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Mandible-Powered Escape Jumps in Trap-Jaw Ants Increase Survival Rates during Predator-Prey Encounters.

Published on May 13, 2015in PLOS ONE 2.78
· DOI :10.1371/journal.pone.0124871
Fredrick J. Larabee5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Smithsonian Institution),
Andrew V. Suarez45
Estimated H-index: 45
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
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Abstract
Animals use a variety of escape mechanisms to increase the probability of surviving predatory attacks. Antipredator defenses can be elaborate, making their evolutionary origin unclear. Trap-jaw ants are known for their rapid and powerful predatory mandible strikes, and some species have been observed to direct those strikes at the substrate, thereby launching themselves into the air away from a potential threat. This potential escape mechanism has never been examined in a natural context. We studied the use of mandible-powered jumping in Odontomachus brunneus during their interactions with a common ant predator: pit-building antlions. We observed that while trap-jaw ant workers escaped from antlion pits by running in about half of interactions, in 15% of interactions they escaped by mandible-powered jumping. To test whether escape jumps improved individual survival, we experimentally prevented workers from jumping and measured their escape rate. Workers with unrestrained mandibles escaped from antlion pits significantly more frequently than workers with restrained mandibles. Our results indicate that some trap-jaw ant species can use mandible-powered jumps to escape from common predators. These results also provide a charismatic example of evolutionary co-option, where a trait that evolved for one function (predation) has been co-opted for another (defense).
  • References (34)
  • Citations (8)
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References34
Newest
Published on Jan 1, 2014in Myrmecological News 2.62
Fredrick J. Larabee5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Smithsonian Institution),
Andrew V. Suarez45
Estimated H-index: 45
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
We review the biology of trap-jaw ants whose highly specialized mandibles generate extreme speeds and forces for predation and defense. Trap-jaw ants are characterized by elongated, power-amplified mandibles and use a combination of latches and springs to generate some of the fastest animal movements ever recorded. Remarkably, trap jaws have evolved at least four times in three subfamilies of ants. In this review, we discuss what is currently known about the evolution, morphology, kinematics, an...
18 Citations
Published on Jan 1, 2014in MSOR connections
R Core Team1
Estimated H-index: 1
113k Citations
Published on Jun 1, 2013in Southeastern Naturalist 0.40
Mark Deyrup18
Estimated H-index: 18
(Archbold Biological Station),
Leif D. Deyrup6
Estimated H-index: 6
,
James E. Carrel16
Estimated H-index: 16
(MU: University of Missouri)
Abstract Gastrophryne carolinensis (Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad) is known to be an ant specialist, but prey identification has rarely progressed beyond family level. There are no prey records from Florida scrub, a rare upland habitat type. This study identifies species of 4859 individual ants retrieved from stomachs of 146 G. carolinensis collected in Florida scrub. All toads had consumed ants; ants comprised about 95% of all food items. Forty-three species of ants were recorded. About 77% were ...
7 Citations Source Cite
Published on Feb 1, 2012in Insectes Sociaux 1.41
L. M. Hart1
Estimated H-index: 1
(MU: University of Missouri),
Walter R. Tschinkel45
Estimated H-index: 45
(FSU: Florida State University)
A north Florida population of Odontomachus brunneus, a species of ponerine ants, was studied for a one-year period to determine the annual cycle of reproduction and colony growth, including the foraging biology and seasonal changes in nest architecture. The life cycle of O. brunneus is strongly seasonal. Colonies produce brood for 6 months and are broodless for 6 months. Alates are produced in mixed broods at the beginning of each season, consuming much of the colony’s energy reserves. These res...
16 Citations Source Cite
Published on Sep 1, 2011in Behavioral Ecology 2.69
Verônica Thiemi Tsutae de Sousa1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UNESP: Sao Paulo State University),
Fabrício Barreto Teresa11
Estimated H-index: 11
(UNESP: Sao Paulo State University),
Denise de Cerqueira Rossa-Feres23
Estimated H-index: 23
(UNESP: Sao Paulo State University)
Tadpoles of Pseudopaludicola aff. falcipes are capable of jumping out of small temporary puddles where they occur. In this system, odonate naiads are the main predators. Considering the hypothesis that jumping behavior represents an antipredator tactic, we addressed the following predictions: 1) tadpoles will jump more frequently from puddles with predators than from puddles without predators; 2) tadpole mortality will increase if tadpoles are prevented from jumping; 3) it would be more common t...
