The colonies of Temnothorax ants adjust to colony growth or dimunition by shedding and reconstructing their nests.

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References

"The ontogeny of wall building by colonies of the ant Temnothorax [formerly Leptothorax] albipennis involves discontinuous rebuilding events that are reminiscent of moulting in insects…Our results suggest for the first time that history influences wall building in ants when worker density decreases (e.g. with colony diminution) as well as when it increases (e.g. with colony growth) as shown by earlier work. Furthermore, we found that ants used a greater number of the larger building blocks (big sand grains) both after cavity expansion and, more surprisingly, also after cavity contraction. The pattern of nest 'moulting' we experimentally manipulated and analysed should provide insights into possible trade-offs between the various functions and structural properties of the nest that these animals may have to optimize." (Aleksiev et al. 2007:567)

Journal article
Nest ‘moulting’ in the ant Temnothorax albipennisAnimal BehaviourAugust 23, 2007
Antony S. Aleksiev, Ana B. Sendova-Franks, Nigel R. Franks

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Living System/s

Organism
AnomoeotidaeFamily

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Organism
AntsFormicidaeFamily

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Organism
An AntLeptothoraxSpecies

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