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Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher K. Starr

Brood Stimulation Hypothesis

  • Kaitlin M. BaudierEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_16-1

Synonyms

Brood stimulation theory

A distinctive feature of the colony cycle in some army ants is an alternation between a nomadic phase in which the colony emigrates frequently and a statary phase in which the colony remains in place for longer periods. During an emigration the workers carry brood to a new temporary nesting site known as a “bivouac” (Fig. 1). The transition from the statary to the nomadic phase was previously supposed to be a simple, direct result of exhaustion of the local food supply. Against this, it was originally proposed by Theodore C. Schneirla that transitions between phases are triggered by developmental changes in the colony’s synchronous brood, rather than environmental circumstances or an endogenous rhythm of the adult ants (the brood stimulation hypothesis; [ 8, 9]). Schneirla suggested that hungry, simultaneously hatching larvae abruptly increase the colony’s demand for food, signaling adult workers to forage and emigrate frequently in order to avoid...
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References

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    Baudier, K. M., & O’Donnell, S. (2016). Structure and thermal biology of subterranean army ant bivouacs in tropical montane forests. Insectes Sociaux, 63, 467–476.
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    Schneirla, T. (1950). The relationship between observation and experimentation in the field study of behavior. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 51, 1022–1044.
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    Schneirla, T. C. (1971). Army ants: A study in social organization. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman. 349 pp.
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    Schneirla, T. C., Brown, R. Z., & Brown, F. C. (1954). The bivouac or temporary nest as an adaptive factor in certain terrestrial species of army ants. Ecological Monographs, 24, 269–296.
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    Topoff, H., Mirenda, J., Droual, R., & Herrick, S. (1980). Onset of the nomadic phase in the army ant Neivamyrmex nigrescens (Cresson) (Hym. Form.): Distinguishing between callow and larval excitation by brood substitution. Insectes Sociaux, 27, 175–179.
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    Ulrich, Y., Burns, D., Libbrecht, R., & Kronauer, D. J. (2016). Ant larvae regulate worker foraging behavior and ovarian activity in a dose-dependent manner. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 70, 1011–1018.
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    Wang, Y. J., & Happ, G. M. (1974). Larval development during the nomadic phase of a nearctic army ant, Neivamyrmex nigrescens (Cresson) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). International Journal of Insect Morphology and Embryology, 3, 73–86.
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    Wilson, E. O. (1971). The insect societies. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 548 pp.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social Insect Research Group, School of Life SciencesArizona State University TempeUSA