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Article
Ambidextrous Mandibles in the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta.
Faculty Publications
  • Deby L. Cassill
  • Devon Singh
SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Deby L. Cassill

Document Type
Article
Publication Date
2009
Date Issued
January 2009
Disciplines
Abstract
The elongation and sharp teeth of ant mandibles are considered important adaptations that have contributed to ants successful colonization of terrestrial habitats worldwide. In extant ant species, mandibles function as hunting and defense weapons, as well as multipurpose tools for excavating soil, cutting leaves, capturing and butchering prey, harvesting seeds, and transporting brood. This article reports that the mandibles in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, are functionally ambidextrous. Individuals opened and closed each mandible in synchrony or independently depending on the requirement of the task at hand. Upon completion of a task, individuals were without a preference in the orientation of mandible overlap—right overlap or left overlap. Orientation of mandible overlap before and after performing a task was also examined in nine other ant species. No overlap orientation preference was observed in any of these ant species, suggesting that ambidextrous mandibles are a universal trait in ants. These findings add an increment of knowledge to the diverse functions of ant mandibles.
Comments
Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 102(4), 713-716. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.
Language
en_US
Publisher
Entomological Society of America
Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Citation Information
Cassill, D.L. & Singh, D. (2009). Ambidextrous Mandibles in the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 102(4), 713-716.