We assessed the effect of different daynight lengths on the pre-adult developmental time of two species of Camponotus ants that normally develop in dark underground nests. We assayed larval (egg-to-pupal formation), pupal (pupal formation-to-adult emergence), and pre-adult (egg-to-adult emergence) durations in these ants under three different lightdark (LD) cycles of 12:12h, 10:14h, and 14:10h. We observed that the pre-adult development time of ants under these day lengths was significantly different. Although both species developed fastest under 12:12h LD, when asymmetric LD cycles were compared, night-active species (Camponotus compressus) developed faster under short days (10:14h) and day-active species (C. paria) developed faster under long days (14:10h). This daynight-length-mediated difference in pre-adult developmental duration was mostly due to modulation of larval duration; however, in day-active species it was also via altered pupal duration. These results thus indicate that the two species of Camponotus ants respond differently to short and long days, suggesting that seasonal timers regulate pre-adult development time in tropical ant species living in dark underground nests.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)