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Journal Articles Journal of Insect Physiology Year : 2008

Immune response affects ant trophallactic behaviour.


Sociality is associated with many benefits that have favoured its evolution in social insects. However, sociability also presents disadvantages like crowding of large numbers of individuals, which may favour the spread of infections within colonies. Adaptations allowing social insects to prevent and/or control pathogen infections range from behavioural responses to physiological ones including their immune systems. In a state of infection, social interactions with nestmates should be altered in a way which might prevent its spreading. We simulated a microbial infection in workers of the ant Camponotus fellah by the administration of peptidoglycan (PGN) and then quantified their immune response and social interactions. PGN injections as well as control injections of Ringer solution elicited similar production of antibacterial compounds, during 1-4 days after. However, injections of PGN reduced the ability of encapsulation of a nylon implant compared to Ringer controls. The immune challenged workers did not decrease the level of interactions with their nestmates. On the contrary, they devoted more time to trophallaxis. These results are discussed in relation to ant life history traits.

Dates and versions

hal-00293384 , version 1 (04-07-2008)



Danival José de Souza, Johan van Vlaenderen, Yannick Moret, Alain Lenoir. Immune response affects ant trophallactic behaviour.. Journal of Insect Physiology, 2008, 54 (5), pp.828-832. ⟨10.1016/j.jinsphys.2008.03.001⟩. ⟨hal-00293384⟩
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