Functional and mechanistic diversity in ant tandem communication

Nobuaki Mizumoto, Yasunari Tanaka, Gabriele Valentini, Thomas O. Richardson, Sumana Annagiri, Stephen C. Pratt, Hiroyuki Shimoji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Communication is fundamental to the organization of animal societies, often resulting in the convergent evolution of similar social behavior across lineages. However, this similarity may conceal underlying functional and mechanistic differences. Here we combined network and information-theoretic analysis to quantify how tandem recruitment is distinguishable between two ant genera, Temnothorax and Diacamma. We show that Temnothorax uses tandem running to recruit additional recruiters, while Diacamma uses it principally to move the passive majority of their colony, a task that Temnothorax accomplishes with a different behavior, social carrying. Accordingly, the network structure of Diacamma tandems was dissimilar to that of Temnothorax, instead resembling the social-carrying networks in Temnothorax. Furthermore, our information-theoretical analysis on movement trajectories revealed that Diacamma tandem runs lack bidirectional information transfer, the signature of route learning in Temnothorax. By quantifying the diversity of similar communication systems, this study increases the resolution of our understanding of animal societies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106418
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 21 2023


  • Entomology
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Zoology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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