a behavioural syndrome (i.e. its behavioural phenotype) to the role it took within the colony (i.e. its caste). At an individual level, behavioural phenotype was strongly related to task allocation: individuals from the patroller caste were bolder, more aggressive and more active than individuals from both the... (More)
Behavioural syndromes (correlations between suites of behavioural traits) have been documented in a wide range of animals and are important for the understanding of evolution and ecology. Previous research has focused primarily on behavioural syndromes composed of individual animals: we investigated behavioural syndromes at the individual, caste and colony levels in Myrmica ants. We first related an individual's position on a behavioural syndrome (i.e. its behavioural phenotype) to the role it took within the colony (i.e. its caste). At an individual level, behavioural phenotype was strongly related to task allocation: individuals from the patroller caste were bolder, more aggressive and more active than individuals from both the foraging-recruit and brood-carer castes, which did not differ from each other. Second, the patroller caste exhibited a boldness-aggression syndrome that was not present in brood carers. Finally, at a colony level, sociability was correlated with boldness. Colonies containing individuals that spent more time interacting with one another were also composed of individuals that responded boldly to an introduced alarm stimulus. Furthermore, the mean behavioural scores of the patroller and brood-carer castes were positively correlated in many key behaviours, including activity level, aggression, sociability and response to an alarm, which suggests that colonies were internally concordant (behaviourally consistent across castes). Our results show conclusively that ants exhibit behavioural syndromes not only at the individual level but also at the caste and colony levels. This raises the intriguing possibility that other highly social animal groups may similarly exhibit group-level behavioural syndromes. (C) 2011 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
behavioural phenotype, behavioural syndrome, colony behaviour, Myrmica, task allocation
in
Animal Behaviour
volume
82
issue
2
pages
391 - 397
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000292960400029
  • scopus:79960564526
ISSN
1095-8282
DOI
10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.05.019
project
CAnMove
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
da6fc9d9-ace6-4e08-9c07-030a4c332a47 (old id 2092782)
date added to LUP
2011-08-25 13:35:22
date last changed
2017-08-13 03:12:25
@article{da6fc9d9-ace6-4e08-9c07-030a4c332a47,
  abstract     = {Behavioural syndromes (correlations between suites of behavioural traits) have been documented in a wide range of animals and are important for the understanding of evolution and ecology. Previous research has focused primarily on behavioural syndromes composed of individual animals: we investigated behavioural syndromes at the individual, caste and colony levels in Myrmica ants. We first related an individual's position on a behavioural syndrome (i.e. its behavioural phenotype) to the role it took within the colony (i.e. its caste). At an individual level, behavioural phenotype was strongly related to task allocation: individuals from the patroller caste were bolder, more aggressive and more active than individuals from both the foraging-recruit and brood-carer castes, which did not differ from each other. Second, the patroller caste exhibited a boldness-aggression syndrome that was not present in brood carers. Finally, at a colony level, sociability was correlated with boldness. Colonies containing individuals that spent more time interacting with one another were also composed of individuals that responded boldly to an introduced alarm stimulus. Furthermore, the mean behavioural scores of the patroller and brood-carer castes were positively correlated in many key behaviours, including activity level, aggression, sociability and response to an alarm, which suggests that colonies were internally concordant (behaviourally consistent across castes). Our results show conclusively that ants exhibit behavioural syndromes not only at the individual level but also at the caste and colony levels. This raises the intriguing possibility that other highly social animal groups may similarly exhibit group-level behavioural syndromes. (C) 2011 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.},
  author       = {Chapman, Ben and Thain, Harry and Coughlin, Jennifer and Hughes, William O. H.},
  issn         = {1095-8282},
  keyword      = {behavioural phenotype,behavioural syndrome,colony behaviour,Myrmica,task allocation},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {391--397},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Animal Behaviour},
  title        = {Behavioural syndromes at multiple scales in Myrmica ants},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.05.019},
  volume       = {82},
  year         = {2011},
}