WorldWideScience

Sample records for ant dispersal assemblages

  1. Climate mediates the effects of disturbance on ant assemblage structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibb, Heloise; Sanders, Nathan J.; Dunn, Robert R.; Watson, Simon; Photakis, Manoli; Abril, Silvia; Andersen, Alan N.; Angulo, Elena; Armbrecht, Inge; Arnan, Xavier; Baccaro, Fabricio B.; Bishop, Tom R.; Boulay, Raphael; Castracani, Cristina; Del Toro, Israel; Delsinne, Thibaut; Diaz, Mireia; Donoso, David A.; Enríquez, Martha L.; Fayle, Tom M.; Feener, Donald H.; Fitzpatrick, Matthew C.; Gómez, Crisanto; Grasso, Donato A.; Groc, Sarah; Heterick, Brian; Hoffmann, Benjamin D.; Lach, Lori; Lattke, John; Leponce, Maurice; Lessard, Jean-Philippe; Longino, John; Lucky, Andrea; Majer, Jonathan; Menke, Sean B.; Mezger, Dirk; Mori, Alessandra; Munyai, Thinandavha C.; Paknia, Omid; Pearce-Duvet, Jessica; Pfeiffer, Martin; Philpott, Stacy M.; de Souza, Jorge L. P.; Tista, Melanie; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L.; Vonshak, Merav; Parr, Catherine L.

    2015-01-01

    Many studies have focused on the impacts of climate change on biological assemblages, yet little is known about how climate interacts with other major anthropogenic influences on biodiversity, such as habitat disturbance. Using a unique global database of 1128 local ant assemblages, we examined whether climate mediates the effects of habitat disturbance on assemblage structure at a global scale. Species richness and evenness were associated positively with temperature, and negatively with disturbance. However, the interaction among temperature, precipitation and disturbance shaped species richness and evenness. The effect was manifested through a failure of species richness to increase substantially with temperature in transformed habitats at low precipitation. At low precipitation levels, evenness increased with temperature in undisturbed sites, peaked at medium temperatures in disturbed sites and remained low in transformed sites. In warmer climates with lower rainfall, the effects of increasing disturbance on species richness and evenness were akin to decreases in temperature of up to 9°C. Anthropogenic disturbance and ongoing climate change may interact in complicated ways to shape the structure of assemblages, with hot, arid environments likely to be at greatest risk. PMID:25994675

  2. Extended phenotype: nematodes turn ants into bird-dispersed fruits

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hughes, D P; Kronauer, D J C; Boomsma, J J

    2008-01-01

    A recent study has discovered a novel extended phenotype of a nematode which alters its ant host to resemble ripe fruit. The infected ants are in turn eaten by frugivorous birds that disperse the nematode's eggs.......A recent study has discovered a novel extended phenotype of a nematode which alters its ant host to resemble ripe fruit. The infected ants are in turn eaten by frugivorous birds that disperse the nematode's eggs....

  3. Fire ants actively control spacing and orientation within self-assemblages.

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    Foster, Paul C; Mlot, Nathan J; Lin, Angela; Hu, David L

    2014-06-15

    To overcome obstacles and survive harsh environments, fire ants link their bodies together to form self-assemblages such as rafts, bridges and bivouacs. Such structures are examples of self-assembling and self-healing materials, as ants can quickly create and break links with one another in response to changes in their environment. Because ants are opaque, the arrangement of the ants within these three-dimensional networks was previously unknown. In this experimental study, we applied micro-scale computed tomography, or micro-CT, to visualize the connectivity, arrangement and orientation of ants within an assemblage. We identified active and geometric mechanisms that ants use to obtain favorable packing properties with respect to well-studied packing of inert objects such as cylinders. Ants use their legs to push against their neighbors, doubling their spacing relative to random packing of cylinders. These legs also permit active control of their orientation, an ability ants use to arrange themselves perpendicularly rather than in parallel. Lastly, we found an important role of ant polymorphism in promoting self-aggregation: a large distribution of ant sizes permits small ants to fit between the legs of larger ants, a phenomenon that increases the number of average connections per ant. These combined mechanisms lead to low packing fraction and high connectivity, which increase raft buoyancy and strength during flash floods. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  4. Seed Dispersal by Ants in the Semi-arid Caatinga of North-east Brazil

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    Leal, Inara R.; Wirth, Rainer; Tabarelli, Marcelo

    2007-01-01

    Background and Aims Myrmecochory is a conspicuous feature of several sclerophyll ecosystems around the world but it has received little attention in the semi-arid areas of South America. This study addresses the importance of seed dispersal by ants in a 2500-km2 area of the Caatinga ecosystem (north-east Brazil) and investigates ant-derived benefits to the plant through myrmecochory. Methods Seed manipulation and dispersal by ants was investigated during a 3-year period in the Xingó region. Both plant and ant assemblages involved in seed dispersal were described and ant behaviour was characterized. True myrmecochorous seeds of seven Euphorbiaceae species (i.e. elaiosome-bearing seeds) were used in experiments designed to: (1) quantify the rates of seed cleaning/removal and the influence of both seed size and elaiosome presence on seed removal; (2) identify the fate of seeds dispersed by ants; and (3) document the benefits of seed dispersal by ants in terms of seed germination and seedling growth. Key Results Seed dispersal by ants involved one-quarter of the woody flora inhabiting the Xingó region, but true myrmecochory was restricted to 12·8 % of the woody plant species. Myrmecochorous seeds manipulated by ants faced high levels of seed removal (38–84 %) and 83 % of removed seeds were discarded on ant nests. Moreover, seed removal positively correlated with the presence of elaiosome, and elaiosome removal increased germination success by at least 30 %. Finally, some Euphorbiaceae species presented both increased germination and seedling growth on ant-nest soils. Conclusions Myrmecochory is a relevant seed dispersal mode in the Caatinga ecosystem, and is particularly frequent among Euphorbiaceae trees and shrubs. The fact that seeds reach micro-sites suitable for establishment (ant nests) supports the directed dispersal hypothesis as a possible force favouring myrmecochory in this ecosystem. Ecosystems with a high frequency of myrmecochorous plants appear not

  5. Habitat contrasts reveal a shift in the trophic position of ant assemblages.

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    Gibb, Heloise; Cunningham, Saul A

    2011-01-01

    1. Trophic structure within a guild can be influenced by factors such as resource availability and competition. While ants occupy a wide range of positions in food webs, and ant community composition changes with habitat, it is not well understood if ant genera tend to maintain their position in the trophic structure, or if trophic position varies across habitats. 2. We used ratios of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen to test for differences in the trophic structure and position of assemblages of ants among habitat types. We tested for differences between assemblages in replicate sites of the land use categories: (i) pastures with old large trees; (ii) recently revegetated pastures with small young trees; and (iii) remnant woodlands. Known insect herbivores and predatory spiders provided baselines for herbivorous and predaceous arthropods. Soil samples were used to correct for the base level of isotopic enrichment at each site. 3. We found no significant interactions between land use and ant genus for isotope enrichment, indicating that trophic structure is conserved across land use categories. The fixed relative positions of genera in the trophic structure might be re-enforced by competition or some other factor. However, the entire ant assemblage had significantly lower δ(15) N values in revegetated sites, suggesting that ants feed lower down in the food chain i.e. they are more 'herbivorous' in revegetated sites. This may be a result of the high availability of plant sugars, honeydew and herbivorous arthropod prey. 4. Surprisingly, ants in remnants and pastures with trees displayed similar isotopic compositions. Interactions within ant assemblages are thus likely to be resilient to changes in land use, but ant diets in early successional habitats may reflect the simplicity of communities, which may have comparatively lower rates of saprophagy and predation.

  6. Riverine Landscape Patch Heterogeneity Drives Riparian Ant Assemblages in the Scioto River Basin, USA.

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    Tagwireyi, Paradzayi; Sullivan, S Mažeika P

    2015-01-01

    Although the principles of landscape ecology are increasingly extended to include riverine landscapes, explicit applications are few. We investigated associations between patch heterogeneity and riparian ant assemblages at 12 riverine landscapes of the Scioto River, Ohio, USA, that represent urban/developed, agricultural, and mixed (primarily forested, but also wetland, grassland/fallow, and exurban) land-use settings. Using remotely-sensed and ground-collected data, we delineated riverine landscape patch types (crop, grass/herbaceous, gravel, lawn, mudflat, open water, shrub, swamp, and woody vegetation), computed patch metrics (area, density, edge, richness, and shape), and conducted coordinated sampling of surface-active Formicidae assemblages. Ant density and species richness was lower in agricultural riverine landscapes than at mixed or developed reaches (measured using S [total number of species], but not using Menhinick's Index [DM]), whereas ant diversity (using the Berger-Park Index [DBP]) was highest in agricultural reaches. We found no differences in ant density, richness, or diversity among internal riverine landscape patches. However, certain characteristics of patches influenced ant communities. Patch shape and density were significant predictors of richness (S: R2 = 0.72; DM: R2=0.57). Patch area, edge, and shape emerged as important predictors of DBP (R2 = 0.62) whereas patch area, edge, and density were strongly related to ant density (R2 = 0.65). Non-metric multidimensional scaling and analysis of similarities distinguished ant assemblage composition in grass and swamp patches from crop, gravel, lawn, and shrub as well as ant assemblages in woody vegetation patches from crop, lawn, and gravel (stress = 0.18, R2 = 0.64). These findings lend insight into the utility of landscape ecology to river science by providing evidence that spatial habitat patterns within riverine landscapes can influence assemblage characteristics of riparian arthropods.

  7. Riverine Landscape Patch Heterogeneity Drives Riparian Ant Assemblages in the Scioto River Basin, USA.

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    Paradzayi Tagwireyi

    Full Text Available Although the principles of landscape ecology are increasingly extended to include riverine landscapes, explicit applications are few. We investigated associations between patch heterogeneity and riparian ant assemblages at 12 riverine landscapes of the Scioto River, Ohio, USA, that represent urban/developed, agricultural, and mixed (primarily forested, but also wetland, grassland/fallow, and exurban land-use settings. Using remotely-sensed and ground-collected data, we delineated riverine landscape patch types (crop, grass/herbaceous, gravel, lawn, mudflat, open water, shrub, swamp, and woody vegetation, computed patch metrics (area, density, edge, richness, and shape, and conducted coordinated sampling of surface-active Formicidae assemblages. Ant density and species richness was lower in agricultural riverine landscapes than at mixed or developed reaches (measured using S [total number of species], but not using Menhinick's Index [DM], whereas ant diversity (using the Berger-Park Index [DBP] was highest in agricultural reaches. We found no differences in ant density, richness, or diversity among internal riverine landscape patches. However, certain characteristics of patches influenced ant communities. Patch shape and density were significant predictors of richness (S: R2 = 0.72; DM: R2=0.57. Patch area, edge, and shape emerged as important predictors of DBP (R2 = 0.62 whereas patch area, edge, and density were strongly related to ant density (R2 = 0.65. Non-metric multidimensional scaling and analysis of similarities distinguished ant assemblage composition in grass and swamp patches from crop, gravel, lawn, and shrub as well as ant assemblages in woody vegetation patches from crop, lawn, and gravel (stress = 0.18, R2 = 0.64. These findings lend insight into the utility of landscape ecology to river science by providing evidence that spatial habitat patterns within riverine landscapes can influence assemblage characteristics of riparian

  8. An invasive slug exploits an ant-seed dispersal mutualism.

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    Meadley Dunphy, Shannon A; Prior, Kirsten M; Frederickson, Megan E

    2016-05-01

    Plant-animal mutualisms, such as seed dispersal, are often vulnerable to disruption by invasive species. Here, we show for the first time how a non-ant invasive species negatively affects seed dispersal by ants. We examined the effects of several animal species that co-occur in a temperate deciduous forest-including native and invasive seed-dispersing ants (Aphaenogaster rudis and Myrmica rubra, respectively), an invasive slug (Arion subfuscus), and native rodents-on a native myrmecochorous plant, Asarum canadense. We experimentally manipulated ant, slug, and rodent access to seed depots and measured seed removal. We also video-recorded depots to determine which other taxa interact with seeds. We found that A. rudis was the main disperser of seeds and that A. subfuscus consumed elaiosomes without dispersing seeds. Rodent visitation was rare, and rodent exclusion had no significant effect on seed or elaiosome removal. We then used data obtained from laboratory and field mesocosm experiments to determine how elaiosome robbing by A. subfuscus affects seed dispersal by A. rudis and M. rubra. We found that elaiosome robbing by slugs reduced seed dispersal by ants, especially in mesocosms with A. rudis, which picks up seeds more slowly than M. rubra. Taken together, our results show that elaiosome robbing by an invasive slug reduces seed dispersal by ants, suggesting that invasive slugs can have profound negative effects on seed dispersal mutualisms.

  9. Signals can trump rewards in attracting seed-dispersing ants.

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    Turner, Kyle M; Frederickson, Megan E

    2013-01-01

    Both rewards and signals are important in mutualisms. In myrmecochory, or seed dispersal by ants, the benefits to plants are relatively well studied, but less is known about why ants pick up and move seeds. We examined seed dispersal by the ant Aphaenogaster rudis of four co-occurring species of plants, and tested whether morphology, chemical signaling, or the nutritional quality of fatty seed appendages called elaiosomes influenced dispersal rates. In removal trials, ants quickly collected diaspores (seeds plus elaiosomes) of Asarum canadense, Trillium grandiflorum, and Sanguinaria canadensis, but largely neglected those of T. erectum. This discrepancy was not explained by differences in the bulk cost-benefit ratio, as assessed by the ratio of seed to elaiosome mass. We also provisioned colonies with diaspores from one of these four plant species or no diaspores as a control. Colonies performed best when fed S. canadensis diaspores, worst when fed T. grandiflorum, and intermediately when fed A. canadense, T. erectum, or no diaspores. Thus, the nutritional rewards in elaiosomes affected colony performance, but did not completely predict seed removal. Instead, high levels of oleic acid in T. grandiflorum elaiosomes may explain why ants disperse these diaspores even though they reduce ant colony performance. We show for the first time that different elaiosome-bearing plants provide rewards of different quality to ant colonies, but also that ants appear unable to accurately assess reward quality when encountering seeds. Instead, we suggest that signals can trump rewards as attractants of ants to seeds.

  10. Signals can trump rewards in attracting seed-dispersing ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kyle M Turner

    Full Text Available Both rewards and signals are important in mutualisms. In myrmecochory, or seed dispersal by ants, the benefits to plants are relatively well studied, but less is known about why ants pick up and move seeds. We examined seed dispersal by the ant Aphaenogaster rudis of four co-occurring species of plants, and tested whether morphology, chemical signaling, or the nutritional quality of fatty seed appendages called elaiosomes influenced dispersal rates. In removal trials, ants quickly collected diaspores (seeds plus elaiosomes of Asarum canadense, Trillium grandiflorum, and Sanguinaria canadensis, but largely neglected those of T. erectum. This discrepancy was not explained by differences in the bulk cost-benefit ratio, as assessed by the ratio of seed to elaiosome mass. We also provisioned colonies with diaspores from one of these four plant species or no diaspores as a control. Colonies performed best when fed S. canadensis diaspores, worst when fed T. grandiflorum, and intermediately when fed A. canadense, T. erectum, or no diaspores. Thus, the nutritional rewards in elaiosomes affected colony performance, but did not completely predict seed removal. Instead, high levels of oleic acid in T. grandiflorum elaiosomes may explain why ants disperse these diaspores even though they reduce ant colony performance. We show for the first time that different elaiosome-bearing plants provide rewards of different quality to ant colonies, but also that ants appear unable to accurately assess reward quality when encountering seeds. Instead, we suggest that signals can trump rewards as attractants of ants to seeds.

  11. Ant-mediated seed dispersal in a warmed world.

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    Stuble, Katharine L; Patterson, Courtney M; Rodriguez-Cabal, Mariano A; Ribbons, Relena R; Dunn, Robert R; Sanders, Nathan J

    2014-01-01

    Climate change affects communities both directly and indirectly via changes in interspecific interactions. One such interaction that may be altered under climate change is the ant-plant seed dispersal mutualism common in deciduous forests of eastern North America. As climatic warming alters the abundance and activity levels of ants, the potential exists for shifts in rates of ant-mediated seed dispersal. We used an experimental temperature manipulation at two sites in the eastern US (Harvard Forest in Massachusetts and Duke Forest in North Carolina) to examine the potential impacts of climatic warming on overall rates of seed dispersal (using Asarum canadense seeds) as well as species-specific rates of seed dispersal at the Duke Forest site. We also examined the relationship between ant critical thermal maxima (CTmax) and the mean seed removal temperature for each ant species. We found that seed removal rates did not change as a result of experimental warming at either study site, nor were there any changes in species-specific rates of seed dispersal. There was, however, a positive relationship between CTmax and mean seed removal temperature, whereby species with higher CTmax removed more seeds at hotter temperatures. The temperature at which seeds were removed was influenced by experimental warming as well as diurnal and day-to-day fluctuations in temperature. Taken together, our results suggest that while temperature may play a role in regulating seed removal by ants, ant plant seed-dispersal mutualisms may be more robust to climate change than currently assumed.

  12. Ant-mediated seed dispersal in a warmed world

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    Patterson, Courtney M.; Rodriguez-Cabal, Mariano A.; Ribbons, Relena R.; Dunn, Robert R.; Sanders, Nathan J.

    2014-01-01

    Climate change affects communities both directly and indirectly via changes in interspecific interactions. One such interaction that may be altered under climate change is the ant-plant seed dispersal mutualism common in deciduous forests of eastern North America. As climatic warming alters the abundance and activity levels of ants, the potential exists for shifts in rates of ant-mediated seed dispersal. We used an experimental temperature manipulation at two sites in the eastern US (Harvard Forest in Massachusetts and Duke Forest in North Carolina) to examine the potential impacts of climatic warming on overall rates of seed dispersal (using Asarum canadense seeds) as well as species-specific rates of seed dispersal at the Duke Forest site. We also examined the relationship between ant critical thermal maxima (CTmax) and the mean seed removal temperature for each ant species. We found that seed removal rates did not change as a result of experimental warming at either study site, nor were there any changes in species-specific rates of seed dispersal. There was, however, a positive relationship between CTmax and mean seed removal temperature, whereby species with higher CTmax removed more seeds at hotter temperatures. The temperature at which seeds were removed was influenced by experimental warming as well as diurnal and day-to-day fluctuations in temperature. Taken together, our results suggest that while temperature may play a role in regulating seed removal by ants, ant plant seed-dispersal mutualisms may be more robust to climate change than currently assumed. PMID:24688863

  13. A Switch in Keystone Seed-Dispersing Ant Genera between Two Elevations for a Myrmecochorous Plant, Acacia terminalis.

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    Thomson, Fiona J; Auld, Tony D; Ramp, Daniel; Kingsford, Richard T

    2016-01-01

    The dispersal capacity of plant species that rely on animals to disperse their seeds (biotic dispersal) can alter with changes to the populations of their keystone dispersal vectors. Knowledge on how biotic dispersal systems vary across landscapes allows better understanding of factors driving plant persistence. Myrmecochory, seed dispersal by ants, is a common method of biotic dispersal for many plant species throughout the world. We tested if the seed dispersal system of Acacia terminalis (Fabaceae), a known myrmecochore, differed between two elevations in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, in southeastern Australia. We compared ant assemblages, seed removal rates of ants and other vertebrates (bird and mammal) and the dominant seed-dispersing ant genera. At low elevations (c. 200 m a.s.l) seed removal was predominantly by ants, however, at high elevation sites (c. 700 m a.s.l) vertebrate seed dispersers or seed predators were present, removing over 60% of seeds from experimental depots when ants were excluded. We found a switch in the keystone seed-dispersing ant genera from Rhytidoponera at low elevations sites to Aphaenogaster at high elevation sites. This resulted in more seeds being removed faster at low elevation sites compared to high elevation sites, however long-term seed removal rates were equal between elevations. Differences in the keystone seed removalist, and the addition of an alternate dispersal vector or seed predator at high elevations, will result in different dispersal and establishment patterns for A. terminalis at different elevations. These differences in dispersal concur with other global studies that report myrmecochorous dispersal systems alter with elevation.