5 Citations Source Cite
Published on Feb 1, 2011in Functional Ecology 5.04
Dror Hawlena20
Estimated H-index: 20
(Yale University),
Holger Kress12
Estimated H-index: 12
+ 1 AuthorsOswald J. Schmitz49
Estimated H-index: 49
(Yale University)
Summary 1. Prey can increase the probability of escaping a predator attack by adopting either behavioural tactics that provide more time or less distance to escape or by increasing their escape performances. It is assumed that the ability to improve escape performances is reserved for species that respond to chronic predation risk by substantially altering morphological traits related to locomotion. This thinking is at odds with fundamental predictions of physiological stress theory that suggest...
37 Citations Source Cite
Published on Nov 1, 2009in Annals of The Entomological Society of America 1.67
Rafael L. G. Raimundo10
Estimated H-index: 10
(State University of Campinas),
André V. L. Freitas29
Estimated H-index: 29
(State University of Campinas),
Paulo S. L. Oliveira43
Estimated H-index: 43
(State University of Campinas)
ABSTRACT We provide qualitative and quantitative data on the natural history and foraging behavior of the ground-dwelling ant Odontomachus chelifer (Latreille) (Formicidae: Ponerinae) in a forest reserve in southeastern Brazil, with emphasis on colony activity rhythms and diet preferences in relation to seasonal availability of potential food items in the leaf litter. Ant colonies exhibited nocturnal activity throughout the year, and they foraged significantly more intensively in the wet/ warm (...
26 Citations Source Cite
Published on Feb 1, 2009in Naturwissenschaften 1.84
Joseph C. Spagna10
Estimated H-index: 10
(WPUNJ: William Paterson University),
Adam Schelkopf1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
+ 1 AuthorsAndrew V. Suarez45
Estimated H-index: 45
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
Evolutionary co-option of existing structures for new functions is a powerful yet understudied mechanism for generating novelty. Trap-jaw ants of the predatory genus Odontomachus are capable of some of the fastest self- propelled appendage movements ever recorded; their devastating strikes are not only used to disable and capture prey, but produce enough force to launch the ants into the air. We tested four Odontomachus species in a variety of behavioral contexts to examine if their mandibles ha...
10 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jul 15, 2008in The Journal of Experimental Biology 3.02
Joseph C. Spagna10
Estimated H-index: 10
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign),
Antonis I. Vakis9
Estimated H-index: 9
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
+ 4 AuthorsAndrew V. Suarez45
Estimated H-index: 45
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
SUMMARY Trap-jaw ants of the genus Odontomachus produce remarkably fast predatory strikes. The closing mandibles of Odontomachus bauri , for example, can reach speeds of over 60 m s –1 . They use these jaw strikes for both prey capture and locomotion – by striking hard surfaces, they can launch themselves into the air. We tested the hypothesis that morphological variation across the genus is correlated with differences in jaw speeds and accelerations. We video-recorded jaw-strikes at 70 000–100 ...
28 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 2007
Ashraf M. T. Elewa1
Estimated H-index: 1
15 Citations Source Cite
Cited By8
Newest
Published on Jul 1, 2019in Nature 43.07
Zhenishbek Zhakypov3
Estimated H-index: 3
(EPFL: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne),
Kazuaki Mori (Osaka University)+ 1 AuthorsJamie Paik14
Estimated H-index: 14
(EPFL: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)
In ant colonies, collectivity enables division of labour and resources1–3 with great scalability. Beyond their intricate social behaviours, individuals of the genus Odontomachus4, also known as trap-jaw ants, have developed remarkable multi-locomotion mechanisms to ‘escape-jump’ upwards when threatened, using the sudden snapping of their mandibles5, and to negotiate obstacles by leaping forwards using their legs6. Emulating such diverse insect biomechanics and studying collective behaviours in a...
