Original Article

No evidence for a dominance-discovery trade-off among Formica pratensis colonies (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Jordan, R. & Blüthgen, N.

Abstract: The trade-off between behavioural dominance and resource discovery ability is known to be an important consequence of asymmetric interspecific competition in ant communities. This paper tested the hypothesis that such a tradeoff occurs between nests from the same species in a population of wood ants, Formica pratensis Retzius, 1783, specifically between large nests as potential dominants and small nests as potential submissives. This hypothesis was refuted. Workers of smaller nests did not significantly locate baits faster than workers of larger nests when appropriately controlled for prior activity. Different reasons are discussed, and we suggest that the current level of intraspecific competition is too weak and colony density too low to promote the divergence of foraging strategies within this population.