  14. A Switch in Keystone Seed-Dispersing Ant Genera between Two Elevations for a Myrmecochorous Plant, Acacia terminalis.

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    Fiona J Thomson

    Full Text Available The dispersal capacity of plant species that rely on animals to disperse their seeds (biotic dispersal can alter with changes to the populations of their keystone dispersal vectors. Knowledge on how biotic dispersal systems vary across landscapes allows better understanding of factors driving plant persistence. Myrmecochory, seed dispersal by ants, is a common method of biotic dispersal for many plant species throughout the world. We tested if the seed dispersal system of Acacia terminalis (Fabaceae, a known myrmecochore, differed between two elevations in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, in southeastern Australia. We compared ant assemblages, seed removal rates of ants and other vertebrates (bird and mammal and the dominant seed-dispersing ant genera. At low elevations (c. 200 m a.s.l seed removal was predominantly by ants, however, at high elevation sites (c. 700 m a.s.l vertebrate seed dispersers or seed predators were present, removing over 60% of seeds from experimental depots when ants were excluded. We found a switch in the keystone seed-dispersing ant genera from Rhytidoponera at low elevations sites to Aphaenogaster at high elevation sites. This resulted in more seeds being removed faster at low elevation sites compared to high elevation sites, however long-term seed removal rates were equal between elevations. Differences in the keystone seed removalist, and the addition of an alternate dispersal vector or seed predator at high elevations, will result in different dispersal and establishment patterns for A. terminalis at different elevations. These differences in dispersal concur with other global studies that report myrmecochorous dispersal systems alter with elevation.

  15. Changes in canopy structure and ant assemblages affect soil ecosystem variables as a foundation species declines

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kendrick, Joseph A.; Ribbons, Relena Rose; Classen, Aimee Taylor

    2015-01-01

    (richness and abundance) of ants increases rapidly as T. canadensis is lost from the stands. Because ants live and forage at the litter-soil interface, we hypothesized that environmental changes caused by hemlock loss (e.g., increased light and warmth at the forest floor, increased soil pH) and shifts...... in ant species composition would interact to alter soil ecosystem variables. In the Harvard Forest Hemlock Removal Experiment (HF-HeRE), established in 2003, T. canadensis in large plots were killed in place or logged and removed to mimic adelgid infestation or salvage harvesting, respectively. In 2006......, we built ant exclosure subplots within all of the canopy manipulation plots to examine direct and interactive effects of canopy change and ant assemblage composition on soil and litter variables. Throughout HF-HeRE, T. canadensis was colonized by the adelgid in 2009, and the infested trees are now...

  16. Ant-mediated seed dispersal in a warmed world

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katharine L. Stuble

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Climate change affects communities both directly and indirectly via changes in interspecific interactions. One such interaction that may be altered under climate change is the ant-plant seed dispersal mutualism common in deciduous forests of eastern North America. As climatic warming alters the abundance and activity levels of ants, the potential exists for shifts in rates of ant-mediated seed dispersal. We used an experimental temperature manipulation at two sites in the eastern US (Harvard Forest in Massachusetts and Duke Forest in North Carolina to examine the potential impacts of climatic warming on overall rates of seed dispersal (using Asarum canadense seeds as well as species-specific rates of seed dispersal at the Duke Forest site. We also examined the relationship between ant critical thermal maxima (CTmax and the mean seed removal temperature for each ant species. We found that seed removal rates did not change as a result of experimental warming at either study site, nor were there any changes in species-specific rates of seed dispersal. There was, however, a positive relationship between CTmax and mean seed removal temperature, whereby species with higher CTmax removed more seeds at hotter temperatures. The temperature at which seeds were removed was influenced by experimental warming as well as diurnal and day-to-day fluctuations in temperature. Taken together, our results suggest that while temperature may play a role in regulating seed removal by ants, ant plant seed-dispersal mutualisms may be more robust to climate change than currently assumed.

  17. Changes in canopy structure and ant assemblages affect soil ecosystem variables as a foundation species declines

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kendrick, Joseph A.; Ribbons, Relena Rose; Classen, Aimee Taylor;

    2015-01-01

    in ant species composition would interact to alter soil ecosystem variables. In the Harvard Forest Hemlock Removal Experiment (HF-HeRE), established in 2003, T. canadensis in large plots were killed in place or logged and removed to mimic adelgid infestation or salvage harvesting, respectively. In 2006......, we built ant exclosure subplots within all of the canopy manipulation plots to examine direct and interactive effects of canopy change and ant assemblage composition on soil and litter variables. Throughout HF-HeRE, T. canadensis was colonized by the adelgid in 2009, and the infested trees are now...... declining. The experimental removal of T. canadensis from the canopy was associated with an increase in the rate of cellulose decomposition by >50%, and exclosure of ants from subplots directly reduced their soil nitrate availability by 56%. Partial least squares path models revealed sequential interactive...

  18. Ant exclusion in citrus over an 8-year period reveals a pervasive yet changing effect of ants on a Mediterranean spider assemblage.

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    Mestre, L; Piñol, J; Barrientos, J A; Espadaler, X

    2013-09-01

    Ants and spiders are ubiquitous generalist predators that exert top-down control on herbivore populations. Research shows that intraguild interactions between ants and spiders can negatively affect spider populations, but there is a lack of long-term research documenting the strength of such interactions and the potentially different effects of ants on the diverse array of species in a spider assemblage. Similarly, the suitability of family-level surrogates for finding patterns revealed by species-level data (taxonomic sufficiency) has almost never been tested in spider assemblages. We present a long-term study in which we tested the impact of ants on the spider assemblage of a Mediterranean citrus grove by performing sequential 1-year experimental exclusions on tree canopies for 8 years. We found that ants had a widespread influence on the spider assemblage, although the effect was only evident in the last 5 years of the study. During those years, ants negatively affected many spiders, and effects were especially strong for sedentary spiders. Analyses at the family level also detected assemblage differences between treatments, but they concealed the different responses to ant exclusion shown by some related spider species. Our findings show that the effects of experimental manipulations in ecology can vary greatly over time and highlight the need for long-term studies to document species interactions.

  19. Does an ant-dispersed plant, Viola reichenbachiana, suffer from reduced seed dispersal under inundation disturbances?

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    Prinzing, A.; Dauber, J.; Hammer, E.; Hammouti, N.; Bohning-Gaese, K.

    2008-01-01

    Many plant species use ants as seed dispersers. This dispersal mode is considered to be susceptible to disturbances, but the effect of natural, small-scale disturbances is still unknown. We investigated how small-scale disturbances due to inundation affect seed dispersal in Viola reichenbachiana, a

  20. Ant assemblage (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in three wind farms in the State of Paraná, Brazil

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    J. A. Lutinski

    Full Text Available Abstract The transformation of natural habitats into areas destined to agriculture or projects of energy production has generated a growing concern about the impact on biological diversity. Thus, this study evaluated the diversity of ants in agroecosystems in the area of direct influence of three wind farms in the municipality of Marmeleiro, State of Paraná and examined the association of occurrences with sampling periods. To this end, four samplings were conducted in 2013, one per season. Pitfalls, Malaise trap and Net sweep were used. The assemblages were characterized and compared using richness and number of occurrences of ants. Chao 2 estimates were calculated and a comparison (rarefaction analysis of the assemblages was performed. The association of the species with the samples was evaluated by a Principal Component Analysis (PCA. Altogether, there were 1,576 occurrences of ants, totaling 55 species. The obtained estimate indicated that richness may be up to 35% higher. Our study adds important information about richness and occurrence of ants in a region poorly analyzed for this group. Most of all, it presents a survey of species occurring in agricultural ecosystems that may serve as a parameter for future evaluations when wind farms are installed.

  1. Are ant assemblages of Brazilian veredas characterised by location or habitat type?

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    CB Costa-Milanez

    Full Text Available Wetland areas in the Brazilian Cerrado, known as “veredas”, represent ecosystems formed on sandy soils with high concentrations of peat, and are responsible for the recharge of aquiferous reservoirs. They are currently under threat by various human activities, most notably the clearing of vegetation for Eucalyptus plantations. Despite their ecological importance and high conservation value, little is known about the actual effects of human disturbance on the animal community. To assess how habitat within different veredas, and plantations surrounding them affect ant assemblages, we selected four independent vereda locations, two being impacted by Eucalyptus monoculture (one younger and one mature plantation and two controls, where the wetland was surrounded by cerrado vegetation. Ant sampling was conducted in May 2010 (dry season using three complementary methods, namely baits, pitfall traps, and hand collection, in the wetland and in the surrounding habitats. A total of 7,575 ants were sampled, belonging to seven subfamilies, 32 genera and 124 species. Ant species richness and abundance did not differ between vereda locations, but did between the habitats. When impacted by the monoculture, ant species richness and abundance decreased in wetlands, but were less affected in the cerrado habitat. Ant species composition differed between the three habitats and between vereda locations. Eucalyptus plantations had an ant species composition defined by high dominance of Pheidole sp. and Solenopsis invicta, while natural habitats were defined by Camponotus and Crematogaster species. Atta sexdens was strictly confined to native habitats of non-impacted “veredas”. Eucalyptus monocultures require high quantities of water in the early stages, which may have caused a decrease in groundwater level in the wetland, allowing hypogeic ants such as Labidus praedator to colonise this habitat.

  2. Geographic mosaic of plant evolution: extrafloral nectary variation mediated by ant and herbivore assemblages.

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    Anselmo Nogueira

    Full Text Available Herbivory is an ecological process that is known to generate different patterns of selection on defensive plant traits across populations. Studies on this topic could greatly benefit from the general framework of the Geographic Mosaic Theory of Coevolution (GMT. Here, we hypothesize that herbivory represents a strong pressure for extrafloral nectary (EFN bearing plants, with differences in herbivore and ant visitor assemblages leading to different evolutionary pressures among localities and ultimately to differences in EFN abundance and function. In this study, we investigate this hypothesis by analyzing 10 populations of Anemopaegma album (30 individuals per population distributed through ca. 600 km of Neotropical savanna and covering most of the geographic range of this plant species. A common garden experiment revealed a phenotypic differentiation in EFN abundance, in which field and experimental plants showed a similar pattern of EFN variation among populations. We also did not find significant correlations between EFN traits and ant abundance, herbivory and plant performance across localities. Instead, a more complex pattern of ant-EFN variation, a geographic mosaic, emerged throughout the geographical range of A. album. We modeled the functional relationship between EFNs and ant traits across ant species and extended this phenotypic interface to characterize local situations of phenotypic matching and mismatching at the population level. Two distinct types of phenotypic matching emerged throughout populations: (1 a population with smaller ants (Crematogaster crinosa matched with low abundance of EFNs; and (2 seven populations with bigger ants (Camponotus species matched with higher EFN abundances. Three matched populations showed the highest plant performance and narrower variance of EFN abundance, representing potential plant evolutionary hotspots. Cases of mismatched and matched populations with the lowest performance were associated

  3. Loss of functional diversity of ant assemblages in secondary tropical forests.

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    Bihn, Jochen H; Gebauer, Gerhard; Brandl, Roland

    2010-03-01

    Secondary forests and plantations increasingly dominate the tropical wooded landscape in place of primary forests. The expected reduction of biodiversity and its impact on ecological functions provided by these secondary forests are of major concern to society and ecologists. The potential effect of biodiversity loss on ecosystem functioning depends largely on the associated loss in the functional diversity of animal and plant assemblages, i.e., the degree of functional redundancy among species. However, the relationship between species and functional diversity is still poorly documented for most ecosystems. Here, we analyze how changes in the species diversity of ground-foraging ant assemblages translate into changes of functional diversity along a successional gradient of secondary forests in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. Our analysis uses continuous measures of functional diversity and is based on four functional traits related to resource use of ants: body size, relative eye size, relative leg length, and trophic position. We find a strong relationship between species and functional diversity, independent of the functional traits used, with no evidence for saturation in this relationship. Recovery of species richness and diversity of ant assemblages in tropical secondary forests was accompanied by a proportional increase of functional richness and diversity of assemblages. Moreover, our results indicate that the increase in functional diversity along the successional gradient of secondary forests is primarily driven by rare species, which are functionally unique. The observed loss of both species and functional diversity in secondary forests offers no reason to believe that the ecological functions provided by secondary forests are buffered against species loss through functional redundancy.

  4. Geographic Mosaic of Plant Evolution: Extrafloral Nectary Variation Mediated by Ant and Herbivore Assemblages

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    Nogueira, Anselmo; Rey, Pedro J.; Alcántara, Julio M.; Feitosa, Rodrigo M.; Lohmann, Lúcia G.

    2015-01-01

    Herbivory is an ecological process that is known to generate different patterns of selection on defensive plant traits across populations. Studies on this topic could greatly benefit from the general framework of the Geographic Mosaic Theory of Coevolution (GMT). Here, we hypothesize that herbivory represents a strong pressure for extrafloral nectary (EFN) bearing plants, with differences in herbivore and ant visitor assemblages leading to different evolutionary pressures among localities and ultimately to differences in EFN abundance and function. In this study, we investigate this hypothesis by analyzing 10 populations of Anemopaegma album (30 individuals per population) distributed through ca. 600 km of Neotropical savanna and covering most of the geographic range of this plant species. A common garden experiment revealed a phenotypic differentiation in EFN abundance, in which field and experimental plants showed a similar pattern of EFN variation among populations. We also did not find significant correlations between EFN traits and ant abundance, herbivory and plant performance across localities. Instead, a more complex pattern of ant–EFN variation, a geographic mosaic, emerged throughout the geographical range of A. album. We modeled the functional relationship between EFNs and ant traits across ant species and extended this phenotypic interface to characterize local situations of phenotypic matching and mismatching at the population level. Two distinct types of phenotypic matching emerged throughout populations: (1) a population with smaller ants (Crematogaster crinosa) matched with low abundance of EFNs; and (2) seven populations with bigger ants (Camponotus species) matched with higher EFN abundances. Three matched populations showed the highest plant performance and narrower variance of EFN abundance, representing potential plant evolutionary hotspots. Cases of mismatched and matched populations with the lowest performance were associated with abundant

  5. Seed dispersal by ants and its consequences for the phenology of plants : a study system for mutualistic animal plant interactions

    OpenAIRE

    Oberrath, Reik

    2000-01-01

    The hypothesis was tested that ant dispersed plant species are adapted to the seasonal variation in ant activity, i.e. that ant dispersed plant species produce ripe fruits when the activity of their seed dispersers is especially high. Two testable predictions of this hypothesis exist: 1. Ant dispersed and differently dispersed plant species differ in their seasonal development, i.e. ant dispersed plant species fruit (flower) earlier or later in the year than other plant species. Floristic inv...

  6. Assessing ecological specialization of an ant-seed dispersal mutualism through a wide geographic range.

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    Manzaneda, Antonio J; Rey, Pedro J

    2009-11-01

    Specialization in species interactions is of central importance for understanding the ecological structure and evolution of plant-animal mutualisms. Most plant-animal mutualisms are facultative and strongly asymmetric. In particular, myrmecochory (seed dispersal by ants) has been regarded as a very generalized interaction. Although some recent studies have suggested that only a few ant species are really important for dispersal, no rigorous measurement of the specialization in ant-seed dispersal mutualisms has been performed. Here, we use individual plants as basic units for replication to investigate the generalization-specialization of the herb Helleborus foetidus on its ant dispersers over a considerable part of its geographical range. We define generalization in terms of diversity components (species richness and evenness) of the ant visitor that realizes dispersal by removing diaspores. We obtain truly comparable values of ant visitor diversity, distinguishing among different functional groups of visitors and identifying incidental visitors and real ant dispersers. Using null model approaches, we test the null hypothesis that ant-mediated dispersal is a generalized mutualism. At least two premises should be confirmed to validate the hypothesis: (1) diaspores are dispersed by multiple ant-visitor species, and (2) diaspore dispersal is significantly equitable. Though up to 37 ant species visited diaspores across 10 populations, only two large formicines, Camponotus cruentatus and Formica lugubris, were responsible for the vast majority of visits resulting in dispersal in most populations and years, which strongly suggests that ant seed dispersal in H. foetidus is ecologically specialized. Interestingly, specialization degree was unrelated to dispersal success across populations. Our study offers new insights into the spatiotemporal dynamics of myrmecochory. We propose the existence of an alternative scenario to extensive generalization. In this new scenario

  7. Seed consumption and dispersal of ant-dispersed plants by slugs.

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    Türke, Manfred; Heinze, Eric; Andreas, Kerstin; Svendsen, Sarah M; Gossner, Martin M; Weisser, Wolfgang W

    2010-07-01

    In beech-dominated forests in Central Europe, many spring geophytes show adaptations to seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory). Ants, however, can be rare in such moist forests. Motivated by observations of slug feeding on seeds we investigated the seed consumption of two plant species, Anemone nemorosa and Asarum europaeum, by slugs, in a series of experiments. In a seed predation experiment in a beech forest, we found that seed removal was strongly reduced when gastropods were excluded from the seed depots. The contribution of insects, including ants, and rodents to seed removal was relatively less but differed between May and July. In the laboratory, slug species, in particular Arion sp., consumed seeds of both plant species. Slugs either consumed the elaiosomes of seeds or swallowed seeds intact. Swallowed seeds were defecated undamaged and germinated as well as control seeds when buried overwinter, indicating the potential for seed dispersal by slugs. We also recovered seeds of myrmecochores in the faeces of several slugs caught in forests. In a slug release experiment in the forest, slugs moved up to 14.6 m (mean 4.4 m) in 15 h, which is the median gut passage time of seeds based on measurements made in the laboratory. We also found that when slug-defecated seeds were offered to rodents, these were less attractive than control seeds, suggesting that passage through the slug gut reduces seed predation risk. Our results demonstrate that slugs are significant consumers of elaiosomes or entire seeds of ant-dispersed plants and that they can function as seed dispersers of these plants.

  8. Identifying Shifts in Leaf-Litter Ant Assemblages (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) across Ecosystem Boundaries Using Multiple Sampling Methods

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    Wiezik, Michal; Svitok, Marek; Wieziková, Adela; Dovčiak, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Global or regional environmental changes in climate or land use have been increasingly implied in shifts in boundaries (ecotones) between adjacent ecosystems such as beech or oak-dominated forests and forest-steppe ecotones that frequently co-occur near the southern range limits of deciduous forest biome in Europe. Yet, our ability to detect changes in biological communities across these ecosystems, or to understand their environmental drivers, can be hampered when different sampling methods are required to characterize biological communities of the adjacent but ecologically different ecosystems. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) have been shown to be particularly sensitive to changes in temperature and vegetation and they require different sampling methods in closed vs. open habitats. We compared ant assemblages of closed-forests (beech- or oak-dominated) and open forest-steppe habitats in southwestern Carpathians using methods for closed-forest (litter sifting) and open habitats (pitfall trapping), and developed an integrated sampling approach to characterize changes in ant assemblages across these adjacent ecosystems. Using both methods, we collected 5,328 individual ant workers from 28 species. Neither method represented ant communities completely, but pitfall trapping accounted for more species (24) than litter sifting (16). Although pitfall trapping characterized differences in species richness and composition among the ecosystems better, with beech forest being most species poor and ecotone most species rich, litter sifting was more successful in identifying characteristic litter-dwelling species in oak-dominated forest. The integrated sampling approach using both methods yielded more accurate characterization of species richness and composition, and particularly so in species-rich forest-steppe habitat where the combined sample identified significantly higher number of species compared to either of the two methods on their own. Thus, an integrated sampling

  9. Identifying Shifts in Leaf-Litter Ant Assemblages (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) across Ecosystem Boundaries Using Multiple Sampling Methods.

