Problem solving in complex systems: collective chain formation and gap bridging in the weaver ant Oecophylla smaragdina

Robson, Simon, Kelly, Benjamin, Halloy, Jose, Deneubourg, Jean-Louis, and Crozier, Ross (2010) Problem solving in complex systems: collective chain formation and gap bridging in the weaver ant Oecophylla smaragdina. In: Abstracts for the XVI Congress of the International Union for the Study of Social Insect. p. 279. From: IUSSI 2010 XVI Congress of the International Union for the Study of Social Insect, 8-13 August 2010, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Abstract

The collective building activities of green tree ants is considered one of the most complex behaviours exhibited by social insects. Individuals join together to form chains to bridge gaps in the canopy, which can then be shortened to bring together foliage in order to construct their arboreal nests. Here we demonstrate that groups of green tree ants are capable of collectively discriminating gap distances and 'choosing' to bridge the shortest gap. We discuss the individual behavioral mechanisms that potentially underlie this group problem-solving capability and the relationship between behavioral subgroups and overall group decision-making efficiency. We also discuss a previously undetected collective group behaviour: column formation, in which ants combine to form living columns in order to bridge vertical gaps.

Item ID: 17006
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
ISBN: 978-87-92100-00-9
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Date Deposited: 10 May 2011 23:16
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060304 Ethology and Sociobiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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