anna sofia iberraran viniegra
international ph.d student, Mexico (ph.d. 3)


Division of labour is a key feature for the complex organization and ecological success of
social insects. Polyphenism in ants produces morphologically distinct castes
(queen, soldiers, and workers), which are one of the most diverse and best
differentiated caste systems amongst the social hymenoptera. In addition to the
stable pattern of task variation associated with morphology (morphological
polyphenism), worker ants of the genus Pheidole also display a dynamic pattern of division of labour within the worker caste known as temporal polyethism. Temporal polyethism is the progression from one group of tasks to another as individual ants age. I am interested in how the patterns of division of labour and social behaviour in ants are generated. I focus on the possible role of the dopaminergic system in generating the behavioural plasticity and task division patterns in ants.

Last update: Sept. 21, 2010