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    Wiezik, Michal; Svitok, Marek; Wieziková, Adela; Dovčiak, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Global or regional environmental changes in climate or land use have been increasingly implied in shifts in boundaries (ecotones) between adjacent ecosystems such as beech or oak-dominated forests and forest-steppe ecotones that frequently co-occur near the southern range limits of deciduous forest biome in Europe. Yet, our ability to detect changes in biological communities across these ecosystems, or to understand their environmental drivers, can be hampered when different sampling methods are required to characterize biological communities of the adjacent but ecologically different ecosystems. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) have been shown to be particularly sensitive to changes in temperature and vegetation and they require different sampling methods in closed vs. open habitats. We compared ant assemblages of closed-forests (beech- or oak-dominated) and open forest-steppe habitats in southwestern Carpathians using methods for closed-forest (litter sifting) and open habitats (pitfall trapping), and developed an integrated sampling approach to characterize changes in ant assemblages across these adjacent ecosystems. Using both methods, we collected 5,328 individual ant workers from 28 species. Neither method represented ant communities completely, but pitfall trapping accounted for more species (24) than litter sifting (16). Although pitfall trapping characterized differences in species richness and composition among the ecosystems better, with beech forest being most species poor and ecotone most species rich, litter sifting was more successful in identifying characteristic litter-dwelling species in oak-dominated forest. The integrated sampling approach using both methods yielded more accurate characterization of species richness and composition, and particularly so in species-rich forest-steppe habitat where the combined sample identified significantly higher number of species compared to either of the two methods on their own. Thus, an integrated sampling

  10. New mutualism for old: indirect disruption and direct facilitation of seed dispersal following Argentine ant invasion.

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    Rowles, Alexei D; O'Dowd, Dennis J

    2009-01-01

    The indirect effects of biological invasions on native communities are poorly understood. Disruption of native ant communities following invasion by the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is widely reported to lead indirectly to the near complete collapse of seed dispersal services. In coastal scrub in southeastern Australia, we examined seed dispersal and handling of two native and two invasive alien plant species at Argentine ant-invaded or -uninvaded sites. The Argentine ant virtually eliminates the native keystone disperser Rhytidoponera victoriae, but seed dispersal did not collapse following invasion. Indeed, Argentine ants directly accounted for 92% of all ant-seed interactions and sustained overall seed dispersal rates. Nevertheless, dispersal quantity and quality among seed species differed between Argentine ant-invaded and -uninvaded sites. Argentine ants removed significantly fewer native Acacia retinodes seeds, but significantly more small seeds of invasive Polygala myrtifolia than did native ants at uninvaded sites. They also handled significantly more large seeds of A. sophorae, but rarely moved them >5 cm, instead recruiting en masse, consuming elaiosomes piecemeal and burying seeds in situ. In contrast, Argentine ants transported and interred P. myrtifolia seeds in their shallow nests. Experiments with artificial diaspores that varied in diaspore and elaiosome masses, but kept seed morphology and elaiosome quality constant, showed that removal by L. humile depended on the interaction of seed size and percentage elaiosome reward. Small diaspores were frequently taken, independent of high or low elaiosome reward, but large artificial diaspores with high reward instead elicited mass recruitment by Argentine ants and were rarely moved. Thus, Argentine ants appear to favour some diaspore types and reject others based largely on diaspore size and percentage reward. Such variability in response indirectly reduces native seed dispersal and can directly

  11. Asymmetric dispersal and colonization success of Amazonian plant-ants queens.

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    Emilio M Bruna

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The dispersal ability of queens is central to understanding ant life-history evolution, and plays a fundamental role in ant population and community dynamics, the maintenance of genetic diversity, and the spread of invasive ants. In tropical ecosystems, species from over 40 genera of ants establish colonies in the stems, hollow thorns, or leaf pouches of specialized plants. However, little is known about the relative dispersal ability of queens competing for access to the same host plants. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We used empirical data and inverse modeling--a technique developed by plant ecologists to model seed dispersal--to quantify and compare the dispersal kernels of queens from three Amazonian ant species that compete for access to host-plants. We found that the modal colonization distance of queens varied 8-fold, with the generalist ant species (Crematogaster laevis having a greater modal distance than two specialists (Pheidole minutula, Azteca sp. that use the same host-plants. However, our results also suggest that queens of Azteca sp. have maximal distances that are four-sixteen times greater than those of its competitors. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We found large differences between ant species in both the modal and maximal distance ant queens disperse to find vacant seedlings used to found new colonies. These differences could result from interspecific differences in queen body size, and hence wing musculature, or because queens differ in their ability to identify potential host plants while in flight. Our results provide support for one of the necessary conditions underlying several of the hypothesized mechanisms promoting coexistence in tropical plant-ants. They also suggest that for some ant species limited dispersal capability could pose a significant barrier to the rescue of populations in isolated forest fragments. Finally, we demonstrate that inverse models parameterized with field data are an excellent means

  12. Asymmetric dispersal and colonization success of Amazonian plant-ants queens.

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    Bruna, Emilio M; Izzo, Thiago J; Inouye, Brian D; Uriarte, Maria; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L

    2011-01-01

    The dispersal ability of queens is central to understanding ant life-history evolution, and plays a fundamental role in ant population and community dynamics, the maintenance of genetic diversity, and the spread of invasive ants. In tropical ecosystems, species from over 40 genera of ants establish colonies in the stems, hollow thorns, or leaf pouches of specialized plants. However, little is known about the relative dispersal ability of queens competing for access to the same host plants. We used empirical data and inverse modeling--a technique developed by plant ecologists to model seed dispersal--to quantify and compare the dispersal kernels of queens from three Amazonian ant species that compete for access to host-plants. We found that the modal colonization distance of queens varied 8-fold, with the generalist ant species (Crematogaster laevis) having a greater modal distance than two specialists (Pheidole minutula, Azteca sp.) that use the same host-plants. However, our results also suggest that queens of Azteca sp. have maximal distances that are four-sixteen times greater than those of its competitors. We found large differences between ant species in both the modal and maximal distance ant queens disperse to find vacant seedlings used to found new colonies. These differences could result from interspecific differences in queen body size, and hence wing musculature, or because queens differ in their ability to identify potential host plants while in flight. Our results provide support for one of the necessary conditions underlying several of the hypothesized mechanisms promoting coexistence in tropical plant-ants. They also suggest that for some ant species limited dispersal capability could pose a significant barrier to the rescue of populations in isolated forest fragments. Finally, we demonstrate that inverse models parameterized with field data are an excellent means of quantifying the dispersal of ant queens.

  13. A life history continuum in the males of a Neotropical ant assemblage: refuting the sperm vessel hypothesis

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    Shik, Jonathan Z.; Flatt, Deana; Kay, Adam; Kaspari, Michael

    2012-03-01

    Animal lifespans range from a few days to many decades, and this life history diversity is especially pronounced in ants. Queens can live for decades. Males, in contrast, are often assumed to act as ephemeral sperm delivery vessels that die after a brief mating flight—a view developed from studies of lekking species in temperate habitats. In a tropical ant assemblage, we found that males can live days to months outside the nest, a trait hypothesized to be associated with female calling, another common mating system. We combined feeding experiments with respirometry to show that lifespan can be enhanced over 3 months by feeding outside the nest. In one focal female calling species, Ectatomma ruidum, feeding enhanced male lifespan, but not sperm content. Extended lifespans outside the nest suggest stronger than expected selection on premating traits of male ants, although the ways these traits shape male mating success remain poorly understood.

  14. Bird and ant synergy increases the seed dispersal effectiveness of an ornithochoric shrub.

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    Camargo, Paulo H S A; Martins, Milene M; Feitosa, Rodrigo M; Christianini, Alexander V

    2016-06-01

    Seed dispersal may involve different vectors of dispersal in two or more sequential phases (i.e., diplochory). However, contributions of each phase to the overall seed dispersal effectiveness (SDE) are poorly understood and hard to evaluate due to post-dispersal processes that affect seed and seedling survival. We investigated the simultaneous bird (phase 1, in plant canopy) and ant (phase 2, on the floor) contributions to SDE with the ornithochoric shrub Erythroxylum ambiguum in a Brazilian Atlantic forest. Twelve species of birds fed on fruit and dispersed approximately 26 % of the seed crop. The remaining seed crop, 90 % of which contained viable seeds, fell to the ground beneath the parental plant. Ants either cleaned seeds in fruits or carried fallen fruit and seeds from bird feces to their nests. Although E. ambiguum has no adaptation for ant dispersal, ants were as quantitatively important as birds. Birds and ants equally increased germination rates compared to controls. However, birds deposited seeds farther from the parent, where seedling survival was higher (78 %) than it was beneath the parent (44 %), whereas ants carried seeds to their nests, where seedling survival was higher (83 %) than in controls away from their nests (63 %). Diplochory allowed a 42 % increase in SDE compared to dispersal in phase 1 alone. High lipid content in the fruit pulp of E. ambiguum may facilitate the inclusion of ants in a second step of dispersal after diaspores reach the floor. Ants can also buffer the dispersal of diplochorous plants against decreases in phase 1 dispersers.

  15. Conflicting selection on diaspore traits limits the evolutionary potential of seed dispersal by ants.

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    Manzaneda, Antonio J; Rey, P J; Alcántara, J M

    2009-07-01

    Conflicts of selection on diaspore traits throughout the dispersal cycle can limit the evolutionary consequences of seed dispersal. However, these conflicts have never been investigated in directed dispersal systems. We explored conflicts of selection through life stages of dispersal in the myrmecochorous herb Helleborus foetidus. Seeds are subject to two contrasting partial selective scenarios. Undispersed seeds are subject to positive directional selection on seed size characters, whereas seeds dispersed are subject to stabilizing selection for size. In both scenarios, seedling establishment determined the magnitude and direction of selection. This does not reflect ant preferences for seed size. However, total selection still depends largely on ant activity, as ants control the relative importance of each selective scenario. We advocate the use of analytical approaches combining multiplicative fitness and microenvironment-specific selection to more realistically estimate the realized selection on traits functional during several life stages. This approach may be extended to any organism dispersing offspring to different environments.

  16. Geographic variations in seed dispersal by ants: are plant and seed traits decisive?

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    Boulay, R.; Coll-Toledano, J.; Manzaneda, A. J.; Cerdá, X.

    2007-03-01

    The effect of local ant species on the dispersal success of a myrmecochorous plant, Helleborus foetidus, was analyzed in two populations of the Iberian Peninsula (Caurel and Cazorla, respectively). The contribution of the various local ant species to dispersal was very unequal. While 5 and 19 ant taxa visited the plants of Caurel and Cazorla, respectively, most removal activity (67 and 80%) was performed by two species only (Formica lugubris and Camponotus cruentatus, respectively). Visits by dispersers were also unequally distributed between neighboring plants. While some plants were always visited during the period of seed release, others were never visited. A regression model indicated that this pattern might be explained by two plant traits: ants preferred to visit plants that released more seeds and whose elaiosomes were richer in oleic acid. Although it has long been known that this compound triggers removal by ants, it is the first demonstration that quantitative variations in elaiosome traits contribute to variation in dispersal success. Finally, other variables being equal, morphological traits (seed size, elaiosome size, and elaiosome/seed size ratio) did not affect ant behavior. Although myrmecochory has long been considered a diffuse interaction, our results support the idea that, at local scale, a limited number of ant species may be decisive to its evolution.

  17. Quantitative analysis of the effects of the exotic Argentine ant on seed-dispersal mutualisms.

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    Rodriguez-Cabal, Mariano A; Stuble, Katharine L; Nuñez, Martin A; Sanders, Nathan J

    2009-08-23

    Although it is increasingly clear that exotic invasive species affect seed-dispersal mutualisms, a synthetic examination of the effect of exotic invasive species on seed-dispersal mutualisms is lacking. Here, we review the impacts of the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) on seed dispersal. We found that sites with L. humile had 92 per cent fewer native ant seed dispersers than did sites where L. humile was absent. In addition, L. humile did not replace native seed dispersers, as rates of seed removal and seedling establishment were all lower in the presence of L. humile than in its absence. We conclude that potential shifts in plant diversity and concomitant changes in ecosystem function may be a consequence of Argentine ant invasions, as well as invasions by other ant species. Because very few studies have examined the effects of non-ant invasive species on seed-dispersal mutualisms, the prevalence of disruption of seed-dispersal mutualisms by invasive species is unclear.

  18. Are gastropods, rather than ants, important dispersers of seeds of myrmecochorous forest herbs?

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    Türke, Manfred; Andreas, Kerstin; Gossner, Martin M; Kowalski, Esther; Lange, Markus; Boch, Steffen; Socher, Stephanie A; Müller, Jörg; Prati, Daniel; Fischer, Markus; Meyhöfer, Rainer; Weisser, Wolfgang W

    2012-01-01

    Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) is widespread, and seed adaptations to myrmecochory are common, especially in the form of fatty appendices (elaiosomes). In a recent study, slugs were identified as seed dispersers of myrmecochores in a central European beech forest. Here we used 105 beech forest sites to test whether myrmecochore presence and abundance is related to ant or gastropod abundance and whether experimentally exposed seeds are removed by gastropods. Myrmecochorous plant cover was positively related to gastropod abundance but was negatively related to ant abundance. Gastropods were responsible for most seed removal and elaiosome damage, whereas insects (and rodents) played minor roles. These gastropod effects on seeds were independent of region or forest management. We suggest that terrestrial gastropods can generally act as seed dispersers of myrmecochorous plants and even substitute myrmecochory, especially where ants are absent or uncommon.

  19. Steep Decline and Cessation in Seed Dispersal by Myrmica rubra Ants.

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    Bologna, Audrey; Detrain, Claire

    2015-01-01

    Myrmecochorous diaspores bear a nutrient-rich appendage, the elaiosome, attractive to ant workers that retrieve them into the nest, detach the elaiosome and reject the seed intact. While this interaction is beneficial for the plant partner by ensuring its seed dispersal, elaiosome consumption has various effects -positive, negative or none - on ants' demography and survival, depending on both the ant/plant species involved. In this context, the contribution of ants to seed dispersal strongly varies according to the ant/plant pairs considered. In this paper, we investigate whether the dynamics of myrmecochory also vary on a temporal scale, for a given pair of partners: Myrmica rubra ants and Viola odorata seeds. During their first encounter with seeds, ants collect all the diaspores and eat the majority of elaiosomes. Both the harvesting effort and the elaiosome consumption decline when seeds are offered on the next week and completely cease for the following weeks. This is related to a decrease in the number of foragers reaching the food source, as well as to a reduced probability for an ant contacting a seed to retrieve it. Seed retrieval is not reactivated after seven weeks without any encounter with V. odorata seeds. By contrast, naive ant colonies only fed with fruit flies do not show a decline of prey harvesting of which the speed of retrieval even increases over the successive weeks. Myrmecochory may thus be labile at the scale of a fruiting season due to the ability of ants to steeply tune and cease for several months the harvesting of these seemingly poorly rewarding items and to maintain cessation of seed exploitation. The present study emphasizes the importance of a long-lasting follow up of the myrmecochory process, to assess the stability of this ant-plant partnership and to identify mechanisms of adaptive harvesting in ants.

  20. Steep Decline and Cessation in Seed Dispersal by Myrmica rubra Ants.

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    Audrey Bologna

    Full Text Available Myrmecochorous diaspores bear a nutrient-rich appendage, the elaiosome, attractive to ant workers that retrieve them into the nest, detach the elaiosome and reject the seed intact. While this interaction is beneficial for the plant partner by ensuring its seed dispersal, elaiosome consumption has various effects -positive, negative or none - on ants' demography and survival, depending on both the ant/plant species involved. In this context, the contribution of ants to seed dispersal strongly varies according to the ant/plant pairs considered. In this paper, we investigate whether the dynamics of myrmecochory also vary on a temporal scale, for a given pair of partners: Myrmica rubra ants and Viola odorata seeds. During their first encounter with seeds, ants collect all the diaspores and eat the majority of elaiosomes. Both the harvesting effort and the elaiosome consumption decline when seeds are offered on the next week and completely cease for the following weeks. This is related to a decrease in the number of foragers reaching the food source, as well as to a reduced probability for an ant contacting a seed to retrieve it. Seed retrieval is not reactivated after seven weeks without any encounter with V. odorata seeds. By contrast, naive ant colonies only fed with fruit flies do not show a decline of prey harvesting of which the speed of retrieval even increases over the successive weeks. Myrmecochory may thus be labile at the scale of a fruiting season due to the ability of ants to steeply tune and cease for several months the harvesting of these seemingly poorly rewarding items and to maintain cessation of seed exploitation. The present study emphasizes the importance of a long-lasting follow up of the myrmecochory process, to assess the stability of this ant-plant partnership and to identify mechanisms of adaptive harvesting in ants.

  1. Myrmecochores can target high-quality disperser ants: variation in elaiosome traits and ant preferences for myrmecochorous Euphorbiaceae in Brazilian Caatinga.

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    Leal, Laura Carolina; Lima Neto, Mário Correia; de Oliveira, Antônio Fernando Morais; Andersen, Alan N; Leal, Inara R

    2014-02-01

    Recent evidence suggests that the traditional view of myrmecochory as a highly diffuse interaction between diaspores and a wide range of ant species attracted to their elaiosomes may not be correct. The effectiveness of dispersal varies markedly among ant species, and combined with differential attractiveness of diaspores due to elaiosome size and composition, this raises the potential for myrmecochorous plants to target ant species that offer the highest quality dispersal services. We ask the question: Do particular physical and chemical traits of elaiosomes result in disproportionate removal of Euphorbiaceae diaspores by high-quality disperser ants in Caatinga vegetation of north-eastern Brazil? We offered seeds of five euphorb species that varied in morphological and chemical traits of elaiosomes to seed-dispersing ants. High-quality seed-disperser ants (species of Dinoponera, Ectatomma and Camponotus) were identified as those that rapidly collected and transported diaspores to their nests, often over substantial distances, whereas low-quality disperser ants (primarily species of Pheidole and Solenopsis) typically fed on elaiosomes in situ, and only ever transported diaspores very short distances. Low-quality disperser ants were equally attracted to the elaiosomes of all study species. However, high-quality dispersers showed a strong preference for diaspores with the highest elaiosome mass (and especially proportional mass). As far as we are aware, this is the first study to identify a mechanism of diaspore selection by high-quality ant dispersers based on elaiosome traits under field conditions. Our findings suggest that myrmecochorous plants can preferentially target high-quality seed-disperser ants through the evolution of particular elaiosome traits.

  2. Thermal adaptation and phosphorus shape thermal performance in an assemblage of rainforest ants.

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    Kaspari, Michael; Clay, Natalie A; Lucas, Jane; Revzen, Shai; Kay, Adam; Yanoviak, Stephen P

    2016-04-01

    We studied the Thermal Performance Curves (TPCs) of 87 species of rainforest ants and found support for both the Thermal Adaptation and Phosphorus-Tolerance hypotheses. TPCs relate a fitness proxy (here, worker speed) to environmental temperature. Thermal Adaptation posits that thermal generalists (ants with flatter, broader TPCs) are favored in the hotter, more variable tropical canopy compared to the cooler, less variable litter below. As predicted, species nesting in the forest canopy 1) had running speeds less sensitive to temperature; 2) ran over a greater range of temperatures; and 3) ran at lower maximum speeds. Tradeoffs between tolerance and maximum performance are often invoked for constraining the evolution of thermal generalists. There was no evidence that ant species traded off thermal tolerance for maximum speed, however. Phosphorus-Tolerance is a second mechanism for generating ectotherms able to tolerate thermal extremes. It posits that ants active at high temperatures invest in P-rich machinery to buffer their metabolism against thermal extremes. Phosphorus content in ant tissue varied three-fold, and as predicted, temperature sensitivity was lower and thermal range was higher in P-rich species. Combined, we show how the vertical distribution of hot and variable vs. cooler and stable microclimates in a single forest contribute to a diversity of TPCs and suggest that a widely varying P stoichiometry among these ants may drive some of these differences.

