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Social isolation causes mortality by disrupting energy homeostasis in ants [Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology]

par Frédéric Magné - publié le , mis à jour le

Social deprivation can have negative effects on the lives of social animals, including humans, yet little is known about the mechanisms by which social withdrawal affects animal health. Here we show that in the carpenter ant Camponotus fellah, socially isolated workers have a greatly reduced life span relative to ants kept in groups of ten individuals. By using a new tracking system, we found that social isolation resulted in important behavioral changes and greatly increased locomotor activity. The higher activity of single ants and their increased propensity to leave the nest to move along the walls suggested that the increased mortality of isolated ants might stem from an imbalance of energy income and expenditure...

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