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Pupal cocoons affect sanitary brood care and limit fungal infections in ant colonies

Titelangaben

Tragust, Simon ; Ugelvig, Line V. ; Chapuisat, Michel ; Heinze, Jürgen ; Cremer, Sylvia:
Pupal cocoons affect sanitary brood care and limit fungal infections in ant colonies.
In: BMC Evolutionary Biology. Bd. 13 (14 Oktober 2013) . - No. 225.
ISSN 1471-2148
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-13-225

Abstract

Background: The brood of ants and other social insects is highly susceptible to pathogens, particularly those that penetrate the soft larval and pupal cuticle. We here test whether the presence of a pupal cocoon, which occurs in some ant species but not in others, affects the sanitary brood care and fungal infection patterns after exposure to the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum. We use a) a comparative approach analysing four species with either naked or cocooned pupae and b) a within-species analysis of a single ant species, in which both pupal types co-exist in the same colony. Results: We found that the presence of a cocoon did not compromise fungal pathogen detection by the ants and that species with cocooned pupae increased brood grooming after pathogen exposure. All tested ant species further removed brood from their nests, which was predominantly expressed towards larvae and naked pupae treated with the live fungal pathogen. In contrast, cocooned pupae exposed to live fungus were not removed at higher rates than cocooned pupae exposed to dead fungus or a sham control. Consistent with this, exposure to the live fungus caused high numbers of infections and fungal outgrowth in larvae and naked pupae, but not in cocooned pupae. Moreover, the ants consistently removed the brood prior to fungal outgrowth, ensuring a clean brood chamber. Conclusion: Our study suggests that the pupal cocoon has a protective effect against fungal infection, causing an adaptive change in sanitary behaviours by the ants. It further demonstrates that brood removal-originally described for honeybees as "hygienic behaviour"-is a widespread sanitary behaviour in ants, which likely has important implications on disease dynamics in social insect colonies.

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Publikationsform: Artikel in einer Zeitschrift
Begutachteter Beitrag: Ja
Zusätzliche Informationen: BAYCEER120880
Institutionen der Universität: Fakultäten > Fakultät für Biologie, Chemie und Geowissenschaften > Fachgruppe Biologie > Lehrstuhl Tierökologie I
Fakultäten > Fakultät für Biologie, Chemie und Geowissenschaften > Fachgruppe Biologie > Professur Populationsökologie der Tiere > Professur Populationsökologie der Tiere - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heike Feldhaar
Forschungseinrichtungen > Forschungszentren > Bayreuther Zentrum für Ökologie und Umweltforschung - BayCEER
Fakultäten
Fakultäten > Fakultät für Biologie, Chemie und Geowissenschaften
Fakultäten > Fakultät für Biologie, Chemie und Geowissenschaften > Fachgruppe Biologie
Fakultäten > Fakultät für Biologie, Chemie und Geowissenschaften > Fachgruppe Biologie > Professur Populationsökologie der Tiere
Forschungseinrichtungen
Forschungseinrichtungen > Forschungszentren
Titel an der UBT entstanden: Nein
Themengebiete aus DDC: 500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik > 500 Naturwissenschaften
500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik > 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik > 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Eingestellt am: 24 Apr 2015 09:11
Letzte Änderung: 24 Jan 2018 06:57
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/10869