Graded recruitment in a ponerine ant

Michael D. Breed, Jennifer H. Fewell, Allen J. Moore, Kristina R. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


(1) The giant tropical ant, Paraponera clavata, exhibits graded recruitment responses, depending on the type, quantity, and quality of a food source. More ants are initially recruited to a large prey or scavenge item than to a large quantity of sugar water. (2) Individual ants encountering prey items gauge the size and/or unwieldiness of the item, regardless of the weight, when determining whether to recruit. (3) The trail pheromone of this species is often used as an orientation device by individual ants, independent of recruitment of nestmates. (4) It is proposed that the foraging behavior of P. clavata represents one of the evolutionary transitions from the independent foraging activities of the primitive ants to the highly coordinated cooperative foraging activities of many "higher" ants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-411
Number of pages5
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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