Behaviour 2019
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Does environmentalácomplexityáaffect the behavior of the antáDinoponera quadricepsá (Formicidae, Ponerinae)?
Joaquim B. Cruz Neto, Dina L. O. Azevedo, Arrilton Ara˙jo. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil

Environmental enrichment consists of a set of techniques that stimulate captive animals
through the increase of complexity in physical or social environments. Although
widespread and well known in vertebrates, the use of enrichment to understand
invertebrate behavior and improve data is still scant. In our study, we tested whether a
more complex environment would affect the behavior of the ant Dinoponera
quadriceps
, with a particular interest in exploratory behavior. Three different levels of
enrichment were used. They were introduced in steps, with the addition of new
arrangements complementing previous structures, including substrate, rocks and plant
matter, increasing environmental complexity at each level. We analyzed the number of
foragers outside the nest and the frequency of behaviors such as foraging and
locomotion. Our results show that not only did the number of ants in the foraging arena
increase with the gradual rise in environmental complexity, but that behaviors
commonly associated with foraging activity also had an increase in frequency. In
addition, the more complex the arena, the more ants would become active overall, with
a general decrease in inactivity patterns.