  3. Temporal variation in the composition of ant assemblages (Hymenoptera, Formicidae on trees in the Pantanal floodplain, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stela de Almeida Soares

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Temporal variation in the composition of ant assemblages (Hymenoptera, Formicidae on trees in the Pantanal floodplain, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. In this paper we investigate how seasonal flooding influences the composition of assemblages of ants foraging on trees in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul. During the flood in the Pantanal, a large area is covered by floods that are the main forces that regulate the pattern of diversity in these areas. However, the effects of such natural disturbances in the ant communities are poorly known. In this sense, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of temporal variation in assemblages of ants foraging on trees in the Pantanal of Miranda. Samples were collected during a year in two adjacent areas, one who suffered flooding during the wet period and another that did not suffer flooding throughout the year. In 10 sites for each evaluated habitat, five pitfall traps were installed at random in trees 25 m apart from each other. In the habitat with flooding, the highest richness was observed during the flooding period, while there was no significant change in richness in the area that does not suffer flooding. The diversity of species between the two evaluated habitats varied significantly during the two seasons. Most ants sampled belong to species that forage and nest in soil. This suggests that during the flood in flooded habitats, ants that did not migrate to higher areas without flooding adopt the strategy to search for resources in the tree canopy.

  4. Influence of elaiosome on postdispersal dynamics of an ant-dispersed plant

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garrido, José L.; Rey, Pedro J.; Herrera, Carlos M.

    2009-05-01

    Specialized myrmecochorous plants bear an elaiosome attached to the seed. Ants benefit from food provided by this appendage and plants get their seeds eventually dispersed. Aside from the benefits conferred by seed dispersal, we hypothesize that the influence of the elaiosome might extend to later life history stages such as emergence or survival, but few studies have examined rigorously such delayed effects on seed and seedling dynamics. This paper tests this hypothesis for the ant-dispersed herb Helleborus foetidus. Presence or lack of the elaiosome had some interesting delayed influences. Specifically, our results show that elaiosome removal not only enhanced seedling emergence, but also reduced cumulative long-term seed predation. The combination of these two effects, together with the inherent positive effect of the elaiosome on seed dispersal, highlights the ecological and evolutionary importance of myrmecochorous systems.

  5. Uncoupling the effects of seed predation and seed dispersal by granivorous ants on plant population dynamics.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xavier Arnan

    Full Text Available Secondary seed dispersal is an important plant-animal interaction, which is central to understanding plant population and community dynamics. Very little information is still available on the effects of dispersal on plant demography and, particularly, for ant-seed dispersal interactions. As many other interactions, seed dispersal by animals involves costs (seed predation and benefits (seed dispersal, the balance of which determines the outcome of the interaction. Separate quantification of each of them is essential in order to understand the effects of this interaction. To address this issue, we have successfully separated and analyzed the costs and benefits of seed dispersal by seed-harvesting ants on the plant population dynamics of three shrub species with different traits. To that aim a stochastic, spatially-explicit individually-based simulation model has been implemented based on actual data sets. The results from our simulation model agree with theoretical models of plant response dependent on seed dispersal, for one plant species, and ant-mediated seed predation, for another one. In these cases, model predictions were close to the observed values at field. Nonetheless, these ecological processes did not affect in anyway a third species, for which the model predictions were far from the observed values. This indicates that the balance between costs and benefits associated to secondary seed dispersal is clearly related to specific traits. This study is one of the first works that analyze tradeoffs of secondary seed dispersal on plant population dynamics, by disentangling the effects of related costs and benefits. We suggest analyzing the effects of interactions on population dynamics as opposed to merely analyzing the partners and their interaction strength.

  6. Uncoupling the effects of seed predation and seed dispersal by granivorous ants on plant population dynamics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnan, Xavier; Molowny-Horas, Roberto; Rodrigo, Anselm; Retana, Javier

    2012-01-01

    Secondary seed dispersal is an important plant-animal interaction, which is central to understanding plant population and community dynamics. Very little information is still available on the effects of dispersal on plant demography and, particularly, for ant-seed dispersal interactions. As many other interactions, seed dispersal by animals involves costs (seed predation) and benefits (seed dispersal), the balance of which determines the outcome of the interaction. Separate quantification of each of them is essential in order to understand the effects of this interaction. To address this issue, we have successfully separated and analyzed the costs and benefits of seed dispersal by seed-harvesting ants on the plant population dynamics of three shrub species with different traits. To that aim a stochastic, spatially-explicit individually-based simulation model has been implemented based on actual data sets. The results from our simulation model agree with theoretical models of plant response dependent on seed dispersal, for one plant species, and ant-mediated seed predation, for another one. In these cases, model predictions were close to the observed values at field. Nonetheless, these ecological processes did not affect in anyway a third species, for which the model predictions were far from the observed values. This indicates that the balance between costs and benefits associated to secondary seed dispersal is clearly related to specific traits. This study is one of the first works that analyze tradeoffs of secondary seed dispersal on plant population dynamics, by disentangling the effects of related costs and benefits. We suggest analyzing the effects of interactions on population dynamics as opposed to merely analyzing the partners and their interaction strength.

  7. Myrmecochory by small ants - Beneficial effects through elaiosome nutrition and seed dispersal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fokuhl, Gerriet; Heinze, Jürgen; Poschlod, Peter

    2012-01-01

    Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) is a common mutualism in temperate woodlands of the Northern hemisphere. In this paper we highlight the contribution of one of the most abundant ant species of Eastern Central Europe, Temnothorax crassispinus, to myrmecochory. In field and mesocosm studies we found that T. crassispinus workers disperse seeds over distances of up to 162 cm and carry them to their nests, thereby enabling the spread of Chelidonium majus seedlings. In a controlled feeding experiment with four different feeding regimes, we supplemented the respective diet of a fraction of the nests with the elaiosome-bearing seeds of C. majus and Scilla bifolia. Here, ant workers carried seeds to their nest and fed elaiosome pieces to their larvae. Subsequent production of sexual offspring and dry weights of sexual pupae were positively correlated with increasing feeding frequencies. With supplementary elaiosome feeding, the female dry weight was significantly higher, whereas the male dry weight decreased. Our results indicate a nutritional benefit from elaiosomes to the ants, which may cause shifts of investment, and at the same time underline the ecological relevance of Temnothorax ants for elaiosome-bearing plants.

  8. ANT

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    van der Duim, René; Ren, Carina Bregnholm; Jóhannesson, Gunnar Thór

    2017-01-01

    Ten years ago actor-network theory (ANT) entered this journal. To illustrate how the relational ontology and sensibilities of ANT lend themselves to particular kinds of research, we first interrogate the main controversies as a way to open up and discuss the main premises of ANT. These debates...... concern the status and agency of objects and non-humans, ANT’s denial of the explanatory power of social structures, and the political implications of ANT. Second we present ANT’s relevance for tourism studies and discuss what ANT ‘does’ in practice. After summarizing a decade of relations between ANT...... and tourism, we conclude by tracing three future trajectories of how we have ‘moved away with’ ANT into new areas of discovery....

  9. Experimental evidence that dispersal drives ant community assembly in human-altered ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, Joshua R; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2016-01-01

    A key shortcoming in our understanding of exotic species' success is that it is not known how post-introduction dispersal contributes to the success of exotic species and the reassembly of invaded communities. Exotic and native species face poorly understood competition-colonization trade-offs in heterogeneous landscapes of natural and anthropogenic habitats. We conducted three experiments that tested how ant queen behavior during dispersal affects community composition. Using experimental plots, we tested whether (1) different types of habitat disturbance and (2) different sizes of habitat disturbance affected the abundance of newly mated queens landing in the plots. The three most abundant species captured were the exotic fire ant Solenopsis invicta, and the native species Brachymyrmex depilis, and S. pergandei, respectively. When queens were considered collectively, more queens landed in plowed, sand-added, and roadside plots than in control or mow plots, in other words, in the more heavily disturbed plots. We also tested (3) the effect of habitat manipulations on the survival of newly mated fire ant queens (Solenopsis invicta). Soil disturbance (tilling), lack of shade, and removal (poisoning) of the ant community resulted in the greatest fire ant colony survivorship. Collectively, experiments revealed that both exotic and native newly mated ant queens select open, human-altered ecosystems for founding new colonies. The selection of such habitats by fire ant queens leads to their successful colony founding and ultimately to their dominance in those habitats. Selection of disturbed habitats is therefore advantageous for exotic species but is an ecological trap for native species because they do not often succeed in founding colonies in these habitats.

  10. Adaptive Advantage of Myrmecochory in the Ant-Dispersed Herb Lamium amplexicaule (Lamiaceae: Predation Avoidance through the Deterrence of Post-Dispersal Seed Predators.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Koki Tanaka

    Full Text Available Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory is found worldwide, but the benefits that plants obtain from this mutualism remain uncertain. In the present study, we conducted laboratory experiments to demonstrate seed predator avoidance as a benefit of myrmecochory using the annual ant-dispersed herb Lamium amplexicaule, the disperser ant Tetramorium tsushimae, and the seed predatory burrower bug Adomerus rotundus. We compared the predation intensity of Lamium amplexicaule seeds by Adomerus rotundus under the presence or absence of Tetramorium tsushimae. Both the number of seeds sucked by Adomerus rotundus adults and the feeding duration of sucked seeds by nymphs were significantly reduced in the presence of ants. This effect was most likely due to the behavioral alteration of Adomerus rotundus in response to the ant presence, because ants seldom predated Adomerus rotundus during the experiment. Our results demonstrated that the presence of ants decreases post-dispersal seed predation, even when the ants do not bury the seeds. The present study thus suggests that the non-consumptive effects of ants on seed predators benefit myrmecochorous plants.

  11. Adaptive Advantage of Myrmecochory in the Ant-Dispersed Herb Lamium amplexicaule (Lamiaceae): Predation Avoidance through the Deterrence of Post-Dispersal Seed Predators.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, Koki; Ogata, Kanako; Mukai, Hiromi; Yamawo, Akira; Tokuda, Makoto

    2015-01-01

    Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) is found worldwide, but the benefits that plants obtain from this mutualism remain uncertain. In the present study, we conducted laboratory experiments to demonstrate seed predator avoidance as a benefit of myrmecochory using the annual ant-dispersed herb Lamium amplexicaule, the disperser ant Tetramorium tsushimae, and the seed predatory burrower bug Adomerus rotundus. We compared the predation intensity of Lamium amplexicaule seeds by Adomerus rotundus under the presence or absence of Tetramorium tsushimae. Both the number of seeds sucked by Adomerus rotundus adults and the feeding duration of sucked seeds by nymphs were significantly reduced in the presence of ants. This effect was most likely due to the behavioral alteration of Adomerus rotundus in response to the ant presence, because ants seldom predated Adomerus rotundus during the experiment. Our results demonstrated that the presence of ants decreases post-dispersal seed predation, even when the ants do not bury the seeds. The present study thus suggests that the non-consumptive effects of ants on seed predators benefit myrmecochorous plants.

  12. Effects of the Heterogeneity of the Landscape and the Abundance of Wasmannia auropunctata on Ground Ant Assemblages in a Colombian Tropical Dry Forest

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rafael Achury

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available To evaluate the response of the ant assemblages to different management practices in the tropical dry forests of southwestern Colombia, 10 sites that conserve forest fragments surrounded by pastures and sugarcane crops were sampled. Tuna-fish baits placed on the ground in the three habitats captured 100 ant species (41 genera. The greatest number of species was found in the forests in contrast with a significant loss of richness and diversity in the productive habitats, the pastures being richer than the cane fields. Species richness was negatively correlated with the abundance of the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata. Ant species composition was related to soil temperature and percent ground cover, as well as being partially determined by location and the abundance of W. auropunctata. The forests had a significantly different species composition from the other two habitats, but there were no consistent differences between the pastures and the cane fields.

  13. The relevance of ants as seed rescuers of a primarily bird-dispersed tree in the Neotropical cerrado savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christianini, Alexander V; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2009-07-01

    The scale at which seed dispersal operates has many implications for the spatial patterns of plant recruitment and diversity. We investigated the effect of short- (ants) and long-distance (birds) seed dispersal of the fleshy-fruited melastome, Miconia rubiginosa, in the Brazilian savanna. We estimated the contribution of dispersal vectors to the removal of the fruit crop from the canopy (birds), and once seeds have reached the cerrado floor (ants) over two fruiting seasons. Birds (13 species) removed up to 23.7% of the fruit crop from the crown, but dropped a substantial proportion of fruits beneath the parent plant. Birds removed a greater proportion of fruits from trees producing large fruit crops, as predicted by the fruit crop size hypothesis. However, up to 18.9% of the fruit crop fell beneath the parent plant as ripe fruit. Most fallen fruits were removed by ants (seven genera), which are likely to play a relatively important role in terms of the quantity of seeds dispersed, especially for plants producing small fruit crops (a conceptual model is presented). Birds and ants did not influence seed germination, but they differ in terms of the spatial scale of dispersal and deposition patterns. Ants probably play an important role in the local population dynamics of Miconia, whereas birds are responsible for long-distance dispersal associated with the colonization of new patches and metapopulation dynamics. By removing seeds from bird droppings, ants may also reshape at a finer scale the seed rain generated by primary dispersers. Indeed, seedlings and saplings of Miconia are more frequently found around leaf-cutter ant nests than in control areas away from ant nests or around large Miconia trees. The quantitative component of dispersal effectiveness by ants acting as "rescuers" of seeds that fail to be dispersed, or fall under parent trees, is probably more important than currently recognized in other systems.

  14. Colonization of abandoned land by Juniperus thurifera is mediated by the interaction of a diverse dispersal assemblage and environmental heterogeneity

    OpenAIRE

    Gema Escribano-Avila; Virginia Sanz-Pérez; Beatriz Pías; Emilio Virgós; Adrián Escudero; Fernando Valladares

    2012-01-01

    Land abandonment is one of the most powerful global change drivers in developed countries where recent rural exodus has been the norm. Abandonment of traditional land use practices has permitted the colonization of these areas by shrub and tree species. For fleshy fruited species the colonization of new areas is determined by the dispersal assemblage composition and abundance. In this study we showed how the relative contribution to the dispersal process by each animal species is modulated by...

  15. Dispersal and population structure of a New World predator, the army ant Eciton burchellii

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Berghoff, S M; Kronauer, D J C; Edwards, K J

    2008-01-01

    The army ant Eciton burchellii is probably the most important arthropod predator in the Neotropics, and many animal species depend upon it. Sex-biased dispersal with winged males and permanently wingless queens may render this species especially sensitive to habitat fragmentation and natural...... barriers, which might have severe impacts on population structure and lead to population decline. Using nuclear microsatellite markers and mitochondrial sequences, we investigated genetic differentiation in a fragmented population in the Panama Canal area. While nuclear markers showed little...

  16. Urban assemblages: ANT and the examination of the city Ensamblajes urbanos: la TAR y el examen de la ciudad

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ignacio Farías

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available

    This article presents new research perspectives and analytical challenges that actor-network theory opens for urban studies. First, it reviews how the ANT principles of hybrid relationality and flat associativity are being adopted in urban studies to symmetrically expand the urban ecology to nonhumans and contest scalar conceptions of urban space and economy. Second, it proposes that ANT brings along an even more fundamental challenge related to the understanding of the city as a research object. While common understandings as a spatial object, political-economical entity and/or sociocultural form underlie its singular, stable and bounded character, ANT allows thinking the city as a multiple and decentered object. The notion of urban assemblages is introduced to account for the circulation and becoming of the city in multiple hybrid and translocal networks. Finally, it concludes by discussing some consequences of this examination of the city, especially the reassertion of the problem of complexity, especially urban complexity, if not as a starting point, then at least as a point of arrival for ANT.

    Este artículo presenta nuevas perspectivas de investigación y desafíos analíticos que la teoría del actor-red (TAR abre para los estudios urbanos. En primer lugar, se revisan cómo los principios de relacionalidad híbrida y asociatividad plana de la TAR están siendo adoptados en los estudios urbanos para ampliar simétricamente la ecología urbana a no-humanos e impugnar concepciones escalares del espacio y economías urbanas. A continuación, se propone que la TAR trae consigo un desafío más fundamental relativo a la

  17. Environment heterogeneity and seasonal effects in ground-dwelling ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) assemblages in the Parque Estadual do Rio Doce, MG, Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coelho, Igor R; Ribeiro, Sérvio P

    2006-01-01

    This work aimed to explore the response of ant species assemblage to contrasting types of forests in a semideciduous stationary rainforest, in the Parque Estadual do Rio Doce, South Eastern Brazil. We compared antropomorphic borders of this park and natural ecotones, such as lake margins continuous with forests, as well as preserved forests far from ecotones. We investigated whether ground-dwelling ant species richness, abundance and composition would change according to forest types and ecotones. We expected greater species richness in interior tall forest, compared with low forest or ecotone habitats. In addition, we tested the effect of climate seasonality on ant assemblages found in each studied vegetation type. Each forest type was surveyed based on a minimum transect sampling unit of 150 m long summing up 30 pit-falls per unit. Two sampling events, one in dry season (September of 2001) and another in the rainy season (January of 2002) were performed. For both seasons, tall forest presented greater total number of ant species, however lower mean ant species and abundance per trap than other forest types, thus corroborating the prediction that ecotones might present high alpha diversity. Mean species richness and abundance did not differ between interior low forest and lake edge, or between these habitats and reserve border. In general, species composition were not clearly defined by forest types. Results here found suggest that species loss or community dominance by generalist species, eventually due to deforestation, is probably a much greater problem than previously thought. However, to understand patterns of insect species diversity and distribution in tropical ecosystem should be taken in account much more comprehensive, spatially explicit sampling designs.

  18. The critical role of ants in the extensive dispersal of Acacia seeds revealed by genetic parentage assignment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pascov, Caitlin M; Nevill, Paul G; Elliott, Carole P; Majer, Jonathan D; Anthony, Janet M; Krauss, Siegfried L

    2015-12-01

    Ants are prominent seed dispersal agents in many ecosystems, and dispersal distances are small in comparison with vertebrate dispersal agents. However, the distance and distribution of ant-mediated dispersal in arid/semi-arid environments remains poorly explored. We used microsatellite markers and parentage assignment to quantify the distance and distribution of dispersed seeds of Acacia karina, retrieved from the middens of Iridomyrmex agilis and Melophorus turneri perthensis. From parentage assignment, we could not distinguish the maternal from each parent pair assigned to each seed, so we applied two approaches to estimate dispersal distances, one conservative (CONS), where the parent closest to the ant midden was considered to be maternal, and the second where both parents were deemed equally likely (EL) to be maternal, and used both distances. Parentage was assigned to 124 seeds from eight middens. Maximum seed dispersal distances detected were 417 m (CONS) and 423 m (EL), more than double the estimated global maximum. Mean seed dispersal distances of 40 m (±5.8 SE) (CONS) and 79 m (±6.4 SE) (EL) exceeded the published global average of 2.24 m (±7.19 SD) by at least one order of magnitude. For both approaches and both ant species, seed dispersal was predominantly (44-84% of all seeds) within 50 m from the maternal source, with fewer dispersal events at longer distances. Ants in this semi-arid environment have demonstrated a greater capacity to disperse seeds than estimated elsewhere, which highlights their important role in this system, and suggests significant novel ecological and evolutionary consequences for myrmecochorous species in arid/semi-arid Australia.

  19. Dropping rates of elaiosome-bearing seeds during transport by ants ( Formica polyctena Foerst.): Implications for distance dispersal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gorb, Stanislav N.; Gorb, Elena V.

