Re: Bee to ID, has unusual feet
No worries. We'll get there. So many questions and so little time.
I'll answer your specific question.
Caste determination is not fully understood. Differential feeding
and exposure to pheromones sends a larva down a specific
developmental route. For example in leafcutter ants, large workers
(soldiers) are only produced when colonies exceed a certain size.
The colony must be producing plenty of fungus before it can invest
in these very large workers. Also a colony is more noticeable and
more likely to be attacked when it gets bigger, so only then is it
necessary that soldiers are produced. Resource availability is thus
an important constraint.
But also note that when an individual has started down a
developmental route its behaviour will change. These larger larvae
solicit food from workers more frequently and more persistently so
they can grow bigger.
To understand social insects you have to remember that colonies
behave as a single organism - Wheeler called it the 'superorganism'.
So there are no easy answers.
--- In email@example.com, "scarlettorara"
> One day you and i shall be able to communicate in such a way that
> understand eachother.has
> I have re-read my post - so I can see where the misinderstanding
> come from and I apologise. I really don't think ants are likepeople
> at all - in many ways i.e emotions, ideas, beliefs etc. I used the(etc)
> word "cultural" in inverteds to try to get an idea of regional
> behaviour across - unsuccessfully = along with some other things Ior
> said. Examples would have been ones such as the ants who let
> their "enemies" in to mate with their virgin queens as opposed to
> them flying off to the big lek in the sky - or the exploding ants
> the weaver cocoon-makers - or those pheisode (something like that)comparisons
> whose defence ensures the species etc. Funny thing is that
> Holldobler and Wilson humanise a lot - to show and make
> between ants and us people a lot - I do get it that these fellowsis
> are to the best of our knowledge blissfully "unaware" of their
> chemically induced/inhibited behaviour - and it is actually around
> this concept that a lot of my thoughts are based. I just find that
> to an extent tat by using humanising words some concepts are more
> easily explained. Obviously if the other person doesn't know what
> in your head (i.e you don't know what's in mine!! - MY bad!! Iwonder
> didn't tell you!!) then these ideas can become misconstrued - so
> again we have the definition of words and ideas thingy again.
> When I wonder why ants go to war - I do not wonder why they
> don't "like" eachother - or what histories they have etc - I
> which chemicals and behaviours cause the fighting - and why theystill
> don't fight everyone etc - I am finding the answers - though I
> haven't found how a "soldier" is "created" in the first placei.e :
> in a new nest - WHO effects the larva to cause it to become a
> soldier instead of a worker - the FIRST time round - I understand
> that LATER it is the soldiers themselves that determine this.
> Thanx for keeping with me Duncan. : )
> Big smiles.