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Vol. 69, No. 3, 2007
Issue release date: March 2007
Section title: Original Paper
Brain Behav Evol 2007;69:220–228
(DOI:10.1159/000097057)

On Being Small: Brain Allometry in Ants

Wehner R.a · Fukushi T.c · Isler K.b
aInstitute of Zoology and bAnthropological Institute and Museum, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland; cDepartment of Biology, Miyagi University of Education, Aramaki-aza-Aoba, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Japan

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: 3/24/2006
Accepted: 6/10/2006
Published online: 11/14/2006
Issue release date: March 2007

Number of Print Pages: 9
Number of Figures: 3
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0006-8977 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9743 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/BBE

Abstract

Comparative neurobiologists have provided ample evidence that in vertebrates small animals have proportionally larger brains: in a double-logarithmic plot of brain weight versus body weight all data points conform quite closely to a straight line with a slope of less than one. Hence vertebrate brains scale allometrically, rather than isometrically, with body size. Here we extend the phylogenetic scope of such studies and the size range of the brains under investigation to the insects, especially ants. We show that the principle of (negative) allometry applies as well, but that ants have considerably smaller brains than any ant-sized vertebrate would have, and that this result holds even if the relatively higher exoskeleton weights of ants (as compared to endoskeleton weights of mammals) are taken into account. Finally, interspecific comparisons within one genus of ants, Cataglyphis, show that species exhibiting small colony sizes (of a few hundred individuals) have significantly smaller brains than species in which colonies are composed of several thousand individuals.

© 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: 3/24/2006
Accepted: 6/10/2006
Published online: 11/14/2006
Issue release date: March 2007

Number of Print Pages: 9
Number of Figures: 3
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0006-8977 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9743 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/BBE


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