    1999-09-01

    In a deciduous forest, foraging ants collect elaiosome-bearing seeds and carry them to their nests. Some of the seeds reach the nest and are concentrated there. Others may be dropped by ants during transport. The dropped seeds enter the soil seed pool. However, they might be repeatedly removed by other ant individuals and carried again in the direction of the nest. Rates of seed dropping and repeated removals must be known to evaluate the effect of ant workers on dispersal distance of seeds. The rate of seed dropping is predicted to depend on size of seeds and of elaiosomes, both of which vary among plant species, and on the size of the ant workers. Mark-recapture experiments were used to evaluate dropping rates of seeds of five myrmecochorous and diplochorous plants ( Chelidonium majus L., Asarum europaeum L., Viola matutina Klok., V. mirabilis L., V. hirta L.) during their transport by the ant Formica polyctena Foerst. In the series of species A. europaeum - V. hirta - V. mirabilis - Ch. majus - V. matutina, the dropping rate increased. Small workers dropped seeds of A. europaeum more often than did large ones, while seeds of V. hirta were dropped by ants of different size classes with the same frequency. Across species, dropping rates of seeds were negatively correlated with the rate at which ants removed them from the depot. The number of seeds which reach the nests is the other important parameter of seed dispersal. This parameter depends on dropping rates: seeds with lower dropping rates have higher chances of being deposited in nests. Diplochores usually produce many small seeds, which are characterised by low removal rates and high dropping rates during transport by ants. Obligate myrmecochores produce rather few large seeds, which have high removal rates and low dropping rates. To analyse the significance of seed dropping in the dispersal distance of seeds, a computer simulation based on two factors [(i) seed number produced by a plant; (ii) dropping rate

  20. Hydrated mucilage reduces post-dispersal seed removal of a sand desert shrub by ants in a semiarid ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Xuejun; Baskin, Carol C; Baskin, Jerry M; Gao, Ruiru; Yang, Fan; Wei, Lingling; Li, Leilei; He, Hongju; Huang, Zhenying

    2013-12-01

    Post-dispersal seed removal by animals can lead to extensive seed loss and thus is an important factor in structuring plant communities. However, we know much less about post-dispersal seed predation than about other forms of herbivory. Mucilage plays many ecological roles in adaptation of plants to diverse environments; nevertheless, until now the role of mucilage in ant-mediated seed movement remains largely hypothetical. We studied the role of mucilage in seed removal of Artemisia sphaerocephala by ants in Mu Us Sandland in Inner Mongolia, China. Messor aciculatus was the most active seed predator of Artemisia sphaerocephala. Time to first ant collecting (T 1st) of wet intact seeds was longest and significantly different from that for dry intact seeds, wet demucilaged seeds, and dry demucilaged seeds; number of seeds removed to ant nests was lowest for wet intact seeds. After they were collected by ants, 5 % of wet intact seeds were dropped during transport. Our results indicate that seed mucilage of Artemisia sphaerocephala may play a significant role in post-dispersal seed removal by (1) making seeds less attractive to ants, thus resulting in a delay of collection time; (2) forming a strong bond to soil particles, making it difficult for ants to remove seeds; and (3) making seeds more likely to be dropped during transport, thereby allowing them to escape from predation even after collection by ants. This study demonstrates the importance of mucilage in reducing seed removal by ants and thus in anchoring seeds of desert plants in the vicinity of mother plants.

  1. Colonization of abandoned land by Juniperus thurifera is mediated by the interaction of a diverse dispersal assemblage and environmental heterogeneity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gema Escribano-Avila

    Full Text Available Land abandonment is one of the most powerful global change drivers in developed countries where recent rural exodus has been the norm. Abandonment of traditional land use practices has permitted the colonization of these areas by shrub and tree species. For fleshy fruited species the colonization of new areas is determined by the dispersal assemblage composition and abundance. In this study we showed how the relative contribution to the dispersal process by each animal species is modulated by the environmental heterogeneity and ecosystem structure. This complex interaction caused differential patterns on the seed dispersal in both, landscape patches in which the process of colonization is acting nowadays and mature woodlands of Juniperus thurifera, a relict tree distributed in the western Mediterranean Basin. Thrushes (Turdus spp and carnivores (red fox and stone marten dispersed a high amount of seeds while rabbits and sheeps only a tiny fraction. Thrushes dispersed a significant amount of seeds in new colonization areas, however they were limited by the presence of high perches with big crop size. While carnivores dispersed seeds to all studied habitats, even in those patches where no trees of J. thurifera were present, turning out to be critical for primary colonization. The presence of Pinus and Quercus was related to a reduced consumption of J. thurifera seeds while the presence of fleshy fruited shrubs was related with higher content of J. thurifera seeds in dispersers' faeces. Therefore environmental heterogeneity and ecosystem structure had a great influence on dispersers feeding behaviour, and should be considered in order to accurately describe the role of seed dispersal in ecological process, such as regeneration and colonization. J. thurifera expansion is not seed limited thanks to its diverse dispersal community, hence the conservation of all dispersers in an ecosystem enhance ecosystems services and resilience.

  2. Colonization of abandoned land by Juniperus thurifera is mediated by the interaction of a diverse dispersal assemblage and environmental heterogeneity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Escribano-Avila, Gema; Sanz-Pérez, Virginia; Pías, Beatriz; Virgós, Emilio; Escudero, Adrián; Valladares, Fernando

    2012-01-01

    Land abandonment is one of the most powerful global change drivers in developed countries where recent rural exodus has been the norm. Abandonment of traditional land use practices has permitted the colonization of these areas by shrub and tree species. For fleshy fruited species the colonization of new areas is determined by the dispersal assemblage composition and abundance. In this study we showed how the relative contribution to the dispersal process by each animal species is modulated by the environmental heterogeneity and ecosystem structure. This complex interaction caused differential patterns on the seed dispersal in both, landscape patches in which the process of colonization is acting nowadays and mature woodlands of Juniperus thurifera, a relict tree distributed in the western Mediterranean Basin. Thrushes (Turdus spp) and carnivores (red fox and stone marten) dispersed a high amount of seeds while rabbits and sheeps only a tiny fraction. Thrushes dispersed a significant amount of seeds in new colonization areas, however they were limited by the presence of high perches with big crop size. While carnivores dispersed seeds to all studied habitats, even in those patches where no trees of J. thurifera were present, turning out to be critical for primary colonization. The presence of Pinus and Quercus was related to a reduced consumption of J. thurifera seeds while the presence of fleshy fruited shrubs was related with higher content of J. thurifera seeds in dispersers' faeces. Therefore environmental heterogeneity and ecosystem structure had a great influence on dispersers feeding behaviour, and should be considered in order to accurately describe the role of seed dispersal in ecological process, such as regeneration and colonization. J. thurifera expansion is not seed limited thanks to its diverse dispersal community, hence the conservation of all dispersers in an ecosystem enhance ecosystems services and resilience.

  3. Colonization of Abandoned Land by Juniperus thurifera Is Mediated by the Interaction of a Diverse Dispersal Assemblage and Environmental Heterogeneity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Escribano-Avila, Gema; Sanz-Pérez, Virginia; Pías, Beatriz; Virgós, Emilio; Escudero, Adrián; Valladares, Fernando

    2012-01-01

    Land abandonment is one of the most powerful global change drivers in developed countries where recent rural exodus has been the norm. Abandonment of traditional land use practices has permitted the colonization of these areas by shrub and tree species. For fleshy fruited species the colonization of new areas is determined by the dispersal assemblage composition and abundance. In this study we showed how the relative contribution to the dispersal process by each animal species is modulated by the environmental heterogeneity and ecosystem structure. This complex interaction caused differential patterns on the seed dispersal in both, landscape patches in which the process of colonization is acting nowadays and mature woodlands of Juniperus thurifera, a relict tree distributed in the western Mediterranean Basin. Thrushes (Turdus spp) and carnivores (red fox and stone marten) dispersed a high amount of seeds while rabbits and sheeps only a tiny fraction. Thrushes dispersed a significant amount of seeds in new colonization areas, however they were limited by the presence of high perches with big crop size. While carnivores dispersed seeds to all studied habitats, even in those patches where no trees of J. thurifera were present, turning out to be critical for primary colonization. The presence of Pinus and Quercus was related to a reduced consumption of J. thurifera seeds while the presence of fleshy fruited shrubs was related with higher content of J. thurifera seeds in dispersers’ faeces. Therefore environmental heterogeneity and ecosystem structure had a great influence on dispersers feeding behaviour, and should be considered in order to accurately describe the role of seed dispersal in ecological process, such as regeneration and colonization. J. thurifera expansion is not seed limited thanks to its diverse dispersal community, hence the conservation of all dispersers in an ecosystem enhance ecosystems services and resilience. PMID:23071692

  4. Patterns of spread in biological invasions dominated by long-distance jump dispersal: Insights from Argentine ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suarez, Andrew V.; Holway, David A.; Case, Ted J.

    2001-01-01

    Invading organisms may spread through local movements (giving rise to a diffusion-like process) and by long-distance jumps, which are often human-mediated. The local spread of invading organisms has been fit with varying success to models that couple local population growth with diffusive spread, but to date no quantitative estimates exist for the relative importance of local dispersal relative to human-mediated long-distance jumps. Using a combination of literature review, museum records, and personal surveys, we reconstruct the invasion history of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), a widespread invasive species, at three spatial scales. Although the inherent dispersal abilities of Argentine ants are limited, in the last century, human-mediated dispersal has resulted in the establishment of this species on six continents and on many oceanic islands. Human-mediated jump dispersal has also been the primary mode of spread at a continental scale within the United States. The spread of the Argentine ant involves two discrete modes. Maximum distances spread by colonies undergoing budding reproduction averaged 150 m/year, whereas annual jump-dispersal distances averaged three orders of magnitude higher. Invasions that involve multiple dispersal processes, such as those documented here, are undoubtedly common. Detailed data on invasion dynamics are necessary to improve the predictive power of future modeling efforts. PMID:11158600

  5. Strategies of offspring investment and dispersal in a spatially structured environment: a theoretical study using ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cronin, Adam L; Loeuille, Nicolas; Monnin, Thibaud

    2016-02-05

    Offspring investment strategies vary markedly between and within taxa, and much of this variation is thought to stem from the trade-off between offspring size and number. While producing larger offspring can increase their competitive ability, this often comes at a cost to their colonization ability. This competition-colonization trade-off (CCTO) is thought to be an important mechanism supporting coexistence of alternative strategies in a wide range of taxa. However, the relative importance of an alternative and possibly synergistic mechanism-spatial structuring of the environment-remains the topic of some debate. In this study, we explore the influence of these mechanisms on metacommunity structure using an agent-based model built around variable life-history traits. Our model combines explicit resource competition and spatial dynamics, allowing us to tease-apart the influence of, and explore the interaction between, the CCTO and the spatial structure of the environment. We test our model using two reproductive strategies which represent extremes of the CCTO and are common in ants. Our simulations show that colonisers outperform competitors in environments subject to higher temporal and spatial heterogeneity and are favoured when agents mature late and invest heavily in reproduction, whereas competitors dominate in low-disturbance, high resource environments and when maintenance costs are low. Varying life-history parameters has a marked influence on coexistence conditions and yields evolutionary stable strategies for both modes of reproduction. Nonetheless, we show that these strategies can coexist over a wide range of life-history and environmental parameter values, and that coexistence can in most cases be explained by a CCTO. By explicitly considering space, we are also able to demonstrate the importance of the interaction between dispersal and landscape structure. The CCTO permits species employing different reproductive strategies to coexist over a wide

  6. Fish assemblages of the Casiquiare River, a corridor and zoogeographical filter for dispersal between the Orinoco and Amazon basins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winemiller, K.O.; Lopez-Fernandez, H.; Taphorn, D.C.; Nico, L.G.; Duque, A.B.

    2008-01-01

    Aim: The aim of this study was to determine whether the Casiquiare River functions as a free dispersal corridor or as a partial barrier (i.e. filter) for the interchange of fish species of the Orinoco and Negro/Amazon basins using species assemblage patterns according to geographical location and environmental features. Location: The Casiquiare, Upper Orinoco and Upper Negro rivers in southern Venezuela, South America. Methods: Our study was based on an analysis of species presence/absence data and environmental information (11 habitat characteristics) collected by the authors and colleagues between the years 1984 and 1999. The data set consisted of 269 sampled sites and 452 fish species (> 50,000 specimens). A wide range of habitat types was included in the samples, and the collection sites were located at various points along the entire length of the Casiquiare main channel, at multiple sites on its tributary streams, as well as at various nearby sites outside the Casiquiare drainage, within the Upper Orinoco and Upper Rio Negro river systems. Most specimens and field data used in this analysis are archived in the Museo de Ciencias Naturales in Guanare, Venezuela. We performed canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) based on species presence/absence using two versions of the data set: one that eliminated sites having < 5 species and species occurring at < 5 sites; and another that eliminated sites having < 10 species and species occurring at < 10 sites. Cluster analysis was performed on sites based on species assemblage similarity, and a separate analysis was performed on species based on CCA loadings. Results: The CCA results for the two versions of the data set were qualitatively the same. The dominant environmental axis contrasted assemblages and sites associated with blackwater vs. clearwater conditions. Longitudinal position on the Casiquiare River was correlated (r2 = 0.33) with CCA axis-1 scores, reflecting clearwater conditions nearer to its origin

  7. Species-specific seed dispersal in an obligate ant-plant mutualism.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elsa Youngsteadt

    Full Text Available Throughout lowland Amazonia, arboreal ants collect seeds of specific plants and cultivate them in nutrient-rich nests, forming diverse yet obligate and species-specific symbioses called Neotropical ant-gardens (AGs. The ants depend on their symbiotic plants for nest stability, and the plants depend on AGs for substrate and nutrients. Although the AGs are limited to specific participants, it is unknown at what stage specificity arises, and seed fate pathways in AG epiphytes are undocumented. Here we examine the specificity of the ant-seed interaction by comparing the ant community observed at general food baits to ants attracted to and removing seeds of the AG plant Peperomia macrostachya. We also compare seed removal rates under treatments that excluded vertebrates, arthropods, or both. In the bait study, only three of 70 ant species collected P. macrostachya seeds, and 84% of observed seed removal by ants was attributed to the AG ant Camponotus femoratus. In the exclusion experiment, arthropod exclusion significantly reduced seed removal rates, but vertebrate exclusion did not. We provide the most extensive empirical evidence of species specificity in the AG mutualism and begin to quantify factors that affect seed fate in order to understand conditions that favor its departure from the typical diffuse model of plant-animal mutualism.

  8. Species-specific seed dispersal in an obligate ant-plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Youngsteadt, Elsa; Baca, Jeniffer Alvarez; Osborne, Jason; Schal, Coby

    2009-01-01

    Throughout lowland Amazonia, arboreal ants collect seeds of specific plants and cultivate them in nutrient-rich nests, forming diverse yet obligate and species-specific symbioses called Neotropical ant-gardens (AGs). The ants depend on their symbiotic plants for nest stability, and the plants depend on AGs for substrate and nutrients. Although the AGs are limited to specific participants, it is unknown at what stage specificity arises, and seed fate pathways in AG epiphytes are undocumented. Here we examine the specificity of the ant-seed interaction by comparing the ant community observed at general food baits to ants attracted to and removing seeds of the AG plant Peperomia macrostachya. We also compare seed removal rates under treatments that excluded vertebrates, arthropods, or both. In the bait study, only three of 70 ant species collected P. macrostachya seeds, and 84% of observed seed removal by ants was attributed to the AG ant Camponotus femoratus. In the exclusion experiment, arthropod exclusion significantly reduced seed removal rates, but vertebrate exclusion did not. We provide the most extensive empirical evidence of species specificity in the AG mutualism and begin to quantify factors that affect seed fate in order to understand conditions that favor its departure from the typical diffuse model of plant-animal mutualism.

  9. Annual and Seasonal Changes in the Structure of Litter-Dwelling Ant Assemblages (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in Atlantic Semideciduous Forests

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Flávio Siqueira de Castro

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available We surveyed ant fauna in the leaf litter in an Atlantic Semideciduous forest in the State Park of Rio Doce (PERD. The work aimed to produce basic information about habitat effects on diversity, as well as about how the ant fauna in a such buffered forest habitat, as the litter layer, could respond the climate variation in a short and long term. We sampled two years in two distinct forest physiognomies, which respond to different geomorphologic backgrounds, in dry and rainy seasons. Species composition, richness and abundance of these forests were distinct. However, both forests hosted similar numbers of rare and specialized, habitat demanding species, thus suggesting both are similarly well preserved, despite distinct physiognomies. However, the lower and more open forest was, more susceptible to dry season effects, showing a steeper decline in species numbers in such season, but similar numbers in the wet seasons. The pattern varied between years, which corroborates the hypothesis of a strongly variable community in response to subtle climatic variation among years. The present results are baselines for future long term monitoring projects, and could support protocols for early warnings of global climatic changes effects on biodiversity.

  10. Reproduction and dispersal in an ant-associated root aphid community

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ivens, A.B.F.; Kronauer, Daniel Jan Christoph; Pen, I.;

    2012-01-01

    viscosity is high and winged aphids rare, consistent with infrequent horizontal transmission between ant host colonies. The absence of the primary host shrub (Pistacia) may explain the absence of sex in three of the studied species, but elm trees (Ulmus) that are primary hosts of the fourth species (T...

  11. Benefits of dispersed central-place foraging: an individual-based model of a polydomous ant colony.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmolke, Amelie

    2009-06-01

    Colonies of many ant species are not confined to a single nest but inhabit several dispersed nests, a colony organization referred to as polydomy. The benefits of polydomy are not well understood. It has been proposed that increased foraging efficiency promotes polydomy. In a spatially explicit individual-based model, I compare the foraging success of monodomous and polydomous colonies in environments with varying food distributions. Multiple nests increased the colony's foraging success if food sources were randomly scattered in the environment. Monodomous and polydomous colonies did not differ in foraging success if food sources were clustered in one or three locations. These results support the hypothesis that foraging success serves as a driver for polydomous colony organization. Because transport may occur between the dispersed nests of a polydomous colony, I tested the efficiency of a simple mechanism of food exchange between nests. This mechanism, as introduced previously in the literature, proves insufficient to equalize the level of food between nests. While the importance of transport between nests remains unclear, the model results indicate that polydomy may increase the foraging success of ant colonies and that this effect may be robust across a range of food distributions.

  12. Selection against aerial dispersal in ants: two non-flying queen phenotypes in Pogonomyrmex laticeps.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian Peeters

    Full Text Available The South American seed-harvester ant Pogonomyrmex laticeps has dimorphic queens: ergatoid (permanently wingless and brachypterous (short, non-functional wings. Surveys in western Argentina indicated that colonies near Chilecito, La Rioja Province, produced only ergatoid queens, while those near Punta Balasto, Catamarca Province (263 km away, produced only brachypterous queens. Brachypterous queens were significantly larger than ergatoid queens for 10 of 11 external characters, but both phenotypes had comparable reproductive potential, i.e., a spermatheca and a similar number of ovarioles. Using normal winged queens of the closely related P. uruguayensis for comparison, we determined that both queen phenotypes in P. laticeps had a full set of dorsal thoracic sclerites, albeit each sclerite was much reduced, whereas workers had a thorax without distinct dorsal sclerites. Sclerites were fused and immobile in ergatoid queens, while they were separable and fully articulated in brachypterous queens. Both phenotypes lacked the big indirect flight muscles, but brachypterous queens retained the tiny direct flight muscles. Overall, this dimorphism across populations indicates that there are alternative solutions to selective pressures against flying queens. We lack field data about colony founding strategy (independent or dependent for either queen phenotype, but colonies at both sites produced numerous gynes, and we infer that all foundresses initiate colonies independently and are obligate foragers.

