Monomorium orientale Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is a common structure- and food-infesting ant in Asia. There is only limited information on the biology and habits of this species, especially on the preferred foods and distribution of nutrients in colonies. We conducted a laboratory study on the distribution of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids, which were represented by respective food sources, in M. orientale colonies. Three colony conditions were applied: normal, with a balanced ratio of castes, queenless (only workers and brood), and broodless (only queens and workers). Food sources were stained to track the flow of the respective food in the colonies. Results revealed that carbohydrates had rapid distribution, with >60% of the colony indicated in 24 h, in all colony conditions. Queens in all colonies did not feed on protein. Protein showed a more delayed distribution in the brood in all colony conditions; <10% of the colony fed on protein by 24 h. Only queens in broodless colonies showed signs of feeding on lipid, with <10% indicated in 24 h. Workers in all colonies fed on lipid as soon as it was delivered, whereas the brood only began to reveal feeding response after 24 h.
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Vol. 99 • No. 1