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Published on Jun 12, 2019in Advanced materials and technologies
Chihyung Ahn3
Estimated H-index: 3
,
Xudong Liang5
Estimated H-index: 5
,
Shengqiang Cai24
Estimated H-index: 24
Source Cite
Published on Feb 8, 2019in Acta Zoologica 1.01
Molly M. Barlow (UNE: University of New England (Australia)), Russell D. C. Bicknell4
Estimated H-index: 4
(UNE: University of New England (Australia)),
Nigel R. Andrew21
Estimated H-index: 21
(UNE: University of New England (Australia))
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Published on Oct 1, 2018in Journal of Zoology 1.68
Joshua Gibson (UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign), Fredrick J. Larabee5
Estimated H-index: 5
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
+ 2 AuthorsAndrew V. Suarez45
Estimated H-index: 45
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
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Published on Sep 1, 2018
Asahi Matsuda (Hokkaido University), Hitoshi Aonuma17
Estimated H-index: 17
(Hokkaido University)
+ 1 AuthorsShunrichi Kaneko (Hokkaido University)
The trap jaw ant Odontomachus kuroiwae moves its the mandible at an ultra high speed. It closes the mandible by the contraction of adductor muscles, however, there still remains unclear how the ultra-high-speed movement exceeds the expected one by the muscles contraction. In this paper, we propose an image measurement method for analyzing the motion of mandible closing by use of the very high speed imaging by a high-speed camera. We also aim at modeling of the mechanism based on the measurement ...
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Published on Oct 15, 2017in The Journal of Experimental Biology 3.02
Malcolm Burrows42
Estimated H-index: 42
(University of Cambridge),
Marina Dorosenko5
Estimated H-index: 5
(University of Cambridge)
ABSTRACT High-speed video analyses of the natural behaviour of parasitoid wasps revealed three strategies used to launch the insects into the air. Which strategy is the most energy efficient? In Pteromalus puparum , 92% of take-offs by were propelled entirely by movements of the middle and hind legs, which were depressed at their coxo-trochanteral and extended at their femoro-tibial joints. The front legs left the ground first, followed by the hind legs, so that the middle legs provided the fina...
2 Citations Source Cite
Published on Oct 1, 2017in Systematic Entomology 3.73
Phillip Barden6
Estimated H-index: 6
(NJIT: New Jersey Institute of Technology),
Hollister W. Herhold1
Estimated H-index: 1
(AMNH: American Museum of Natural History),
David A. Grimaldi40
Estimated H-index: 40
(AMNH: American Museum of Natural History)
An unusual Cretaceous trap jaw ant is described from Burmese amber dated to the Late Cretaceous. Linguamyrmex vladi gen.n. sp.n. is distinguished by an unusual suite of morphological characters indicating specialized predatory behaviour and an adaptive strategy no longer found among modern ant lineages. The clypeus, highly modified as in other closely related haidomyrmecine hell ants, is equipped with a paddle-like projection similar to Ceratomyrmex. X-ray imaging reveals that this clypeal paddl...
6 Citations Source Cite
Published on Sep 1, 2017in The Journal of Experimental Biology 3.02
Fredrick J. Larabee5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Smithsonian Institution),
Wulfila Gronenberg34
Estimated H-index: 34
(UA: University of Arizona),
Andrew V. Suarez45
Estimated H-index: 45
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
National Science Foundation [DDIG DEB-1407279, IOS-1354191]; Smithsonian Institution (Peter Buck Fellowship); National Geographic Society [9481-14]; School of Integrative Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
4 Citations Source Cite
Published on Oct 1, 2016in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 3.99
Fredrick J. Larabee5
Estimated H-index: 5
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign),
Brian L. Fisher32
Estimated H-index: 32
(California Academy of Sciences)
+ 3 AuthorsAndrew V. Suarez45
Estimated H-index: 45
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
Abstract Ants in the genera Anochetus and Odontomachus belong to one of the largest clades in the subfamily Ponerinae, and are one of four lineages of ants possessing spring-loaded “trap-jaws.” Here we present results from the first global species-level molecular phylogenetic analysis of these trap-jaw ants, reconstructed from one mitochondrial, one ribosomal RNA, and three nuclear protein-coding genes. Bayesian and likelihood analyses strongly support reciprocal monophyly for the genera Anochet...
5 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jun 1, 2016in Current Biology 9.19
Vincent Perrichot15
Estimated H-index: 15
(KU: University of Kansas),
Bo Wang17
Estimated H-index: 17
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Michael S. Engel36
Estimated H-index: 36
(KU: University of Kansas)
Summary Ants comprise one lineage of the triumvirate of eusocial insects and experienced their early diversification within the Cretaceous [1–9]. Their ecological success is generally attributed to their remarkable social behavior. Not all ants cooperate in social hunting, however, and some of the most effective predatory ants are solitary hunters with powerful trap jaws [10]. Recent evolutionary studies predict that the early branching lineages of extant ants formed small colonies of ground-dwe...
19 Citations Source Cite