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Psyche
Volume 2017, Article ID 4520109, 6 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4520109
Research Article

The First Workers of the Ant Camponotus obscuripes Are a Different Allometric Morph with Relatively Long Antennae to Communicate with Other Larger Colony Members

1Laboratory of Animal Ecology, Department of Ecology and Systematics, Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-8589, Japan
2Laboratory of Applied Entomology, Department of Agricultural and Environmental Biology, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan
3Institute of Entomology, Department of Ecology and Systematics, Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-8589, Japan
4Department of Neuropharmacology, Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan

Correspondence should be addressed to Eisuke Hasegawa; pj.ca.iadukoh.rga.ser@esahe

Received 30 March 2017; Revised 19 May 2017; Accepted 28 May 2017; Published 22 June 2017

Academic Editor: Abraham Hefetz

Copyright © 2017 Saori Watanabe et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The first workers produced by an ant queen with a claustral founding mode are much smaller than the workers after the second generation and are thus called “nanitics.” These nanitics shoulder the initial fate of the colony and thus may be different morphometric morph from the other workers in mature colony to optimize the survival of their own colony. We report here that, in the ant Camponotus obscuripes Mayr, the allometric rules of the nanitics are different from those of other workers in mature colonies, suggesting that the nanitics constitute an independent caste as with soldiers or queens in other species. In addition, the antennae of the nanitics show the minimum absolute length-difference with the mother queen compared to the other traits measured. This result suggests that this small size difference enables C. obscuripes nanitics to communicate with the other members of the colony. Our results indicate that polymorphic societies affect the growth rules of workers.