These ants become slaves when workers from the slave-making ant
colony attack the nests of the host species Temnothorax longispinosus, kill the adult ants, and steal the brood.
Comparative analysis of sex investment ratios in slave-making ants
data), through the use of path analysis on eight species of slave-making ants
, found that colonies raising sexuals had significantly more parasite workers than colonies that failed to produce sexuals (the analysis controls for the effect of slave number).
So reports Howard topoff, a psychologist at Hunter College in New York City, who has been analyzing the behavior of the western slave-making ant
, Polyergus breviceps, in an Arizona mountain desert.
The "chief family" of slave-making ants
(owners) is called "The Shining" because their bodies "shine with a gloss like varnish.
sometimes mark victims for violence during a takeover, yet "this is the first study of which I am aware that shows this is going on inside a single colony.
Joan Herbers of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, who studies slave-making ants
, calls the wasp report "most interesting.
The slave-making ants
from New York did more damage than their West Virginia counterparts, capturing a greater percentage of each invaded brood and killing more queens.