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1997 | 57 | 2 | 157-162
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Laboratory observations of nuptial flights of the ant Polyrhachis laboriosa

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Ethology of Polyrhachis laboriosa, an ant species from equatorial Africa, is little known. No field observation of a nuptial flight of these ants was ever made. We describe two nuptial flights observed in a laboratory colony of P. laboriosa at a 3 days interval. They both occurred in the morning while the nest was kept in near darkness (less than 2 lux of daylight). Flying activity of the alates was suppressed within 1 h by their exposure to daylight of about 140 lux, and within several minutes by their exposure to a lamp emitting white light of 3,000 lux and acting as a source of heat. On the day following the first flight the alates and the workers showed exceptionally high level of mutual grooming. The alates, in particular the males, were transported by workers to the brood chambers whenever they strayed outside and after the nuptial flights.
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K.Burnat, Department of Neurophysiology, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, 3 Pasteur St., 02-093 Warsaw, Poland, Email:,
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