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Hypoxic conditions and oxygen supply in nests of the mangrove ant, Camponotus anderseni, during and after inundation

Nielsen, M., Christian, Keith A. and Malte, H. (2009). Hypoxic conditions and oxygen supply in nests of the mangrove ant, Camponotus anderseni, during and after inundation. Insectes Sociaux,56(1):35-39.

Document type: Journal Article

IRMA ID 80801157xPUB24
Title Hypoxic conditions and oxygen supply in nests of the mangrove ant, Camponotus anderseni, during and after inundation
Author Nielsen, M.
Christian, Keith A.
Malte, H.
Journal Name Insectes Sociaux
Publication Date 2009
Volume Number 56
Issue Number 1
ISSN 0020-1812   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-60149111692
Start Page 35
End Page 39
Total Pages 5
Place of Publication Basel, Switzerland
Publisher Birkhaeuser Verlag AG
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract The small ant Camponotus anderseni lives exclusively in twigs of the mangrove tree Sonneratia alba, and during inundation, the entrance hole is blocked with a soldier’s head which effectively prevents flooding. The nests can be very crowded, with the ants and coccids filling up to 50% of the volume, and due to their metabolic activity, the conditions in the nests during inundation become hypercapnic and hypoxic. Each nest has only one entrance, and the opening is quite small (1.56 ± 0.03 mm). The mean diameter of the galleries is 2.31 ± 0.23 mm, independent of the thickness of the twig and length of the nest. During normal conditions with open nests, the oxygen depletion is substantial in the part of the nest most distant from the opening, and in a 120 mm long nest the oxygen concentration can be as low as 15.7%. During simulated inundation, in which the nest entrances were blocked, the oxygen concentration dropped to very low levels (<0.5%) after one hour. After opening the nest entrance, the oxygen concentration increased again, but for a 100 mm long nest it took nearly 20 minutes before the concentration was back to the normal depressed level. Mathematical modelling of the steady-state oxygen concentrations in the innermost part of the nests shows a lower O2 concentration than calculated. The time for equilibration of oxygen after inundation is longer than expected for small nests, presumably because the passive diffusion is obstructed by the nest contents. The “dilemma” faced by C. anderseni is to avoid drowning without suffering anoxia or hypercapnia, and they show a remarkable ability to adapt to the extreme conditions in the mangrove and exploit a niche where the density of other ants is insignificant.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00040-008-1029-y   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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Created: Wed, 24 Mar 2010, 15:04:37 CST by Sarena Wegener