  13. Habitat differences in dung beetle assemblages in an African savanna-forest ecotone: implications for secondary seed dispersal.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kunz, Britta K; Krell, Frank-Thorsten

    2011-06-01

    The probability and pattern of secondary seed dispersal by dung beetles (Scarabaeinae) depend on their community structure and composition at the site of primary deposition, which, in turn, seem to be strongly determined by vegetation. Consequently, we expected pronounced differences in secondary seed dispersal between forest and savanna in the northern Ivory Coast, West Africa. We found 99 dung beetle species at experimentally exposed dung piles of the olive baboon (Papio anubis (Lesson, 1827)), an important primary seed disperser in West Africa. Seventy-six species belonged to the roller and tunneler guilds, which are relevant for secondary seed dispersal. Most species showed a clear habitat preference. Contrary to the Neotropics, species number and abundance were much higher in the savanna than in the forest. Rollers and tunnelers each accounted for approximately 50% of the individuals in the savanna, but in the forest rollers made up only 4%. Seeds deposited into the savanna by an omnivorous primary disperser generally have a higher overall probability of being more rapidly dispersed secondarily by dung beetles than seeds in the forest. Also, rollers disperse seeds over larger distances. In contrast to other studies, small rollers were active in dispersal of large seeds, which were seemingly mistaken for dung balls. Our results suggest that rollers can remove seeds from any plant dispersed in primate dung in this ecosystem.

  14. Dispersal of Formulations of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. erythroxyli and F. oxysporum f. sp. melonis by Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gracia-Garza, J A; Fravel, D R; Bailey, B A; Hebbar, P K

    1998-03-01

    ABSTRACT A natural epidemic of Fusarium wilt on coca (Erythroxylum coca) in Peru prompted the suggestion of possibly using the pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. erythroxyli as a mycoherbicide against this narcotic plant. During field trials conducted in Kauai, HI, to test the pathogenicity of the coca wilt pathogen, ants were observed removing formulations from test plots. While removal of formulations by ants was considered detrimental with respect to conducting field tests, ant removal was considered potentially beneficial in disseminating the mycoherbicide. Thus, research was initiated to assess the ability of formulation additives to alter the preference of ants for the formulated mycoherbicide. In Hawaii, preference of indigenous ants for removing formulations was tested using three different food bases (rice, rice plus canola oil, and wheat flour [gluten]). Similar tests were conducted at Beltsville, MD, using F. oxysporum f. sp. melonis, in which the formulation based on wheat flour was replaced by a formulation based on canola meal. Formulations based on wheat were preferred by ants in both locations; up to 90% of the wheat plus rice flour granules (C-6) and the wheat gluten plus kaolin granules (pesta) were removed within 24 h, while only 20% of those containing rice without oils were taken. However, when either canola, sunflower (Maryland only), or olive oil was added to the rice formulation, up to 90% of the granules were taken. The formulation based on canola meal was less attractive to ants, as only 65% of the granules were removed within a period of 24 h. Ants showed no preference with respect to presence or absence of fungal biomass. To alter the attractiveness of the C-6 formulation to ants, C-6 was amended with three natural products. Canna and tansy leaves were added to C-6 at a ratio of 1:5 (wt/wt), while chili powder was added at 1:25 or 1:2.5 (wt/wt). Canna, tansy, and the higher rate of chili powder significantly reduced the number of C-6

  15. Relocation of Croton sonderianus (Euphorbiaceae) seeds by Pheidole fallax Mayr (Formicidae): a case of post-dispersal seed protection by ants?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lôbo, D; Tabarelli, M; Leal, I R

    2011-01-01

    Although seed dispersal by ants might reduce seed predation near the parent plants, predation on discarded seeds clustered on nest refuse piles may reduce any initial benefit provided by seed removal. Here we examine the fate of Croton sonderianus seeds that were discarded by Pheidole fallax Mayr ants on their nest refuses in caatinga vegetation of northeast Brazil. We collected all seeds discarded in refuse piles of 20 nests and within a radius of 50 cm from their borders, and examined them for evidence of predation. A total of 3,017 seeds were recorded either located in the P. fallax refuse piles (89.1%) or nest vicinity (10.9%). Predation was three fold higher in nest vicinity as compared to refuse piles. By removing seeds from beneath parent plants and relocating then to refuse piles, P. fallax is possibly providing double protection services for C. sonderianus seeds. Our findings represent the first evidence for predator-avoidance as benefit for plants resulting from ant seed-dispersal in the neotropics.

  16. Dispersal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clobert, J.; Danchin, E.; Dhondt, A.A.; Nichols, J.D.

    2001-01-01

    The ability of species to migrate and disperse is a trait that has interested ecologists for many years. Now that so many species and ecosystems face major environmental threats from habitat fragmentation and global climate change, the ability of species to adapt to these changes by dispersing, migrating, or moving between patches of habitat can be crucial to ensuring their survival. This book provides a timely and wide-ranging overview of the study of dispersal and incorporates much of the latest research. The causes, mechanisms, and consequences of dispersal at the individual, population, species and community levels are considered. The potential of new techniques and models for studying dispersal, drawn from molecular biology and demography, is also explored. Perspectives and insights are offered from the fields of evolution, conservation biology and genetics. Throughout the book, theoretical approaches are combined with empirical data, and care has been taken to include examples from as wide a range of species as possible.

  17. Honey Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conway, John R.

    1984-01-01

    Provides background information on honey ants. These ants are found in dry or desert regions of North America, Africa, and Australia. Also provides a list of activities using local species of ants. (JN)

  18. Strange Assemblage

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Robert Cole

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available This paper contends that the power of Deleuze & Guattari’s (1988 notion of assemblage as theorised in 1000 Plateaus can be normalised and reductive with reference to its application to any social-cultural context where an open system of dynamic and fluid elements are located. Rather than determining the assemblage in this way, this paper argues for an alternative conception of ‘strange assemblage’ that must be deliberately and consciously created through rigorous and focused intellectual, creative and philosophical work around what makes assemblages singular. The paper will proceed with examples of ‘strange assemblage’ taken from a film by Peter Greenaway (A Zed and 2 Noughts; the film ‘Performance’; educational research with Sudanese families in Australia; the book, Bomb Culture by Jeff Nuttall (1970; and the band Hawkwind. Fittingly, these elements are themselves chosen to demonstrate the concept of ‘strange assemblage’, and how it can be presented. How exactly the elements of a ‘strange assemblage’ come together and work in the world is unknown until they are specifically elaborated and created ‘in the moment’. Such spontaneous methodology reminds us of the 1960s ‘Happenings’, the Situationist International and Dada/Surrealism. The difference that will be opened up by this paper is that all elements of this ‘strange assemblage’ cohere in terms of a rendering of ‘the unacceptable.'

  19. A global database of ant species abundances

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibb, Heloise; Dunn, Rob R.; Sanders, Nathan J.; Grossman, Blair F.; Photakis, Manoli; Abril, Silvia; Agosti, Donat; Andersen, Alan N.; Angulo, Elena; Armbrecht, Ingre; Arnan, Xavier; Baccaro, Fabricio B.; Bishop, Tom R.; Boulay, Raphael; Bruhl, Carsten; Castracani, Cristina; Cerda, Xim; Del Toro, Israel; Delsinne, Thibaut; Diaz, Mireia; Donoso, David A.; Ellison, Aaron M.; Enriquez, Martha L.; Fayle, Tom M.; Feener Jr., Donald H.; Fisher, Brian L.; Fisher, Robert N.; Fitpatrick, Matthew C.; Gomez, Cristanto; Gotelli, Nicholas J.; Gove, Aaron; Grasso, Donato A.; Groc, Sarah; Guenard, Benoit; Gunawardene, Nihara; Heterick, Brian; Hoffmann, Benjamin; Janda, Milan; Jenkins, Clinton; Kaspari, Michael; Klimes, Petr; Lach, Lori; Laeger, Thomas; Lattke, John; Leponce, Maurice; Lessard, Jean-Philippe; Longino, John; Lucky, Andrea; Luke, Sarah H.; Majer, Jonathan; McGlynn, Terrence P.; Menke, Sean; Mezger, Dirk; Mori, Alessandra; Moses, Jimmy; Munyai, Thinandavha Caswell; Pacheco, Renata; Paknia, Omid; Pearce-Duvet, Jessica; Pfeiffer, Martin; Philpott, Stacy M.; Resasco, Julian; Retana, Javier; Silva, Rogerio R.; Sorger, Magdalena D.; Souza, Jorge; Suarez, Andrew V.; Tista, Melanie; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L.; Vonshak, Merav; Weiser, Michael D.; Yates, Michelle; Parr, Catherine L.

    2017-01-01

    What forces structure ecological assemblages? A key limitation to general insights about assemblage structure is the availability of data that are collected at a small spatial grain (local assemblages) and a large spatial extent (global coverage). Here, we present published and unpublished data from 51,388 ant abundance and occurrence records of more than 2693 species and 7953 morphospecies from local assemblages collected at 4212 locations around the world. Ants were selected because they are diverse and abundant globally, comprise a large fraction of animal biomass in most terrestrial communities, and are key contributors to a range of ecosystem functions. Data were collected between 1949 and 2014, and include, for each geo-referenced sampling site, both the identity of the ants collected and details of sampling design, habitat type and degree of disturbance. The aim of compiling this dataset was to provide comprehensive species abundance data in order to test relationships between assemblage structure and environmental and biogeographic factors. Data were collected using a variety of standardised methods, such as pitfall and Winkler traps, and will be valuable for studies investigating large-scale forces structuring local assemblages. Understanding such relationships is particularly critical under current rates of global change. We encourage authors holding additional data on systematically collected ant assemblages, especially those in dry and cold, and remote areas, to contact us and contribute their data to this growing dataset.

  20. Studies of modern pollen assemblages for pollen dispersal- deposition- preservation process understanding and for pollen-based reconstructions of past vegetation, climate, and human impact: A review based on case studies in China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Qinghai; Zhang, Shengrui; Gaillard, Marie-jose; Li, Manyue; Cao, Xianyong; Tian, Fang; Li, Furong

    2016-10-01

    Fossil pollen, as a direct proxy record of past vegetation, and indirect proxy record of past climate, plays an essential role in revealing and reconstructing past vegetation and climate. However, relationships between pollen, vegetation and climate are not linear, hence quantitative reconstructions of past vegetation and climate based on pollen records are not straightforward, and results may be highly contradictory and difficult to interpret. One of the main causes of discrepancies between results has been the lack of comprehensive and systematical studies on modern pollen dispersal and deposition processes, particularly on the quantification of these processes. Based on empirical studies performed in China over the last 30 years, this paper provides the state-of-the-art of the understanding of pollen dispersal and deposition processes in China and the remaining questions to be investigated. We show that major progress has been achieved in the study of modern pollen dispersal and deposition processes, and in the application of models of the pollen-vegetation-climate relationships for quantitative reconstruction of past vegetation and climate. However, several issues are not entirely solved or understood yet, such as how to quantify the reworking and re-deposition of pollen grains in quaternary alluvial sediments, the influence of pollen preservation on pollen assemblages, and human impact on vegetation. Even so, the progress made during the last decades makes it possible to achieve significantly more precise and informative reconstructions of past vegetation, land-use and climate in China than was possible earlier.

  1. Identity Assemblages

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Horn, Line Helverskov

    2017-01-01

    , and theoretical foundation of the dissertation. Philosophically, the research rests on the central ANT concepts of symmetry, associations, and enactment with an inherent value of multiplicity. The philosophical position implies that the study of identity must be understood as the study of practices. This, in turn......Research in identity in general and professional identity specifically has seen an immense increase in recent years (Bauman 2004, Lawler 2014). Due to societal and technological developments, notions of what constitutes ‘the professional’ are subject to change. Thus, this dissertation rests...... on an understanding of professional identity as a moving concept that must be understood through its spatial and temporal contexts (Scanlon 2011). Accepting this position necessitates a reconsideration of the role that formal education plays in the development of professional identity of students. Researchers within...

  2. ANT, tourism and situated globality

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jóhannesson, Gunnar Thór; Ren, Carina Bregnholm; van der Duim, René

    2015-01-01

    are used to define as the separate spheres of nature and culture. This paper explores and relates the central tenets of ANT in tourism with regard to the concept of the Anthropocene. It presents the ANT approach as a flat and object-oriented ontology and methodology and explores its potentials to carve out......In recent years Actor-network theory (ANT) has increasingly been felt in the field of tourism studies (Van der Duim, Ren, & Jóhannesson, 2012). An important implication of the meeting between ANT and tourism studies is the notion of tourism being described as a heterogeneous assemblage of what we...... viable descriptions of the collective condition of humans and more-than-humans in the Anthropocene. Also and moving past a merely descriptive approach, it discusses it as a useful tool to engage with the situated globalities which come into being through the socio-spatial coupling of tourism...

  3. Tradeoffs, competition, and coexistence in eastern deciduous forest ant communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stuble, Katharine L; Rodriguez-Cabal, Mariano A; McCormick, Gail L; Jurić, Ivan; Dunn, Robert R; Sanders, Nathan J

    2013-04-01

    Ecologists have long sought to explain the coexistence of multiple potentially competing species in local assemblages. This is especially challenging in species-rich assemblages in which interspecific competition is intense, as it often is in ant assemblages. As a result, a suite of mechanisms has been proposed to explain coexistence among potentially competing ant species: the dominance-discovery tradeoff, the dominance-thermal tolerance tradeoff, spatial segregation, temperature-based niche partitioning, and temporal niche partitioning. Through a series of observations and experiments, we examined a deciduous forest ant assemblage in eastern North America for the signature of each of these coexistence mechanisms. We failed to detect evidence for any of the commonly suggested mechanisms of coexistence, with one notable exception: ant species appear to temporally partition foraging times such that behaviourally dominant species foraged more intensely at night, while foraging by subdominant species peaked during the day. Our work, though focused on a single assemblage, indicates that many of the commonly cited mechanisms of coexistence may not be general to all ant assemblages. However, temporal segregation may play a role in promoting coexistence among ant species in at least some ecosystems, as it does in many other organisms.

  4. Rovno Amber Ant Assamblage: Bias toward Arboreal Strata or Sampling Effect?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Perkovsky E. E.

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available In 2015 B. Guenard with co-authors indicated that the Rovno amber ant assemblage, as described by G. Dlussky and A. Rasnitsyn (2009, showed modest support for a bias towards arboreal origin comparing the Baltic and Bitterfeld assemblages, although it is not clear whether this reflects a sampling error or a signal of real deviation. Since 2009, the Rovno ant collection has now grown more than twice in volume which makes possible to check if the above inference about the essentially arboreal character of the assemblage is real or due to a sampling error. The comparison provided suggests in favour of the latter reason for the bias revealed by B. Guenard and co-authors. The new and larger data on the Rovno assemblage show that the share of non-arboreal ants is now well comparable with those concerning the Baltic and Bitterfeld assemblages. This holds true for the both total assemblages and subassemblages of worker ants only.

  5. Yellow Jackets (Vespula spp.) Disperse Trillium (spp.) Seeds in Eastern North America

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    JENNIFER A. ZETTLER; TIMOTHY P. SPIRA; CRAIG R. ALLEN

    2001-01-01

    Abstract Approximately 70 plant families worldwide have ant-dispersed seeds (myrmecochory). In this putative ant-plant mutualism, ants are attracted to and disperse seeds that have a lipid-rich elaiosome...

  6. Beyond ANT

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jansen, Till

    2017-01-01

    Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) offers an ‘infra-language’ of the social that allows one to trace social relations very dynamically, while at the same time dissolving human agency, thus providing a flat and de-centred way into sociology. However, ANT struggles with its theoretical design that may lead......, it offers an ‘infra-language’ of reflexive relations while maintaining ANT’s de-centred approach. This would enable us to conceptualize actor-networks as non-homogeneous, dynamic and connecting different societal rationales while maintaining the main strengths of ANT....

  7. Thermotolerance adaptation to human-modified habitats occurs in the native range of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata before long-distance dispersal

    OpenAIRE

    Foucaud, Julien; Rey, Olivier; Robert, Stephanie; Crespin, Laurent; Orivel, Jerome; Facon, Benoit; Loiseau, Anne; Jourdan, Herve; Kenne, Martin; Masse, Paul Serge Mbenoun; Tindo, Maurice; Vonshak, Merav; Estoup, Arnaud

    2013-01-01

    Key evolutionary events associated with invasion success are traditionally thought to occur in the introduced, rather than the native range of species. In the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata, however, a shift in reproductive system has been demonstrated within the native range, from the sexual non-dominant populations of natural habitats to the clonal dominant populations of human-modified habitats. Because abiotic conditions of human- modified habitats are hotter and dryer, we performed ...

  8. Struggling Ants

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2009-01-01

    Some of China’s college graduates are barely scraping by The village of Tangjialing, 20 km north of down town Beijing, was thrust into the public consciousness in November. Publishers that month released a book titled Ants

  9. Evolutionary history of the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata before global invasion: inferring dispersal patterns, niche requirements and past and present distribution within its native range.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chifflet, L; Rodriguero, M S; Calcaterra, L A; Rey, O; Dinghi, P A; Baccaro, F B; Souza, J L P; Follett, P; Confalonieri, V A

    2016-04-01

    The evolutionary history of invasive species within their native range may involve key processes that allow them to colonize new habitats. Therefore, phylogeographic studies of invasive species within their native ranges are useful to understand invasion biology in an evolutionary context. Here we integrated classical and Bayesian phylogeographic methods using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers with a palaeodistribution modelling approach, to infer the phylogeographic history of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata across its native distribution in South America. We discuss our results in the context of the recent establishment of this mostly tropical species in the Mediterranean region. Our Bayesian phylogeographic analysis suggests that the common ancestor of the two main clades of W. auropunctata occurred in central Brazil during the Pliocene. Clade A would have differentiated northward and clade B southward, followed by a secondary contact beginning about 380,000 years ago in central South America. There were differences in the most suitable habitats among clades when considering three distinct climatic periods, suggesting that genetic differentiation was accompanied by changes in niche requirements, clade A being a tropical lineage and clade B a subtropical and temperate lineage. Only clade B reached more southern latitudes, with a colder climate than that of northern South America. This is concordant with the adaptation of this originally tropical ant species to temperate climates prior to its successful establishment in the Mediterranean region. This study highlights the usefulness of exploring the evolutionary history of invasive species within their native ranges to better understand biological invasions.

  10. Geographic and taxonomic distribution of a positive interaction: ant-tended homopterans indirectly benefit figs across southern Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cushman, J Hall; Compton, Stephen G; Zachariades, Costas; Ware, Anthony B; Nefdt, Rory J C; Rashbrook, Vanessa K

    1998-09-01

    Although species pairs and assemblages often occur across geographic regions, ecologists know very little about the outcome of their interactions on such large spatial scales. Here, we assess the geographic distribution and taxonomic diversity of a positive interaction involving ant-tended homopterans and fig trees in the genus Ficus. Previous experimental studies at a few locations in South Africa indicated that Ficus sur indirectly benefited from the presence of a homopteran (Hilda patruelis) because it attracted ants (primarily Pheidole megacephala) that reduced the effects of both pre-dispersal ovule gallers and parasitoids of pollinating wasps. Based on this work, we evaluated three conditions that must be met in order to support the hypothesis that this indirect interaction involves many fig species and occurs throughout much of southern Africa and Madagascar. Data on 429 trees distributed among five countries indicated that 20 of 38 Ficus species, and 46% of all trees sampled, had ants on their figs. Members of the Sycomorus subgenus were significantly more likely to attract ants than those in the Urostigma subgenus, and ant-colonization levels on these species were significantly greater than for Urostigma species. On average, each ant-occupied F.sur tree had 37% of its fig crop colonized by ants, whereas the value was 24% for other Ficus species. H. patruelis was the most common source for attracting ants, although figs were also attacked by a range of other ant-tended homopterans. P. megacephala was significantly more common on figs than other ant species, being present on 58% of sampled trees. Ant densities commonly exceeded 4.5 per fig, which a field experiment indicated was sufficient to provide protection from ovule gallers and parasitoids of pollinators. Forty-nine percent of all colonized F. sur trees sampled had ant densities equal to or greater than 4.5 per fig, whereas this value was 23% for other Ficus species. We conclude that there is

  11. Ant Farm

    OpenAIRE

    2012-01-01

    Publié à l’occasion de l’exposition d’Ant Farm au Frac Centre du 12 au 23 décembre 2007, ce très beau catalogue, qui fait état des dix ans de création du collectif californien, propose un nombre important de documents iconographiques, de notices et de textes concernant leurs différents projets. Fondé en 1968 par Doug Michels et Chip Lord, rejoints par la suite par Curtis Schreier, Hudson Marquez, Douglas Hurr et d’autres encore, le collectif Ant Farm a marqué les esprits par quelques œuvres s...

