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1 September 2011 An Experimental Test of Kin Recognition in Harvester Ants
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Abstract

Many animals direct assistance selectively toward relatives and/or aggression toward non-relatives; the ability to differentiate between kin and non-kin should evolve when doing so incurs fitness benefits. We detail a field-based experiment that tests whether workers of a large-bodied, abundant, and hardy seed-harvester ant are capable of kin recognition. We use this exercise in an undergraduate animal-behavior class to introduce concepts associated with eusocial insects and the study of kin recognition, as well as to reinforce principles of hypothesis testing, experimental design, and scientific writing. Students collect data, analyze and interpret results, and write a formal report; this experiment is one of several we use as models to prepare students for designing and performing their own follow-up studies.

© 2011 by National Association of Biology Teachers. All rights reserved. Request permission to photocopy or reproduce article content at the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions Web site at www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo.asp.
Stephanie A. Strickler and P. L. Schwagmeyer "An Experimental Test of Kin Recognition in Harvester Ants," The American Biology Teacher 73(7), 396-400, (1 September 2011). https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2011.73.7.5
Published: 1 September 2011
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