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Asian Myrmecology, Volume 8, pages 81-86, published December 2016

Defensive function of petiole spines in queens and workers of the formicine ant Polyrhachis lamellidens (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) against an ant predator, the Japanese tree frog Hyla japonica

FUMINORI ITO1 *, KENTARO TANIGUCHI1, 2 and JOHAN BILLEN3

1Laboratory of Entomology, Faculty of Agriculture, Kagawa University, Ikenobe, Miki 761-0795, Japan

2Present address, Kurata, Okayama 703-8265, Japan

3KU Leuven, Zoological Institute, Naamsestraat 59, box 2466, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium

Article first published online 01/July/2016

DOI: 10.20362/am.008014

© F. Ito, K. Taniguchi & J. Billen

Abstract: The defensive function of petiole spines in queens and workers of the formicine ant Polyrhachis lamellidens was investigated using the ant predating tree frog Hyla japonica. Ant workers have hook-like large spines on their petiole while the queen petiole has only small slightly curved spines. Intact workers of P. lamellidens are unpalatable while workers without spines and intact queens are palatable, indicating that the spines of workers provide an effective defense against the tree frogs. Caste differences of spine morphology therefore affect the defense potential of the ants.

Keywords: ants, defense, predation, spines, treefrogs

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