Preprint Article Version 1 NOT YET PEER-REVIEWED

Discovering the Giant Nest Architecture of Grass-Cutting Ants, Atta capiguara (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

Version 1 : Received: 8 February 2017 / Approved: 9 February 2017 / Online: 9 February 2017 (06:56:39 CET)

How to cite: Forti, L.; Protti de Andrade, A.; da Silva Camargo, R.; Caldato, N.; Moreira, A. Discovering the Giant Nest Architecture of Grass-Cutting Ants, Atta capiguara (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Preprints 2017, 2017020027 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201702.0027.v1). Forti, L.; Protti de Andrade, A.; da Silva Camargo, R.; Caldato, N.; Moreira, A. Discovering the Giant Nest Architecture of Grass-Cutting Ants, Atta capiguara (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Preprints 2017, 2017020027 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201702.0027.v1).

Abstract

Atta capiguara is a grass-cutting ant species frequently found in Cerrado biome. However, little is known about the giant nest architecture of this ant. In this study, we investigated the architecture of three A. capiguara nests from the fragment of cerrado in Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil. Casts were made of the nests by filling them with cement to permit better visualization of internal structures such as chambers and tunnels. After excavation, the depth and dimensions (length, width, and height) of the chambers were measured. The results showed the typical shape of Atta capiguara nests consisting of mounds of loose soil with unique features resembling a conic section. The fungus chambers were found outside the apparent main part of the nest and were spaced apart and distributed laterally at ground level. The waste chambers were located beneath the largest mound of loose soil. Both the fungus and waste chambers exhibited a sectoral distribution. Our study contributes to a better understanding of the so far unknown nest architecture of the grass-cutting ant A. capiguara.

Subject Areas

grass-cutting ants; social insects; nest

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