Egg-Laying Behavior of Cataglyphis niger Ants Is Influenced More Strongly by Temperature Than Daylength

Adi Bar, Lior Shalev, Inon Scharf*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Temperature and photoperiod are the two most important factors that affect all aspects of animal life. We conducted two experiments to examine the effect of temperature and photoperiod on egg laying and development in the desert ant Cataglyphis niger. In the first experiment, we examined the effect of decreasing temperatures and shortening daylength on egg-laying behavior. An additional treatment was exposure to natural autumn conditions. Decreasing temperatures impaired egg laying much more than shortening daylength. The effect, however, was rapidly reversible when raising the temperature. When the outdoor treatment was brought inside the lab at a suitable temperature, queens started laying eggs as well. In the second experiment, we first kept the colonies under warmer temperatures and moved them gradually to cooler temperatures, 1–20 days after the eggs were laid. The probability of eggs developing into larvae and pupae under cooler temperatures was positively influenced by the exposure duration to warmer temperatures before the temperature switch. When the eggs developed into larvae, longer exposure to warmer temperatures before the temperature switch led to faster development. However, when the eggs disappeared (and were probably eaten), longer exposure to warmer temperatures before the temperature switch led to slower egg disappearance. We suggest that the decision to lay eggs is reversible to some extent because the workers can consume the eggs if conditions deteriorate. We suggest that this reversibility reduces the cost of laying eggs at the wrong time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1714
JournalBiology
Volume11
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Funding

FundersFunder number
Deutsche ForschungsgemeinschaftFO 298/31-1

    Keywords

    • climate
    • desert ants
    • development time
    • oophagy
    • oviposition
    • seasonality

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