Effects of Diet on Brood Development in the Carpenter Ant
A Forest Service scientist examined the potential contributions of B vitamins by a yeast associate to the nutrition of the carpenter ant Camponotus vicinus Mayr.. This diet was used to test the effects of individual B vitamin and other nutrient deletions on larval development. The chemically defined diet contained amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and other growth factors in a liquid sucrose matrix. Camponotus vicinus worker colonies with 3rd and 4th instar larvae were fed a complete artificial diet, or that diet with a component deleted, for a 12-week period. There was a significant effect of diet on larval growth and number of adult worker ants produced in the overall nutrient deletion test, but ant development was often better on incomplete diets with one B vitamin deleted compared to the complete holidic basal diet. Thiamine deletion resulted in significantly higher brood weights compared to the complete diet. Diets of sugar water plus all B vitamins, sugar water only, or a diet minus all B vitamins and cholesterol were associated with significantly lower brood weights. Significantly more adult worker ants were produced by worker colonies fed diets minus cholesterol, choline, thiamine or riboflavin compared to the complete basal diet. The results suggest that the diet, while suitable for rearing, could benefit from further study to better define component levels. The potential relationship of Camponotus vicinus with yeast associates is discussed in relation to further studies.
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