Bood removal and fungal outgrowth in ants with naked vs cocooned pupae. Cumulative proportion of brood removed from the brood chamber over the experimental period for the two species with naked pupae, C. smithi(A) and Li. humile(B), and the two species with cocooned pupae, La. neglectus(C) and P. punctata(D), presented for larvae (left) and pupae (right) depending on brood treatment (sham control: white to grey bars, dead fungus: light green tones, live fungus: dark green tones). The proportion of removed brood showing fungal outgrowth on each day is depicted in black. Live fungus-exposed larvae and naked pupae were removed significantly faster and at higher numbers than sham-treated and dead fungus-exposed brood in all species except Li. humile (ns for larvae and ns for naked pupae treated with dead vs live fungus). In cocooned pupae pathogen-exposure did not lead to increased removal compared to the two non-infectious treatments. Fungal outgrowth occurred in a high proportion of removed brood, several days after removal from the brood chamber. Cross-contamination by pathogen transmission from the live fungus-exposed brood to the other two treatments occurred across all brood types, leading to delayed fungal outgrowth also in originally sham-treated and dead fungus-treated brood. Different letters denote statistical differences at the significance level α = 0.05 for brood removal (ns: not significant).
Tragust et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2013 13:225 doi:10.1186/1471-2148-13-225