  12. Harnessing ant defence at fruits reduces bruchid seed predation in a symbiotic ant-plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pringle, Elizabeth G

    2014-06-22

    In horizontally transmitted mutualisms, mutualists disperse separately and reassemble in each generation with partners genetically unrelated to those in the previous generation. Because of this, there should be no selection on either partner to enhance the other's reproductive output directly. In symbiotic ant-plant mutualisms, myrmecophytic plants host defensive ant colonies, and ants defend the plants from herbivores. Plants and ants disperse separately, and, although ant defence can indirectly increase plant reproduction by reducing folivory, it is unclear whether ants can also directly increase plant reproduction by defending seeds. The neotropical tree Cordia alliodora hosts colonies of Azteca pittieri ants. The trees produce domatia where ants nest at stem nodes and also at the node between the peduncle and the rachides of the infloresence. Unlike the stem domatia, these reproductive domatia senesce after the tree fruits each year. In this study, I show that the tree's resident ant colony moves into these ephemeral reproductive domatia, where they tend honeydew-producing scale insects and patrol the nearby developing fruits. The presence of ants significantly reduced pre-dispersal seed predation by Amblycerus bruchid beetles, thereby directly increasing plant reproductive output.

  13. Ant community change across a ground vegetation gradient in north Florida's longleaf pine flatwoods

    OpenAIRE

    David Lubertazzi; Walter Tschinkel

    2003-01-01

    Ant communities in longleaf pine habitats are poorly known and hence the naturally occurring ant assemblages of a large portion of southeastern North America are not well understood. This study examined the diverse ant community found in the longleaf pine flatwoods of north Florida and tested how ant diversity changes along a herbaceous ground cover gradient. Restoring the ground cover to its original floral composition is an important focus of longleaf pine conservation and hence it is impor...

  14. Effects of UV on photosynthesis of Antarctic phytoplankton: models and their application to coastal and pelagic assemblages Efecto de la radiación UV sobre la fotosíntesis de fitoplancton antártico: modelos y su aplicación a ensambles costeros y pelágicos

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    PATRICK J. NEALE

    2001-06-01

    Full Text Available We have characterized the photosynthetic response to ultraviolet radiation (UV of natural phytoplankton assemblages in Antarctic (Southern Ocean waters. Biological weighting functions (BWFs and exposure response curves for inhibition of photosynthesis by UV were measured during spring-time ozone depletion (October-November. Two different models were developed to relate photosynthesis to UV exposure. A model that is a function of the duration of exposure (BWF H applied to assemblages in the well-mixed open waters of the Weddell-Scotia Confluence (WSC, 60° S, 50° W, since responses were a function of cumulative exposure and recovery rates were slow. These assemblages had a variable but generally high sensitivity to UV. A steady-state model (BWF E applied in the shallow waters near the Antarctic Peninsula (Palmer Station, 64° S, 64° W, where inhibition was a function of irradiance (reciprocity failed, and recovery was rapid. Using information on the time-dependence of photosynthesis in assemblages with active repair, inferences were drawn on the relative contribution of damage and recovery processes to the UV weights. BWFs for Palmer phytoplankton sampled during periods of pack-ice cover had both higher damage and higher repair than BWFs for WSC assemblages. BWFs for Palmer phytoplankton sampled during open water periods had about the same damage weights as Weddell-Scotia assemblages but had a higher repair rate. Solar exposures of more than 10 min were predicted to have generally less effect on Palmer phytoplankton than the WSC phytoplanktonSe caracterizó la respuesta fotosintética a radiación ultravioleta (RUV en poblaciones naturales de fitoplancton del Océano Antártico. Se midieron las funciones espectrales de peso biológico (BWFs y curvas de inhibición de fotosíntesis en respuesta a la exposición de RUV durante la temporada de mayor disminución de la capa de ozono (octubre-noviembre. Se desarrollaron dos modelos distintos que

  15. Affects and assemblages

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Samson, Kristine

    affects and assemblages produce subjective feelings and emotions (Pile 2009) Recently, urban experience designs and events aim at evoking affects through affects and assemblages. A Danish example is the Carlsberg city in Copenhagen another is The High line in Chelsea, New York (Samson 2011). Thus...

  16. Monoculture of leafcutter ant gardens.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ulrich G Mueller

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Leafcutter ants depend on the cultivation of symbiotic Attamyces fungi for food, which are thought to be grown by the ants in single-strain, clonal monoculture throughout the hundreds to thousands of gardens within a leafcutter nest. Monoculture eliminates cultivar-cultivar competition that would select for competitive fungal traits that are detrimental to the ants, whereas polyculture of several fungi could increase nutritional diversity and disease resistance of genetically variable gardens. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using three experimental approaches, we assessed cultivar diversity within nests of Atta leafcutter ants, which are most likely among all fungus-growing ants to cultivate distinct cultivar genotypes per nest because of the nests' enormous sizes (up to 5000 gardens and extended lifespans (10-20 years. In Atta texana and in A. cephalotes, we resampled nests over a 5-year period to test for persistence of resident cultivar genotypes within each nest, and we tested for genetic differences between fungi from different nest sectors accessed through excavation. In A. texana, we also determined the number of Attamyces cells carried as a starter inoculum by a dispersing queens (minimally several thousand Attamyces cells, and we tested for genetic differences between Attamyces carried by sister queens dispersing from the same nest. Except for mutational variation arising during clonal Attamyces propagation, DNA fingerprinting revealed no evidence for fungal polyculture and no genotype turnover during the 5-year surveys. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Atta leafcutter ants can achieve stable, fungal monoculture over many years. Mutational variation emerging within an Attamyces monoculture could provide genetic diversity for symbiont choice (gardening biases of the ants favoring specific mutational variants, an analog of artificial selection.

  17. Thermotolerance adaptation to human-modified habitats occurs in the native range of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata before long-distance dispersal.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foucaud, Julien; Rey, Olivier; Robert, Stéphanie; Crespin, Laurent; Orivel, Jérôme; Facon, Benoit; Loiseau, Anne; Jourdan, Hervé; Kenne, Martin; Masse, Paul Serge Mbenoun; Tindo, Maurice; Vonshak, Merav; Estoup, Arnaud

    2013-06-01

    Key evolutionary events associated with invasion success are traditionally thought to occur in the introduced, rather than the native range of species. In the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata, however, a shift in reproductive system has been demonstrated within the native range, from the sexual non-dominant populations of natural habitats to the clonal dominant populations of human-modified habitats. Because abiotic conditions of human- modified habitats are hotter and dryer, we performed lab experiments on workers from a set of native and introduced populations, to investigate whether these ecological and genetic transitions were accompanied by a change in thermotolerance and whether such changes occurred before establishment in the introduced range. Thermotolerance levels were higher in native populations from human-modified habitats than in native populations from natural habitats, but were similar in native and introduced populations from human-modified habitats. Differences in thermotolerance could not be accounted for by differences in body size. A scenario based on local adaptation in the native range before introduction in remote areas represents the most parsimonious hypothesis to account for the observed phenotypic pattern. These findings highlight the importance of human land use in explaining major contemporary evolutionary changes.

  18. The Ants Have It!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daugherty, Belinda

    2001-01-01

    Uses the GEMS guide, "Ants at Home Underground", to explore the life of ants and teach about them in a classroom setting. The activity applies students' knowledge of ants and students learn about ant colonies, what ants eat, and how they live. (SAH)

  19. The Ants Have It!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daugherty, Belinda

    2001-01-01

    Uses the GEMS guide, "Ants at Home Underground", to explore the life of ants and teach about them in a classroom setting. The activity applies students' knowledge of ants and students learn about ant colonies, what ants eat, and how they live. (SAH)

  20. Ant aggression and evolutionary stability in plant-ant and plant-pollinator mutualistic interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oña, L; Lachmann, M

    2011-03-01

    Mutualistic partners derive a benefit from their interaction, but this benefit can come at a cost. This is the case for plant-ant and plant-pollinator mutualistic associations. In exchange for protection from herbivores provided by the resident ants, plants supply various kinds of resources or nests to the ants. Most ant-myrmecophyte mutualisms are horizontally transmitted, and therefore, partners share an interest in growth but not in reproduction. This lack of alignment in fitness interests between plants and ants drives a conflict between them: ants can attack pollinators that cross-fertilize the host plants. Using a mathematical model, we define a threshold in ant aggressiveness determining pollinator survival or elimination on the host plant. In our model we observed that, all else being equal, facultative interactions result in pollinator extinction for lower levels of ant aggressiveness than obligatory interactions. We propose that the capacity to discriminate pollinators from herbivores should not often evolve in ants, and when it does it will be when the plants exhibit limited dispersal in an environment that is not seed saturated so that each seed produced can effectively generate a new offspring or if ants acquire an extra benefit from pollination (e.g. if ants eat fruit). We suggest specific mutualism examples where these hypotheses can be tested empirically. © 2010 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2010 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  1. Fire Ant Allergy

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Treatments ▸ Library ▸ Allergy Library ▸ Fire ant allergy Share | Fire Ant Allergy This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI Fire ants are a stinging insect typically found in ...

  2. Fire Ant Bites

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Favorite Name: Category: Share: Yes No, Keep Private Fire Ant Bites Share | Fire ants are aggressive, venomous insects that have pinching ... across the United States, even into Puerto Rico. Fire ant stings usually occur on the feet or ...

  3. Secondary seed dispersal of Ricinus communis Linnaeus (Euphorbiaceae by ants in secondary growth vegetation in Minas Gerais Dispersão secundária de sementes de Ricinus communis Linnaeus (Euphorbiaceae por formigas em vegetação secundária em Minas Gerais

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mário Marcos do Espírito Santo

    2007-12-01

    Full Text Available In this study, I tested the efficacy of ants as secondary seed dispersers of Ricinus communis in southeastern Brazil. In a natural population of 143 individuals, I determined the ballistic dispersal distance for 62 seeds and 100 additional seeds were experimentally offered to ants in groups of ten seeds along a transect of 50 m. Fifty-three seeds were removed by ants, mainly by the leafcutter Atta sexdens (90.4%. The dispersal distance by ants was high, compared to the global average (4.38 m ± 0.74 m vs. 0.96 m, but was lower than the ballistic distance (7.27 m ± 0.13 m. Ants increased the total dispersal distance (8.66 m ± 0.60 m, but the main benefit for the plant was the directed dispersal, with seed deposition on the enriched soil of ant nests.Este estudo testou a eficiência de formigas como dispersores secundários de Ricinus communis no Brasil. Em uma população natural de 143 indivíduos, a distância de dispersão balística foi determinada para 62 sementes. Além disso, 100 sementes adicionais foram oferecidas a formigas em grupos de 10, ao longo de um transecto de 50 m. Cinqüenta e três sementes foram removidas por formigas, principalmente pela formiga-cortadeira Atta sexdens (90,4%. A distância de dispersão por formigas foi alta se comparada à média global (4,38m ± 0,74 m vs. 0,96 m, porém menor que a distância de dispersão balística (7,27 m ± 0,13 m. As formigas aumentaram a distância de dispersão total (8,66 m ± 0,60 m, mas o principal benefício para a planta foi a dispersão direcionada, com a deposição das sementes no solo enriquecido encontrado nos ninhos das formigas.

  4. Assessing ant seed predation in threatened plants: a case study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albert, María José; Escudero, Adrián; Iriondo, José María

    2005-11-01

    Erodium paularense is a threatened plant species that is subject to seed predation by the granivorous ant Messor capitatus. In this paper we assessed the intensity and pattern of ant seed predation and looked for possible adaptive strategies at the seed and plant levels to cope with this predation. Seed predation was estimated in 1997 and 1998 at the population level by comparing total seed production and ant consumption, assessed by counting seed hulls in refuse piles. According to this method, ant seed predation ranged between 18% and 28%. A more detailed and direct assessment conducted in 1997 raised this estimate to 43%. In this assessment spatial and temporal patterns of seed predation by ants were studied by mapping all nest entrances in the studied area and marking the mature fruits of 109 reproductive plants with a specific colour code throughout the seed dispersal period. Intact fruit coats were later recovered from the refuse piles, and their mother plants and time of dispersal were identified. Seeds dispersed at the end of the dispersal period had a greater probability of escaping from ant seed predation. Similarly, in plants with late dispersal a greater percentage of seeds escaped from ant predation. Optimum dispersal time coincided with the maximum activity of granivorous ants because, at this time, ants focused their harvest on other plant species of the community. It was also observed that within-individual seed dispersal asynchrony minimised seed predation. From a conservation perspective, results show that the granivorous ant-plant interaction cannot be assessed in isolation and that the intensity of its effects basically depends on the seed dispersal pattern of the other members of the plant community. Furthermore, this threat must be assessed by considering the overall situation of the target population. Thus, in E. paularense, the strong limitation of safe-sites for seedling establishment reduces the importance of seed predation.

  5. Affects and assemblages

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Samson, Kristine

    the paper raises the questions where to locate aesthetics when planners and architects wishes to design for aesthetical experiences and sensations rather than formal objects. The paper will proceed through a brief outline of the recent notion of assemblage and affect in urban studies, planning theory...... as a ‘throwntogetherness’ (Massey 2005) or assemblage (Farias & Bender 2010) of perspectives bridging for instance the social and cultural experienced space investigated by the geographer and urban sociologist with the material and formal aesthetics of the architect and urban planner.......Affects and assemblages are Deleuzian Guattarian notions related to aesthetics and spatial territories. In recent urban geography and urban studies these notions are increasingly gaining more impact (Amin & Thrift 2002, Pile 2008, Farías & Bender 2010, Andersen & Harrison 2010, Thrift 2008). What...

  6. The surveillant assemblage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haggerty, K D; Ericson, R V

    2000-12-01

    George Orwell's 'Big Brother' and Michel Foucault's 'panopticon' have dominated discussion of contemporary developments in surveillance. While such metaphors draw our attention to important attributes of surveillance, they also miss some recent dynamics in its operation. The work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari is used to analyse the convergence of once discrete surveillance systems. The resultant 'surveillant assemblage' operates by abstracting human bodies from their territorial settings, and separating them into a series of discrete flows. These flows are then reassembled in different locations as discrete and virtual 'data doubles'. The surveillant assemblage transforms the purposes of surveillance and the hierarchies of surveillance, as well as the institution of privacy.

  7. Response of Macroarthropod Assemblages to the Loss of Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), a Foundation Species

    OpenAIRE

    Baiser, Benjamin H.; Record, Sydne; Ellison, Aaron M.; Tara E. Sackett; Bewick, Sharon; Nathan J Sanders

    2011-01-01

    In eastern North American forests, eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is a foundation species. As hemlock is lost from forests due to the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) and pre-emptive salvage logging, the structure of assemblages of species associated with hemlock is expected to change. We manipulated hemlock canopy structure at hectare scales to investigate the effects of hemlock death on assemblages of ants, beetles, and spiders in a New England forest. Relative to refere...

  8. Assemblages of Patient Safety

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Balatsas Lekkas, Angelos

    2016-01-01

    This thesis identifies how design processes emerge during the use of devices in healthcare, by attending to assemblages where contingencies of risk and harm co-exist with the contribution of healthcare professionals to the safe care of patients. With support from the field of Science and Technology...

  9. Bioturbation by Fire Ants in the Coastal Prairie of Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cameron, G.; Williams, L.

    2001-12-01

    Fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) were introduced to the US in the early part of the last century. They have spread throughout the southeastern US in the absence of native competitors and predators with a range limited by abiotic factors. Each fire ant mound contains thousands of individuals, can be large, and can be numerous enough to comprise a dominant feature of the landscape. Studies of this species have focused upon its spread, formation of single- and multiple-queen colonies, genetic structure, and impact on native fauna and human health. Some studies have analyzed native fire ant-soil interactions, but few studies have examined the process of bioturbation by introduced fire ants in native ecosystems. Fire ants on the coastal prairie of Texas primarily are of the multiple-queen type that exhibit a much higher density of mounds than the single-queen type. Consequently, mound-building activities by fire ants can have a marked effect upon soil structure and nutrient content and may affect soil organisms and plants. Fire ant activity, mound density, mound dispersion, soil texture, soil permeability, soil moisture content, and soil nutrients were measured. Fire ants mounds are visible aboveground from April-November. Density of mounds was 117-738/ha, and average mound lifespan was 3.6 months with only 9% of the mounds remaining active throughout the entire season. Mounds were dispersed randomly. Foraging activity by fire ants was from June through October with a peak in July. Annual soil turnover was estimated by collecting and weighing mounds. There was no effect of ant mounds on soil texture, but water infiltration was higher in areas with ant mounds. Early-season samples showed no nutrient differences, but late-season samples showed that ant mounds contained higher amounts of micronutrients than random samples of soil. These data are compared to similar data on effects of mounds from native ants and from native and introduced ants in different habitats.

  10. Can the Argentine ant ( Linepithema humile Mayr) replace native ants in myrmecochory?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gómez, Crisanto; Oliveras, Jordi

    2003-04-01

    We analyse the influence of the Argentine ant ( Linepithema humile Mayr) on the seed dispersal process of the myrmecochorous plants Euphorbia characias, E. biumbellata, Genista linifolia, G. triflora, G. monspessulana and Sarothamnus arboreus. The observations were made in two study plots of Mediterranean cork-oak secondary forest (invaded and non-invaded by L. humile). The presence of L. humile implies the displacement of all native ant species that disperse seeds. Seed transports in the non-invaded zone were carried out by eight ant species. In the invaded zone, L. humile workers removed and transported seeds to the nest. In vertebrate exclusion trials, we observed the same level of seed removal in the invaded and non-invaded zones. Two findings could explain this result. Although mean time to seed localization was higher for native ants (431.7 s) than that for L. humile (150.5 s), the mean proportion of seeds transported after being detected was higher (50.1%) in non-invaded than in invaded (16.8%) zones. The proportion of seeds removed and transported into an ant nest after an ant-seed interaction had dramatically reduced from non-invaded (41.9%) to invaded (7.4%) zones. The levels of seed dispersal by ants found prior to invasion are unlikely to be maintained in invaded zones. However, total replacement of seed dispersal function is possible if contact iteration finally offers similar levels or quantities of seeds reaching the nests. The results obtained confirm that the Argentine ant invasion may affect myrmecochory dramatically in the Mediterranean biome.

  11. Fashion, Mediations & Method Assemblages

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sommerlund, Julie; Jespersen, Astrid Pernille

    , respectively. The paper thus takes on aesthetics and the social in a manner closely related to a core argument of STS - namely that the scientific fact, and the social processes of constructing, distributing, and using that fact, are co-constructed (Callon, 1986; Latour, 1993). The paper thus contributes......, it is an important ambition of this paper to go into a methodological discussion of how "that which effectively happens" can be approached. To this end, the paper will combine Hennion's term of the "mediator" with John Laws methodological term of "method assemblages". Method assemblages is a suggested as a way...... of handling multiple, fluid realities with multiple, fluid methods. Empirically, the paper works with mediation in fashion - that is efforts the active shaping of relations between producer and consumer through communication, marketing and PR. Fashion mediation is by no means simple, but organise complex...

