Reznikova Zh.I. 2011. Division of labour and communication at the individual level in highly social Formica ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) // Russian Entomol. J. Vol.20. No.3: 315–319 [in English].

Institute of Systematics and Ecology of Animals, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Novosibirsk State University. E-mail:

Key words: Formica, division of labour, recruitment, communication, learning, behavioural syndrome, aphid tending, individual recognition.

Abstract. In this mini-review, division of labour and communication in highly social Formica species are considered at the individual level. Group-retrieving Formica species enjoy flexible and rational communication based on task allocation between scouts and foragers within small stable working teams. Scouts are able to memorise and pass “abstract” information to foragers, in particular, the information about a sequence of turns on the way to a feeder, whereas foragers are not able to transmit information. A field model of the situation in which ants act collectively to perform a specific task could be the organisation of honeydew collection in the tree crown. In F. polyctena, groups of aphid tenders include members of different “professions” (shepherds, guards, transporters and scouts) which stay in stable cohesion for a few weeks.

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