Sleeping ants How long

Do ants sleep?

The topic comes up again and again in various ant forums. A quick search in the "Ant forum" alone brings up a number of threads, see below. It is not easy to decide how far there are symptoms similar to vertebrate sleep in insects, so that the question cannot be answered unequivocally for ants either.

A. important point of view is the question of whether "dormant", in the nest or in the ant management, often free in the arena at normal temperature (ie not at a lower winter temperature), actually only "lazy, idly resting", in "energy saving mode "are?

The answer: You can't see it from the outside, but important metabolic activities take place "inside" the ant, even in animals that are inactive on the outside: digestion, build-up and breakdown of reserve substances, synthesis z. B. of feed secretions, proteins for egg formation (oogenesis), defense secretions, pheromones, etc. These are all energy-consuming "activities" of the organism. And if the ants then occasionally "rest" in the formicarium outside of the nest, possibly in the area of ​​heat radiation from heating devices or lights, then this should often only indicate that they are actually operating particularly active metabolism "internally"! - The cited literature interprets external inactivity as "sleeping" and seeks above all for physiological correspondences with the sleep of vertebrates.

The frequency and duration of the "resting phases" as well as the proportion of the animals sitting around inactive in the nest in relation to the total number of ants in a colony undoubtedly also reflect their nutritional status. It has also been known for a long time that resting animals also serve as an "emergency reserve" if there is a lack of feed or in dangerous situations. It is the particular strength of social insects that they can quickly activate numerous foragers when there is a large food supply (honeybees; fruit tree blossom!).

Bibliography [edit]

Kaiser, W. J. (1988). Busy bees need rest, too. J. Comp. Physiol. A 163.565-584.

Kaiser, W. and Steiner-Kaiser, J. (1983). Neuronal correlates of sleep, wakefulness and arousal in a diurnal insect. Nature 301,707-709.

Cassill, D. L., Brown, S., Swick, D & Yanev, G. (2009): Polyphasic Wake / Sleep Episodes in the Fire Ant, Solenopsis Invicta. J. Insect Behav. 22, 313-322.

A highly humanized representation:

Web links [edit] Here: Sleep the Bees.