Crystal Grover (MS 2007) investigated how the availability of carbohydrate resources affects Argentine ant behavior. In a lab-based, diet-manipulation experiment, we discovered that levels of insect prey and sucrose both influenced brood production and worker survival, but that colonies became less aggressive and less active only when deprived of sucrose. These findings illustrate in principle how access to carbohydrates may alter behavioral investments that contribute to competitive performance. A related study investigated how honeydew-producing aphids affect ant foraging behavior. Field and greenhouse experiments demonstrated that levels of foliar foraging by ants increases with aphid abundance.
Grover, CD, KC Dayton, SB Menke and DA Holway. 2008. Effects of aphids on foliar foraging by Argentine ants and the resulting effects on other arthropods. Ecological Entomology. 33:101-106.
Grover, CD, AD Kay, JA Monson, TC Marsh and DA Holway. 2007. Linking nutrition and behavioral dominance: carbohydrate scarcity limits aggression and activity in Argentine ants. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B. 274:2951-2957.