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Pheidole dentata, older worker.  Texas.

Pheidole dentata, older worker with larva.

A study out in pre-print by Muscedere, Willey, and Traniello in the journal Animal Behaviour finds little support for a long-held idea that worker ants change specializations to perform different types of work as they age.  By creating colonies out of different age classes in the ant Pheidole dentata, the researchers showed that older workers were good at pretty much everything, while younger ants performed only a few tasks, but did those less efficiently.  Here is the abstract: (more…)

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