• P-ISSN 0974-6846 E-ISSN 0974-5645

Indian Journal of Science and Technology


Indian Journal of Science and Technology

Year: 2016, Volume: 9, Issue: 11, Pages: 1-6

Original Article

Mathematical Modelling on Nutrient Transmission in a Colony of Leaf-Cutting Ants


Background/Objectives: To analyze the Nutrient diffusion through an ant colony is a complex process of transmitting information from one node to another. Methods/Statistical Analysis: Ants have a special mode of transmission known as trophallaxis, which involves the transfer of liquid-based food from one ant's mouth to another. The worker ants may be categorized into two types: forager and non-forager, both of which are involved in the food transfer. Findings: In this research, by considering trophallaxis, the diffusion of the food signal through the ant colony is modelled as a two-type branching process. Analytic results based on asymptotic estimates of the branching process are here shown to be consistent with empirical results gathered from mini-colony experiments. The division of labor in worker ants is an important feature that exhibits the sociality of the colony. Indeed, resource allocation becomes more efficient if each worker ant is able to focus on one particular task only throughout its lifetime. Applications/Improvements: The division of labor, forager ants tends to be the more “aggressive” type in terms of seeking ants from which food can be received and subsequently exchanged. Meanwhile, the non-forager ants are more specialized in nest-maintenance activities and because of their relatively smaller size are more likely to obtain nourishment by another means. The trophallactic transmission process is investigated by Moreira et al. by conducting an experiment on a mini-colony of ants consisting of a mixture of the two classes3 .

Keywords: Leaf-Cutting, Nutrient, Trophallaxis


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