Open Access: CC BY 4.0


Csata, E. & Dussutour, A.

Year: 2019


Nutrient regulation in ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): a review

Journal: Myrmecological News

Volume: 29

Pages: 111-124

Type of contribution: Review Article

Supplementary material: No


As for all living organisms, the nutritional needs of ants change over time in response to varying environmental conditions and demands for growth, health, and reproduction. Solitary individuals regulate their nutritional intake to maintain an appropriate balance of nutrients by selectively choosing the quality and quantity of food that meet their nutritional requirements. For social organisms, such as ants, food collection for the entire colony relies on a few individuals whose nutritional requirements may be very different from those of other members of their colony. Recent studies have used an integrative framework, the “geometric framework”, to better understand how living organisms regulate macronutrient intake to defend a specific nutrient “intake target”. In this review, we first reveal how the geometric framework has been used to deepen our understanding of ant communal nutrition. Second, we describe how this framework might be used to also understand the nutritional strategies used by ants facing infection challenges. Lastly, we conclude with a brief discussion of the promising techniques that could be used in the future to improve our understanding of communal nutrition in ants.

Open access, licensed under CC BY 4.0. © 2019 The Author(s).

Key words: Ants, nutrition, geometric framework, food intake, parasite, review.

Publisher: The Austrian Society of Entomofaunistics

ISSN: 1997-3500

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