September 25, 2023
Ants Stocking Prey Halfway as a Gathering Strategy - Jornal da USP

Ants Stocking Prey Halfway as a Gathering Strategy – Jornal da USP

The study sought to understand the role of this structure in the search for species. Researchers believe this behavior could be more complex and creative than previously thought. One hypothesis was that workers carrying only one prey could deposit it and return to the attacking nest to collect more food, while workers carrying two or more prey could go directly to the makeshift camp – a way to save flights and maximize prey collection.

Through computer simulations, it was tested whether the cache could improve the efficiency of prey collection and assess the contexts in which this could occur. The attacks of ants without forming caches on the foraging paths were simulated, in a comparative manner.

“We realized, through simulations, that the cache actually maximizes food collection, especially when there are few workers available,” says the author. In contrast to the mechanized process, the study showed that bunkers are adapted forms that military ants evolved to gather as much food as possible in a single attack. Once they find a nest to invade, a few capable workers start a race to steal the eggs and larvae, before the prey escapes and defends itself. “In this chaos, a bunker is a structure where an army ant worker can safely deposit their prey and return quickly to collect more prey, improving collection even when there are few workers to do the job,” he adds.