Biology ETDs

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There are only a few reports concerning the response of ants to irradiation and the majority of these are based on unpublished work. Apparent misinterpretations regarding the avoidance by ants of irradiation have occurred because of confusion as to dose, dose rate, and the type of radiation used. The only apparent demonstration of ant avoidance to radiation was made using x-rays at dose rates of 50-70 r/sec, although one author cites evidence for an ant avoidance response to 10 r/hr of 137Cs gamma rays.

In the present study, queen ants of the genus Pogonomyrmex, and worker ants of the species P. occidentalis comanche (Gregg), were exposed to various dose rates of particulate and gamma radiation. The ants were offered a choice between shielded and unshielded areas. Mean tunnel area in soil-filled containers was used as a measurement of avoidance behavior. The radiation sources used in these experiments were 232Th 45Ca 32p 137Cs and 60co; the most extensive testing of possible avoidance was performed using 137Cs in dose rates similar to those previously reported.

Observations and statistical comparisons of mean areas tunneled in shielded and unshielded soil indicated that the ants used did not avoid any of the irradiation applied. These results seem at variance with reports in the literature using other species of ants, other means of irradiation, and apparently different methods of demonstration.



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Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Clifford Smeed Crawford

Second Committee Member

Martin William Fleck

Third Committee Member

Gordon Verle Johnson

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Biology Commons