Next Article in Journal
MiRNAs Expression Profiling in Raw264.7 Macrophages after Nfatc1-Knockdown Elucidates Potential Pathways Involved in Osteoclasts Differentiation
Previous Article in Journal
Analysis of Codon Usage of Speech Gene FoxP2 among Animals
Review

“O Sister, Where Art Thou?”—A Review on Rescue of Imperiled Individuals in Ants

by 1,* and 2,*
1
Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, 31-016 Kraków, Poland
2
Institute of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Jagiellonian University, 30-387 Kraków, Poland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Biology 2021, 10(11), 1079; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10111079 (registering DOI)
Received: 8 September 2021 / Revised: 15 October 2021 / Accepted: 20 October 2021 / Published: 22 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Behavior Biology)
Ants provide an outstanding example of organisms capable of risky acts. When ants engage in rescue behavior, for example, they do so for a chance of saving another individual from a dangerous situation. What contributes to whether a particular ant engages in rescue behavior? Why do some species of ants show high rescue activity while other species show no such behavior at all? How is rescue behavior triggered in ants? Finally, but no less importantly, how risky engaging in a rescue action really is and what benefits it brings to both the rescuing and rescued ant? These are the fundamental questions we address here. We demonstrate the progress in the research field and, in doing so, we expose the extent to which the abovementioned questions are unanswered. In this comprehensive review, we present a summary of relevant published works and hope to spin higher interest in the fascinating area of study that is ant rescue behavior.
Altruism is defined as an action that decreases the lifetime direct fitness of an actor and benefits one or more recipients. This phenomenon, which is generally difficult to understand and explain, requires special research attention. The subject of this review, rescue, is a type of altruistic behavior in which the actor puts itself at risk to save another individual, the recipient, that is in danger. The highest numbers of published empirical works have been devoted to rescue behavior in ants and they have enormous potential for further study. We review studies devoted to the subject and group them into four main areas of research on ant rescue actions: (1) variation in rescue behavior activity on a between-individual scale, (2) factors contributing to the evolution of rescue behavior on a between-species scale, (3) rescue behavior releaser signals and (4) rescue behavior benefits and costs. We highlight the progress in research on rescue behavior in ants, indicate that this behavior is probably much more common than previously thought yet thus far demonstrated in only a few species, and uncover research gaps and open questions that remain unexplored. We additionally point out some gaps in knowledge that become evident when research devoted to rescue behavior in rats, the second most studied group of animals in this context, is briefly overviewed. We hope to help navigate among studies on rescue behavior and provide the most up-to-date summary of the relevant literature. Moreover, we hope to encourage and facilitate researchers in behavioral ecology and other subdisciplines to further experimentally analyze rescue behavior, not only in ants but also in other taxa. View Full-Text
Keywords: ants; altruism; cooperation; empathy; Formicidae; helping; rats; pro-social behavior; rescue behavior; risky behavior ants; altruism; cooperation; empathy; Formicidae; helping; rats; pro-social behavior; rescue behavior; risky behavior
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Miler, K.; Turza, F. “O Sister, Where Art Thou?”—A Review on Rescue of Imperiled Individuals in Ants. Biology 2021, 10, 1079. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10111079

AMA Style

Miler K, Turza F. “O Sister, Where Art Thou?”—A Review on Rescue of Imperiled Individuals in Ants. Biology. 2021; 10(11):1079. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10111079

Chicago/Turabian Style

Miler, Krzysztof, and Filip Turza. 2021. "“O Sister, Where Art Thou?”—A Review on Rescue of Imperiled Individuals in Ants" Biology 10, no. 11: 1079. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10111079

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop