Tuesday, December 12, 2006 - 3:59 PM

Impact of foraging distance on nutrient selection by black carpenter ants, Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Donny Oswalt, doswalt@clemson.edu, Eric P. Benson, ebenson@clemson.edu, and Patricia A. Zungoli, pnzl@clemson.edu. Clemson University, Entomology, Soils, and Plant Sciences, 114 Long Hall, Clemson, SC

Nutritional selectiveness by foraging workers with regards to distance traveled has been reported for several species of ants. Generally speaking, central place foraging contends that the nutritional value of the food item selected should correspondingly increase with distance traveled to the food item. Camponotus pennsylvanicus, being an omnivorous feeder, should exhibit this behavior with respect to both carbohydrate and protein foraging, but this theory has yet to be tested with this species. To test the effects of distance on carbohydrate and protein selection, feeding stations were placed at various intervals along foraging trails. Within each distance variable concentrations of sucrose or protein solutions were placed in Petri dishes, along with distilled water as a control. At each distance data were taken to determine if there is a time/distance effect on nutritional selectivity of the food source, opting for higher concentrations at longer distances.

Species 1: Hymenoptera formicidae Camponotus pennsylvanicus (black carpenter ant)