trophallaxis

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English[edit]

Trophallaxis between carpenter ant workers (Camponotus compressus)
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Noun[edit]

trophallaxis (countable and uncountable, plural trophallaxes)

  1. (biology) The mutual exchange of (fluid) food between individuals, especially in social insects.
    Trophallaxis is at its most highly developed in social insects such as ants, wasps, bees and termites, but is also used by some birds, and by wolves and vampire bats.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The exchange may be mouth-to-mouth or, more rarely, anus-to-mouth. The former may be termed stomodeal trophallaxis, while the latter is called anal, abdominal or proctodeal trophallaxis.

Related terms[edit]