Conspecific avoidance may influence the spatial distribution of colonies in some ants. House-hunting ants (Temnothorax albipennis) avoid nesting in areas where non-nestmates have nested previously. However, no reports are available on conspecific avoidance during nest selection in other ants. In the present study, we investigated nest selection in another nomadic species, the Japanese queenless ant, Pristomyrmex punctatus. Two-choice tests revealed that, similar to house-hunting ants, P. punctatus preferred nests soiled by nestmates to clean nests. However, unlike house-hunting ants, P. punctatus also preferred nests soiled by non-nestmates to a clean nest. Given the choice between a nest soiled by nestmates and one soiled by strangers, P. punctatus, unlike house-haunting ants, showed no significant preference. Thus, conspecific avoidance in nest selection was not observed in P. punctatus. Interspecific differences in ecological factors may drive the evolution of different nest selection strategies.
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Vol. 30 • No. 7