New paper out! The economics of optimal foraging by the red imported fire ant.

New paper out in Environmental Entomology! This is the 3rd publication for 2020, a surprisingly productive year.

Karl Roeder sums up the paper nicely, “Here we look at how the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, regulates its foraging behavior. This was an interesting project that we first piloted back in 2015 and built on all the way through the summer of 2018. We were interested in testing ideas from optimal foraging theory and developed the Diminished Returns Hypothesis that posits for social insects (1) foraging investment levels increase until diminishing gains result in a decelerating slope of return and (2) this investment level is a function of the size of the collective group. We argue this hypothesis is an analog to Charnov’s Marginal Value Theorem and in testing it we found that fire ants forage as predicated in a particular manner. Taken as a whole, our results suggest that substantial biomass differences between invasive and native ants are likely one of the key reasons that species like red imported fire ants are able to dominate novel environments.”

You can read the paper here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s