Implications of climate change on the behaviour and activity patterns of the ubiquitous meat ant, 'Iridomyrmex purpureus' (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Smith, 1858)

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Perston, Yinika
Andrew, Nigel R
McDonald, Paul G
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2018
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Abstract

Ground temperatures can significantly influence the behaviour and activity patterns of small ectothermic and regional heterothermic species. This is critical to consider in light of a rapidly changing macroclimate, as shifts in behaviours such as foraging and aggression levels will also have more extreme impacts at smaller spatial scales. Here we assessed the effect temperature has on the actual behaviours completed, or 'task allocation' of the dominant Australian meat ant, 'Iridomymex purpureus' (Smith, 1858), at a temperate site in south-eastern Australia. Results indicate that 'I. purpureus' activity is directly affected by temperature, with higher levels of activity being carried out at greater speeds as soil surface temperatures increase. In addition, this study provides the first ethogram of 'I. purpureus' behaviours. As temperatures are expected to continue increasing owing to anthropogenic climate change, the ants may modify their behaviours to effectively forage in a warmer climate. This may include foraging earlier and later during the day, and changing interaction patterns between nest mates.

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General and Applied Entomology

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46

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Zoology

Iridomyrmex purpureus

behaviour

temperature

climate change

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Perston, Y; Andrew, NR; McDonald, PG, Implications of climate change on the behaviour and activity patterns of the ubiquitous meat ant, 'Iridomyrmex purpureus' (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Smith, 1858), General and Applied Entomology: The Journal of the Entomological Society of New South Wales, 2018, 46

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