Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Mutual exchange of food between adults and larvae of certain social insects such as bees or wasps.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The mutual exchange of food between individuals, especially in social insects

Etymologies

troph(o)- + Greek allaxis, exchange (from allassein, to exchange, from allos, other; see al-1 in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The species displays unusual and in one or two cases possibly even unique social behaviours, including the consumption and sharing of infrabuccal pellets, the apparent absence of adult transport, a primarily or exclusively mechanical form of colony defence, and a remarkable form of abdominal trophallaxis.

    ScienceBlogs Channel : Life Science

  • Placing a food item would lead to mostly the same behavior as they'd eat enough to bring back to the nest, where they could transfer food through trophallaxis to the nursery workers, but when they realized the fact that they were not getting home soon, they'd instead give mouth-to-mouth to the other members of the spiral until all were fed, regardless of who ate the food originally.

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  • Thank you for playing, the game, that is. trophallaxis, merdiverous, hive bottom feeders. the lot.

    LA Weekly | Complete Issue

  • The bait is distributed to other members of the colony through the exchange of food known as trophallaxis.

    MachineMachine (formerly 'The Huge Entity')

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Comments

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  • As the adults deny the giving of predigested food to their young, so do they deny it to one another, and thus there is absent one of the strongest bonds which maintains intact the structure of the higher colonies - the bond of trophallaxis. It is indeed questionable whether the body structure of this lowly, semisocial ant would permit of such procedure, for its crop, or "social stomach," which enables the higher ants to distribute ingluvial food to their nest mates by regurgitation, is not well developed.

    - Caryl P. Haskins, Of Ants and Men, 1939, p. 32

    December 4, 2008