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Insects 2017, 8(4), 126; doi:10.3390/insects8040126

Communication or Toxicity: What Is the Effect of Cycloheximide on Leaf-Cutting Ant Workers?

Laboratório de Insetos Sociais-Praga, Departamento de Proteção Vegetal, Faculdade de Ciências Agronômicas/UNESP, Caixa Postal 237, Botucatu, SP 18603-970, Brazil
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Michael D. Breed
Received: 11 August 2017 / Revised: 25 October 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 21 November 2017
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Abstract

Leaf-cutting ants are insects that use plant material to grow fungus from which they feed. These fungus-growing ants perform various behavioral activities to establish an environment conducive to the fungus. Among these behaviors are activities that can serve to detect materials harmful to the colony, such as licking, scraping, chopping, etc. However, there are substances that may not be detected as harmful to the fungus on first contact. Cycloheximide (CHX) is one such substance, described as a fungicide that inhibits the synthesis of proteins in eukaryotes, although its mechanism of action remains unclear. The present study aimed at evaluating the behavioral changes of worker ants, time carrying orange pellets, waste deposition and mortality, when subjected to seven days of CHX-incorporated pellets and another seven days of CHX-free pellets. The fungicide adversely and structurally affected the leaf-cutter ant colonies. Their behavior went through changes, such as an increase in pellet-licking frequencies and cleaning among the ants from the third day onward. Moreover, there was an increase in time carrying orange pellets, as well as in the mortality of workers during CHX incorporation. View Full-Text
Keywords: communication; leaf-cutter ant; fungicide communication; leaf-cutter ant; fungicide
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Andrade Sousa, K.K.; da Silva Camargo, R.; Forti, L.C. Communication or Toxicity: What Is the Effect of Cycloheximide on Leaf-Cutting Ant Workers? Insects 2017, 8, 126.

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