Ant Algorithms in VS .NET

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specialization, in such a way that there is a tness gain as a consequence of such specialization [774] Division of labor has been observed in a number of eusocial insects [774, 850], including ants [328, 348, 558, 693, 882], wasps [298, 624], and the honey bee [393, 625, 733] Here eusociality refers to the presence of [214]: cooperation in caring for the young, reproductive division of labor, with more or less sterile individuals working on behalf of those individuals involved with reproduction, and overlap of generations Within these insect colonies, a number of tasks are done, including reproduction, caring for the young, foraging, cemetery organization, waste disposal, and defense Task allocation and coordination occurs mostly without any central control, especially for large colonies Instead, individuals respond to simple local cues, for example the pattern of interactions with other individuals [328], or chemical signals Also very interesting, is that task allocation is dynamic, based on external and internal factors Even though certain groups of individuals may specialize in certain tasks, task switching occurs when environmental conditions demand such switches This section provides an overview of the division of labor in insect colonies Section 173 gives a summary of di erent types of division of labor, and gives an overview of a few mechanisms that facilitate task allocation and coordination A simple model of division of labor based on response thresholds is discussed in Section 1732 This model is generalized in Section 1733 to dynamic task allocation and specialization
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Division of Labor in Insect Colonies
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Social insects are characterized by one fundamental type of division of labor ie reproductive division of labor [216, 882] Reproduction is carried out by a very small fraction of individuals, usually by one queen In addition to this primary division of labor into reproductive and worker castes, a further division of labor exists among the workers Worker division of labor can occur in the following forms [77]: Temporal polyethism, also referred to as the age subcaste [77, 216, 393, 625] With temporal polyethism, individuals of the same age tend to perform the same tasks, and form an age caste Evidence suggests that social interaction is a mechanism by which workers assess their relative ages [625] As an example, in honey bee colonies, younger bees tend to the hive while older bees forage [393] Temporal polyethism is more prominent in honey bees and eusocial wasps [625] Worker polymorphism, where workers have di erent morphologies [77, 558, 882] Workers of the same morphological structure belong to the same morphological caste, and tend to perform the same tasks For example, minor ants care for the brood, while major ants forage [77] As another example, the termite species Termes natalensis has soldier ants that di er signi cantly in morphological structure from the worker termites [558] Morphological castes are more prominent in ant and termite species [625]
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173 Division of Labor
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Individual variability: Even for individuals in an age or morphological caste, di erences may occur among individuals in the frequency and sequence of task performance Groups of individuals in the same caste that perform the same set of tasks in a given period are referred to as behavioral ants A very important aspect of division of labor is its plasticity Ratios of workers that perform di erent tasks that maintain the colony s viability and reproductive success may vary over time That is, workers may switch tasks It can even happen that major ants switch over to perform tasks of minor ants Variations in these ratios are caused by internal perturbations or external environmental conditions, eg climatic conditions, food availability, and predation Eugene N Marais reports in [558] one of the earliest observations of task switching Very important to the survival of certain termite species is the maintenance of underground fungi gardens During a drought, termites are forced to transport water over very large distances to feed the gardens During such times, all worker termites, including the soldiers have been observed to perform the task of water transportation Not even in the case of intentional harm to the nest structure do the ants deviate from the water transportation task In less disastrous conditions, soldiers will immediately appear on the periphery of any wounds in the nest structure, while worker ants repair the structure Without a central coordinator, the question is: how are tasks allocated and coordinated, and how is it determined which individuals should switch tasks While it is widely accepted that environmental conditions, or local cues, play this role, this behavior is still not well understood Observations of speci c species have produced some answers, for example: In honey bees, juvenile hormone is involved in the task coordination [393] It was found that young and older bees have di erent levels of juvenile hormone: juvenile hormone blood titers typically increases with age It is low in young bees that work in the hive, and high for foragers Huang and Robinson observed drops in juvenile hormone when foragers switch to hive-related tasks [393] Gordon and Mehdiabadi [328] found for the red harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, that task switches are based on recent history of brief antennal contacts between ants They found that the time an ant spent performing midden work was positively correlated with the number of midden workers that the ant encountered while being away from the midden It is also the case that ants busy with a di erent task are more likely to begin midden work when their encounters with midden workers exceed a threshold Termite species maintain waste heaps, containing waste transported from fungi gardens [348] Here division of labor is enforced by aggressive behavior directed towards workers contaminated with garbage This behavior ensures that garbage workers rarely leave the waste disposal areas
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