TitleThe Antsy Social Network: Determinants of Nest Structure and Arrangement in Asian Weaver Ants.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsDevarajan K
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2016

Asian weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) are arboreal ants that are known to form mutualistic complexes with their host trees. They are eusocial ants that build elaborate nests in the canopy in tropical areas. A colony comprises of multiple nests, usually on multiple trees, and the boundaries of the colony may be difficult to identify. However, they provide the ideal model for studying group living in invertebrates since there are a definite number of nests for a given substrate, the tree. Here, we briefly examine the structure of the nests and the processes involved in the construction and maintenance of these nests. We have described the spatial arrangement of weaver ant nests on trees in two distinct tropical clusters, a few hundred kilometres apart in India. Measurements were made for 13 trees with a total of 71 nests in the two field sites. We have considered a host of biotic and abiotic factors that may be crucial in determining the location of the nesting site by Asian weaver ants. Our results indicate that tree characteristics and architecture followed by leaf features help determine nest location in Asian weaver ants. While environmental factors may not be as influential to nest arrangement, they seem to be important determinants of nest structure. The parameters that may be considered in establishing the nests could be crucial in picking the evolutionary drivers for colonial living in social organisms.

Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
PubMed ID27271037
PubMed Central IDPMC4896424