By Deborah M. Gordon
How do ant colonies get whatever performed, while nobody is accountable? An ant colony operates with out a relevant keep watch over or hierarchy, and no ant directs one other. as a substitute, ants come to a decision what to do in accordance with the speed, rhythm, and development of person encounters and interactions--resulting in a dynamic community that coordinates the services of the colony. Ant Encounters offers a revealing and available inspect ant habit from this complicated structures perspective.
targeting the moment-to-moment habit of ant colonies, Deborah Gordon investigates the function of interplay networks in regulating colony habit and kinfolk between ant colonies. She exhibits how ant habit inside and among colonies arises from neighborhood interactions of people, and the way interplay networks boost as a colony grows older and bigger. The extra speedily ants react to their encounters, the extra sensitively the complete colony responds to altering stipulations. Gordon explores even if such reactive networks aid a colony to outlive and reproduce, how typical choice shapes colony networks, and the way those buildings evaluate to different analogous advanced structures.
Ant Encounters sheds mild at the organizational habit, ecology, and evolution of those varied and ubiquitous social insects.
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Additional info for Ant Encounters: Interaction Networks and Colony Behavior
The other two might turn out to be doing something you never thought of. Ant colonies perform many different tasks. A few tasks are common to almost all species of ants. Ants leave the nest, find food, and bring it back. They build the nest and repair it. They feed and groom the larvae, and they move the pupae around. Ants do an astonishing variety of other things as well. Colony Organization To list just a few, ants weave nests out of silk spun by larvae; act as farmers by collecting leaves and feeding them to a fungus that the ants eat; protect aphids and eat the sugary liquid that the aphids secrete; kill plants by injecting them with formic acid; move from one nest to another, carrying all the stored food along; and conduct long raids across the forest, capturing all the insect prey they encounter along the way.
Ants accomplish marvelous feats of engineering. 2 The fungus-growing ant Atta texana and the fire ant Solenopsis invicta make elaborate underground tunnels to take foragers to their destinations. 3 We know of many amazing things that ants do, and still, anyone who watches ants is in for surprises. Trails of leafcutter ants, collecting leaves to feed their fungus gardens, look like a fleet of tiny sailboats, the ants carrying pointed bits of cut leaves high above their heads. But the first time I saw a leaf-cutter ant in the wild, it was dragging a caterpillar back to the nest.
To turn from models back to real ants, the notion of ‘emergence’ reminds us that to understand an ant colony’s behavior, we need to know more than the characteristics of each ant. In the reductionist paradigm, each ant is independently programmed to perform a task. If ant colonies really worked this way, it would be sufficient to know the program for each ant, and a complete list would fully specify the behavior of the colony. But we now know that the behavior of an ant also depends on its interactions with other ants.