Essay Example on The Effect of Sugar Concentrations

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The Effect of Sugar Concentrations on Ant Feeding Habits Celeste Arbizu Xavier Guerrero Ricardo Hernandez and Danika Kartchner Introduction As a concentrated source of food sugar water has repeatedly presented itself to be highly attractive to a wide variety of ant species Organic versions of artificial sugar water including extrafloral nectar for instance are produced by plants to attract beneficial ant species Lanza et al 1993 Carpenter ants crazy ants fire ants Argentine ants odorous house ants pharaoh ants dark rover ants and pavement ants alike all of which live in Arizona readily accept nectar as a food source Tamayo 2014 Lanza et al 1993 Josens et al 2006 Buys 1987 Kay et al 2010 While artificial mixtures of sugar water do not contain amino acids found in extrafloral nectar ants may continue to obtain essential nutrients from such a solution It has been found that ants that partake in carbohydrate intensive nectars experience higher working rates and an increased ability to maintain territorial dominance in a selective area Davidson 1997 Furthermore Dussutour and Simpson found that initially Solenopsis saevissima Solenopsis geminata Lasius niger etc chose to feed from solutions of a higher concentration of sugar when given a choice between feeding from an 18 sugar solution a 9 sugar solution and a 4 5 sugar solution Dussutour and Simpson 2008 Therefore the question Do ants prefer to eat from solutions of a higher concentration of sugar than solutions of a lower concentration of sugar is worthy of consideration

Concentrations of sugar higher than those chosen in Dussutour and Simpson s experiment were chosen to be tested to gage if ants would continue to choose a higher concentration solution despite higher than average sugar levels It was hypothesized that ants given the choice to feed on one of three sugar water solutions diluted to 50 sugar 25 sugar or 12 5 sugar and a water control will feed most frequently from solutions with higher concentrations of sugar The null hypothesis was that ants given the choice to feed on one of three sugar water solutions mentioned above and a water control will feed least frequently from solutions with higher concentrations of sugar Thus it can be predicted that if ants were to feed on one of three sugar water solutions diluted to 50 sugar 25 sugar or 12 5 sugar and a water control during three periods of five minutes then the highest concentration of ants would be found feeding from the 50 sugar solutions followed by the 25 sugar solution and the 12 5 sugar solution The null prediction is that if ants were to feed on one of three sugar water solutions diluted to levels mentioned above and a water control during three periods of five minutes then the highest concentration of ants would be found feeding from the 12 5 sugar solutions followed by the 25 sugar solution and the 50 sugar solution 



The primary goal was to find if similar results would be found in comparison to Dussutour and Simpson s experiment despite more than doubling the sugar concentrations Understanding ant feeding habits can allow ant caretakers and trappers to adjust their ant food appropriately Methods Procedure Several materials were acquired before the investigation 15 ants 21 25 mL of water 8 75 g of sugar four pipettes an enclosed space a stirring rod and a stopwatch First the dilutions of sugar were mixed 5 g of sugar was dissolved in 5 mL of water to create the 50 solution 2 5 g of sugar was dissolved in 7 5 mL of water to create the 25 solution 1 25 g of sugar was dissolved in 8 75 mL of water to create the 12 5 solution Second 1 mL drop of each solution including the control was placed in the enclosed space Third the ants were released from the same location into the enclosed space For five minutes the number of ants that fed from each sugar water solution was recorded Then the ants were returned to their jar and the sugar water was cleaned from the enclosed space

After this two more identical trials were completed The number of ants feeding from the sugar water solutions was recorded in the data table below The average number of ants that fed from each sugar water solution was found The independent variable includes the concentrations of sugar in the sugar water solutions These treatment groups include samples of 50 sugar 25 sugar and 12 5 sugar The dependent variable is the number ants that feed on a specific sample of diluted sugar water 50 sugar 25 sugar and 12 5 sugar over three five minute periods The negative control treatment is a sample of water that does not contain sugar The control variables include the type of ants collected the amount of sugar water distributed in each five minute period the amount of time in each testing period the type of sugar used for each experimental group and the time of day


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