Recruitment behavior in Camponotus socius (Hym. Formicidae)

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114 Scopus citations


1. Scout ants of Camponotus socius set chemical "sign posts" (hindgut material) around newly discovered food sources. They lay a hindgut trail from the food source to the nest, however the hindgut material does not have a recruitment effect on nestmates. 2. Inside the nest the recruiting ant performs a "waggle" motor display when facing nestmates head on. The vibrations with the head and thorax last 0.5-1.5 seconds (6-12 strokes in a second) (Fig. 5). Nestmates are alerted by this behavior and subsequently follow the recruiting leader ant to the food source. Up to approximately 30 ants can be stimulated successively during one recruitment performance inside the nest. 3. Mass foraging is organized by the behavioral activity of individual recruiting ants. 4. By closing the abdominal tips of recruiting ants with collophonium wax it was possible to separate the "waggle" display from the chemical signals. Thereby it could be shown that only those ants which were stimulated by a recruiting ant would follow an artificial hindgut trail. 5. A leader ant is important to keep the recruited followers excited. It was possible to replace the leader ant by a microsyringe which discharged a mixture of poison gland secretion and hindgut material. Hindgut material seems to serve as long lasting orientation signals whereas poison gland content or formic acid respectively keeps the followers excited. 6. Essentially the same behavioral patterns are involved during recruitment to new nest sites. The main differences are that the motor display is more a "jerking" movement (Fig. 11), furthermore males are also recruited and do respond to the signals and finally that non-responding nestmates are carried to the target area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-142
Number of pages20
JournalZeitschrift für Vergleichende Physiologie
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1971
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Physiology (medical)


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