Adorning the dead or hiding the ration? The ant Plagiolepis pallescens Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) constructs walls around food items
Keywords:Hymenoptera, Formicidae, ants, behaviour, etology, foraging, Israel, Mediterranean, Middle East
The ant Plagiolepis pallescens Forel, 1889 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), common to the Middle East (Martinez & Amar 2014; Pashaei Rad et al. 2018), was found to build walls around food items that they were not hoarding, suggesting a concealment behavior. The ants were first discovered to build relatively massive structures under a garden tree, Triadica sebifera, in Givat Ada, Israel, by piling flowers around dead cockroaches. An experiment with eight different colonies of the ant species found that construction materials were not limited to flowers. It is hypothesized that structures built by the ants around food items provide visual and olfactory concealment.
Supplementary video: https://vimeo.com/445477431
To cite: Shanas, U. 2021. Adorning the dead or hiding the ration? The ant Plagiolepis pallescens Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) constructs walls around food items. Israel Journal of Entomology 51: 73–75.
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