Effect of Temperature on Brood Relocation in Pogonomyrmex salinus (Hymenopteria: Formicidae)

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Brood movement in response to temperature by Pogonomyrmex salinus (seed-harvester ant) nurse workers was examined in the sagebrush steppe of southeast Idaho. Shading the mound surface of P. salinus colonies at dawn caused a decrease in mound temperature and led to significantly less brood accumulation near the surface. In a related experiment, a lab colony of P. salinus was offered an artificial thermal gradient during the cool/dark portion of the daily cycle. Nurse workers removed brood from the 21° --22° C range to soils with temperatures between 29° C and 36° C. Daily brood relocation by P. salinus nurse workers is a highly flexible behavior, capable of immediate response to temperature, and does not appear to follow a strict endogenous rhythm.

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