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Bates College

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to observe novel nest characteristics of Dorylus molestus (Siafu), as well as their defensive behavior in response to varied disturbance methods. The number of defensive soldiers at a specific section of a column was counted before and after each agitation. Varied agitation methods were used on columns without larvae presence to test how soldiers responded to different disturbance types. Disturbances on columns with larvae presence were compared to those on columns without larvae. Nest distribution, behavior, composition, and size were observed objectively. Mechanical disturbance was found to incite the greatest increase in defensive soldier presence. Columns with larvae presence had a greater increase in soldier presence than columns without larvae present. Nests were largest in areas with the greatest protection and cover, and were found most commonly in areas of fragmentation. The ants possess complicated modes of communication through chemical reception, and are able to relay specific reactions to each other in response to varied types of agitation. Also, this species possesses a key role in the balance of the ecosystem, specifically with prey populations. The importance of Siafu behaviors in conjunction with the rapidly changing ecology of the region could have serious implications for agricultural practices and prey population dynamics.

Disciplines

Agriculture | Biosecurity | Climate | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Entomology

 

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