  12. FCJ-177 Television Assemblages

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Teresa Rizzo

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Television has become a multiplatform medium that houses content on a number of different sites and devices that encourage new forms of engagement. This new digital environment has transformed television from a closed system, where programmes are transmitted to a television set for viewers to tune into, to an open system that produces new television connections and configurations. Drawing on the work of Deleuze and Guattari, Latour and current media theorists, this essay turns to the concept of assemblages for theorising this new interactive multiplatform television environment. Thinking about multiplatform television through the concept of assemblages offers a means of exploring how television devices, texts and media are reconfigured or modified so as to display new functionalities and capacities. It also enables us to consider the way television culture can be deterritorialised and reterritorialised through new connections and in doing so introduce new qualities such as interactivity and reciprocal determination.

  13. How to be an ant on figs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bain, Anthony; Harrison, Rhett D.; Schatz, Bertrand

    2014-05-01

    Mutualistic interactions are open to exploitation by one or other of the partners and a diversity of other organisms, and hence are best understood as being embedded in a complex network of biotic interactions. Figs participate in an obligate mutualism in that figs are dependent on agaonid fig wasps for pollination and the wasps are dependent on fig ovules for brood sites. Ants are common insect predators and abundant in tropical forests. Ants have been recorded on approximately 11% of fig species, including all six subgenera, and often affect the fig-fig pollinator interaction through their predation of either pollinating and parasitic wasps. On monoecious figs, ants are often associated with hemipterans, whereas in dioecious figs ants predominantly prey on fig wasps. A few fig species are true myrmecophytes, with domatia or food rewards for ants, and in at least one species this is linked to predation of parasitic fig wasps. Ants also play a role in dispersal of fig seeds and may be particularly important for hemi-epiphytic species, which require high quality establishment microsites in the canopy. The intersection between the fig-fig pollinator and ant-plant systems promises to provide fertile ground for understanding mutualistic interactions within the context of complex interaction networks.

  14. Ant community change across a ground vegetation gradient in north Florida's longleaf pine flatwoods

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Lubertazzi

    2003-07-01

    Full Text Available Ant communities in longleaf pine habitats are poorly known and hence the naturally occurring ant assemblages of a large portion of southeastern North America are not well understood. This study examined the diverse ant community found in the longleaf pine flatwoods of north Florida and tested how ant diversity changes along a herbaceous ground cover gradient. Restoring the ground cover to its original floral composition is an important focus of longleaf pine conservation and hence it is important to understand how native faunal communities vary with ground cover variation. Using 4 sampling methods, we characterized the ant community and analyzed its within-habitat variation among 12 study sites. We found the highest plot species richness (55 species and within-habitat species richness (72 species ever recorded for North American ants. The ants formed three distinct communities. The low-diversity arboreal and subterranean assemblages varied little across forest stands while the diversity of the species-rich ground foraging ant community was negatively correlated with percent herbaceous cover. The imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (monogyne form, was unexpectedly found to be abundant in high herbaceous cover sites. Floral restoration of the pine flatwoods, which is increasing the proportion of herbaceous cover, is likely to cause an increase in the abundance of the imported fire ant.

  15. Ant community change across a ground vegetation gradient in north Florida's longleaf pine flatwoods.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lubertazzi, David; Tschinkel, Walter

    2003-01-01

    Ant communities in longleaf pine habitats are poorly known and hence the naturally occurring ant assemblages of a large portion of southeastern North America are not well understood. This study examined the diverse ant community found in the longleaf pine flatwoods of north Florida and tested how ant diversity changes along a herbaceous ground cover gradient. Restoring the ground cover to its original floral composition is an important focus of longleaf pine conservation and hence it is important to understand how native faunal communities vary with ground cover variation. Using 4 sampling methods, we characterized the ant community and analyzed its within-habitat variation among 12 study sites. We found the highest plot species richness (55 species) and within-habitat species richness (72 species) ever recorded for North American ants. The ants formed three distinct communities. The low-diversity arboreal and subterranean assemblages varied little across forest stands while the diversity of the species-rich ground foraging ant community was negatively correlated with percent herbaceous cover. The imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (monogyne form), was unexpectedly found to be abundant in high herbaceous cover sites. Floral restoration of the pine flatwoods, which is increasing the proportion of herbaceous cover, is likely to cause an increase in the abundance of the imported fire ant.

  16. Ant behaviour and seed morphology: a missing link of myrmecochory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gómez, Crisanto; Espadaler, Xavier; Bas, Josep M

    2005-12-01

    Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) is mediated by the presence of a lipid-rich appendage (elaiosome) on the seed that induces a variety of ants to collect the diaspores. When seeds mature or fall onto the ground, these ant species transport them to their nest. After eating the elaiosome, the seed is discarded in nest galleries or outside, in the midden or farther away, where seeds can potentially germinate. The final location of seeds with their elaiosomes removed was evaluated to assess the importance of possible handles (structures that ants can grasp to carry) in transporting ants during re-dispersal experiments of seeds from nests of six species of ants. The results indicate that seeds remained within the nest because the ants were not able to transport them out of the nest. As a consequence of the elaiosome being removed, small ant species could not take Euphorbia characias seeds out of their nests. Only large ant species could remove E. characias seeds from their nests. Attaching an artificial handle to E. characias seeds allowed small ant species to redistribute the seeds from their nests. On the other hand, Rhamnus alaternus seeds that have a natural handle after the elaiosome removal were removed from the nests by both groups of ant species. If a seed has an element that acts as a handle, it will eventually get taken out of the nest. The ants' size and their mandible gap can determine the outcome of the interaction (i.e. the pattern of the final seed shadow) and as a consequence, could influence the events that take place after the dispersal process.

  17. Studying the Complex Communities of Ants and Their Symbionts Using Ecological Network Analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ivens, Aniek B F; von Beeren, Christoph; Blüthgen, Nico; Kronauer, Daniel J C

    2016-01-01

    Ant colonies provide well-protected and resource-rich environments for a plethora of symbionts. Historically, most studies of ants and their symbionts have had a narrow taxonomic scope, often focusing on a single ant or symbiont species. Here we discuss the prospects of studying these assemblies in a community ecology context using the framework of ecological network analysis. We introduce three basic network metrics that we consider particularly relevant for improving our knowledge of ant-symbiont communities: interaction specificity, network modularity, and phylogenetic signal. We then discuss army ant symbionts as examples of large and primarily parasitic communities, and symbiotic sternorrhynchans as examples of generally smaller and primarily mutualistic communities in the context of these network analyses. We argue that this approach will provide new and complementary insights into the evolutionary and ecological dynamics between ants and their many associates, and will facilitate comparisons across different ant-symbiont assemblages as well as across different types of ecological networks.

  18. Five new records of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) for Nebraska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nemec, Kristine T.; Trager, James C.; Manley, Elizabeth; Allen, Craig R.

    2012-01-01

    Ants are ubiquitous and influential organisms in terrestrial ecosystems. About 1,000 ant species occur in North America, where they are found in nearly every habitat (Fisher and Cover 2007). Ants are critical to ecological processes and structure. Ants affect soils via tunneling activity (Baxter and Hole 1967), disperse plant seeds (Lengyel et al. 2009), prey upon a variety of insects and other invertebrates (Way and Khoo 1992, Folgarait 1998), are often effective primary consumers through their prodigious consumption of floral and especially extrafloral nectar, and honeydew (Tobin 1994), and serve as prey for invertebrates (Gotelli 1996, Gastreich 1999) and vertebrates (Reiss 2001).

  19. Pheromone disruption of Argentine ant trail integrity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suckling, D.M.; Peck, R.W.; Manning, L.M.; Stringer, L.D.; Cappadonna, J.; El-Sayed, A. M.

    2008-01-01

    Disruption of Argentine ant trail following and reduced ability to forage (measured by bait location success) was achieved after presentation of an oversupply of trail pheromone, (Z)-9-hexadecenal. Experiments tested single pheromone point sources and dispersion of a formulation in small field plots. Ant walking behavior was recorded and digitized by using video tracking, before and after presentation of trail pheromone. Ants showed changes in three parameters within seconds of treatment: (1) Ants on trails normally showed a unimodal frequency distribution of walking track angles, but this pattern disappeared after presentation of the trail pheromone; (2) ants showed initial high trail integrity on a range of untreated substrates from painted walls to wooden or concrete floors, but this was significantly reduced following presentation of a point source of pheromone; (3) the number of ants in the pheromone-treated area increased over time, as recruitment apparently exceeded departures. To test trail disruption in small outdoor plots, the trail pheromone was formulated with carnuba wax-coated quartz laboratory sand (1 g quartz sand/0.2 g wax/1 mg pheromone). The pheromone formulation, with a half-life of 30 h, was applied by rotary spreader at four rates (0, 2.5, 7.5, and 25 mg pheromone/m2) to 1- and 4-m2 plots in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. Ant counts at bait cards in treated plots were significantly reduced compared to controls on the day of treatment, and there was a significant reduction in ant foraging for 2 days. These results show that trail pheromone disruption of Argentine ants is possible, but a much more durable formulation is needed before nest-level impacts can be expected. ?? 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

  20. Where and how Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) spreads in Corsica?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blight, Olivier; Orgeas, Jérôme; Renucci, Marielle; Tirard, Alain; Provost, Erick

    2009-08-01

    The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Dolichoderinae), is one of the most widespread invasive ant species in the world. When established in optimal habitat, this species usually excludes most other local ants and can heavily impact other arthropods as well. Although Argentine ants have been present in southern Europe for more than 100 years, they were first noted in Corsica, a French Mediterranean island, in 1957 in only one urban station. In this study, we aimed to map precisely their geographical distribution in Corsica and to quantify their presence by using an infestation index. We recorded changes in the distribution of Argentine ants in Corsica over the past decade. Argentine ants appeared to be well established within their introduced range and spreading along the Corsican coasts principally through Human-mediated jump-dispersal but not homogenously.

  1. Ants contribute significantly to the pollination of a biodiesel plant, Jatropha curcas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luo, Chang W; Li, Kun; Chen, Xiao M; Huang, Zachary Y

    2012-10-01

    Ants are the most abundant visitors to the flowers of Jatropha curcas L., but it is not clear how much they contribute to the pollination of this plant. In this study, we observed floral visitor assemblage and foraging behavior of ants, measured pollen loads carried by ants and deposited on stigmas, and determined the contribution of ants to the female reproductive success of J. curcas through exclusion experiments. Ants were the most abundant pollinators, accounting for 71.03 and 78.17% of total visits at two study sites. Among different ant species, Tapinoma melanocephalum (F.) is always the most abundant and the only common ant species at two study sites, which might suggest its important role in the pollination of J. curcas. Pollen loads carried by ants were significantly different among different species at two study sites. Pollen loads carried by ants increased with increased body length. Although the flowers exposed only to the ants produced less fruit than those exposed only to the winged visitors, ants alone resulted in almost 60% fruit set. Thus, ants could play a major role in the pollination of J. curcas if winged insects are absent.

  2. How does habitat complexity affect ant foraging success? A test using functional measures on three continents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibb, H; Parr, C L

    2010-12-01

    Habitat complexity can mediate key processes that structure local assemblages through effects on factors such as competition, predation and foraging behaviour. While most studies address assemblage responses to habitat complexity within one locality, a more global approach allows conclusions with greater independence from the phylogenetic constraints of the target assemblages, thus allowing greater generality. We tested the effects of natural and manipulated habitat complexities on ant assemblages from South Africa, Australia and Sweden, in order to determine if there were globally consistent responses in how functional measures of foraging success are regulated by habitat complexity. Specifically, we considered how habitat complexity affected ant foraging rates including the speed of discovery and rate of monopolisation. We also tested if habitat complexity affected the body size index, a size-related morphological trait, of ants discovering resources and occupying and monopolising the resources after 180 min. Ants were significantly slower to discover baits in the more complex treatments, consistent with predictions that they would move more slowly through more complex environments. The monopolisation index was also lower in the more complex treatments, suggesting that resources were more difficult to defend. Our index of ant body size showed trends in the predicted direction for complexity treatments. In addition, ants discovering, occupying and monopolising resources were smaller in simple than in complex natural habitats. Responses of discovering ants to resources in natural habitats were clear in only one of three regions. Consistent with our predictions, habitat complexity thus affected functional measures of the foraging success of ants in terms of measures of discovery and monopolisation rates and body size traits of successful ants. However, patterns were not always equally clear in manipulative and mensurative components of the study.

  3. An ants-eye view of an ant-plant protection mutualism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lanan, M. C.; Bronstein, J. L.

    2013-01-01

    Ant protection of extrafloral nectar-secreting plants (EFN plants) is a common form of mutualism found in most habitats around the world. However, very few studies have considered these mutualisms from the ant, rather than the plant, perspective. In particular, a whole-colony perspective that takes into account the spatial structure and nest arrangement of the ant colonies that visit these plants has been lacking, obscuring when and how colony-level foraging decisions might affect tending rates on individual plants. Here, we experimentally demonstrate that recruitment of Crematogaster opuntiae (Buren) ant workers to the extrafloral nectar-secreting cactus Ferocactus wislizeni (Englem) is not independent between plants up to 5m apart. Colony territories of C. opuntiae are large, covering areas of up to 5000m2, and workers visit between five and thirty-four extrafloral nectar-secreting barrel cacti within the territories. These ants are highly polydomous, with up to twenty nest entrances dispersed throughout the territory and interconnected by trail networks. Our study demonstrates that worker recruitment is not independent within large polydomous ant colonies, highlighting the importance of considering colonies rather than individual workers as the relevant study unit within ant/plant protection mutualisms PMID:23515612

  4. Ecology of microfungal communities in gardens of fungus-growing ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): a year-long survey of three species of attine ants in Central Texas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodrigues, Andre; Mueller, Ulrich G; Ishak, Heather D; Bacci, Maurício; Pagnocca, Fernando C

    2011-11-01

    We profiled the microfungal communities in gardens of fungus-growing ants to evaluate possible species-specific ant-microfungal associations and to assess the potential dependencies of microfungal diversity on ant foraging behavior. In a 1-year survey, we isolated microfungi from nests of Cyphomyrmex wheeleri, Trachymyrmex septentrionalis and Atta texana in Central Texas. Microfungal prevalence was higher in gardens of C. wheeleri (57%) than in the gardens of T. septentrionalis (46%) and A. texana (35%). Culture-dependent methods coupled with a polyphasic approach of species identification revealed diverse and changing microfungal communities in all the sampling periods. Diversity analyses showed no obvious correlations between the number of observed microfungal species, ant species, or the ants' changing foraging behavior across the seasons. However, both correspondence analysis and 5.8S-rRNA gene unifrac analyses suggested structuring of microfungal communities by ant host. These host-specific differences may reflect in part the three different environments where ants were collected. Most interestingly, the specialized fungal parasite Escovopsis was not isolated from any attine garden in this study near the northernmost limit of the range of attine ants, contrasting with previous studies that indicated a significant incidence of this parasite in ant gardens from Central and South America. The observed differences of microfungal communities in attine gardens suggest that the ants are continuously in contact with a diverse microfungal species assemblage. © 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. A diverse ant fauna from the mid-cretaceous of Myanmar (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barden, Phillip; Grimaldi, David

    2014-01-01

    A new collection of 24 wingless ant specimens from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber (Albian-Cenomanian, 99 Ma) comprises nine new species belonging to the genus Sphecomyrmodes Engel and Grimaldi. Described taxa vary considerably with regard to total size, head and body proportion, cuticular sculpturing, and petiole structure while all species are unified by a distinct shared character. The assemblage represents the largest known diversification of closely related Cretaceous ants with respect to species number. These stem-group ants exhibit some characteristics previously known only from their extant counterparts along with presumed plesiomorphic morphology. Consequently, their morphology may inform hypotheses relating to basal relationships and general patterns of ant evolution. These and other uncovered Cretaceous species indicate that stem-group ants are not simply wasp-like, transitional formicids, but rather a group of considerable adaptive diversity, exhibiting innovations analogous to what crown-group ants would echo 100 million years later.

  6. Widespread Chemical Detoxification of Alkaloid Venom by Formicine Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    LeBrun, Edward G; Diebold, Peter J; Orr, Matthew R; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2015-10-01

    The ability to detoxify defensive compounds of competitors provides key ecological advantages that can influence community-level processes. Although common in plants and bacteria, this type of detoxification interaction is extremely rare in animals. Here, using laboratory behavioral assays and analyses of videotaped interactions in South America, we report widespread venom detoxification among ants in the subfamily Formicinae. Across both data sets, nine formicine species, representing all major clades, used a stereotyped grooming behavior to self-apply formic acid (acidopore grooming) in response to fire ant (Solenopsis invicta and S. saevissima) venom exposure. In laboratory assays, this behavior increased the survivorship of species following exposure to S. invicta venom. Species expressed the behavior when exposed to additional alkaloid venoms, including both compositionally similar piperidine venom of an additional fire ant species and the pyrrolidine/pyrroline alkaloid venom of a Monomorium species. In addition, species expressed the behavior following exposure to the uncharacterized venom of a Crematogaster species. However, species did not express acidopore grooming when confronted with protein-based ant venoms or when exposed to monoterpenoid-based venom. This pattern, combined with the specific chemistry of the reaction of formic acid with venom alkaloids, indicates that alkaloid venoms are targets of detoxification grooming. Solenopsis thief ants, and Monomorium species stand out as brood-predators of formicine ants that produce piperidine, pyrrolidine, and pyrroline venom, providing an important ecological context for the use of detoxification behavior. Detoxification behavior also represents a mechanism that can influence the order of assemblage dominance hierarchies surrounding food competition. Thus, this behavior likely influences ant-assemblages through a variety of ecological pathways.

  7. Does structural complexity determine the morphology of assemblages? An experimental test on three continents.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Heloise Gibb

    Full Text Available Understanding how species will respond to global change depends on our ability to distinguish generalities from idiosyncrasies. For diverse, but poorly known taxa, such as insects, species traits may provide a short-cut to predicting species turnover. We tested whether ant traits respond consistently to habitat complexity across geographically independent ant assemblages, using an experimental approach and baits. We repeated our study in six paired simple and complex habitats on three continents with distinct ant faunas. We also compared traits amongst ants with different foraging strategies. We hypothesised that ants would be larger, broader, have longer legs and more dorsally positioned eyes in simpler habitats. In agreement with predictions, ants had longer femurs and dorsally positioned eyes in simple habitats. This pattern was most pronounced for ants that discovered resources. Body size and pronotum width responded as predicted for experimental treatments, but were inconsistent across continents. Monopolising ants were smaller, with shorter femurs than those that occupied or discovered resources. Consistent responses for several traits suggest that many, but not all, aspects of morphology respond predictably to habitat complexity, and that foraging strategy is linked with morphology. Some traits thus have the potential to be used to predict the direction of species turnover, changes in foraging strategy and, potentially, evolution in response to changes in habitat structure.

  8. Riding with the ants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Duarte, A. P. M.; Attili-Angelis, D.; Baron, N. C.; Groenewald, Johannes Z.; Crous, Pedro W.; Pagnocca, F. C.

    Isolates of Teratosphaeriaceae have frequently been found in the integument of attine ants, proving to be common and diverse in this microenvironment. The LSU phylogeny of the ant-isolated strains studied revealed that they cluster in two main lineages. The first was associated with the genus

  9. Riding with the ants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Duarte, A.P.M.; Attili-Angelis, D.; Baron, N.C.; Groenewald, J.Z.; Crous, P.W.; Pagnocca, F.C.

    2017-01-01

    Isolates of Teratosphaeriaceae have frequently been found in the integument of attine ants, proving to be common and diverse in this microenvironment. The LSU phylogeny of the ant-isolated strains studied revealed that they cluster in two main lineages. The first was associated with the genus Xenope

  10. Riding with the ants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Duarte, A. P. M.; Attili-Angelis, D.; Baron, N. C.; Groenewald, Johannes Z.; Crous, Pedro W.; Pagnocca, F. C.

    2016-01-01

    Isolates of Teratosphaeriaceae have frequently been found in the integument of attine ants, proving to be common and diverse in this microenvironment. The LSU phylogeny of the ant-isolated strains studied revealed that they cluster in two main lineages. The first was associated with the genus Xenope

  11. Ecology of a fig ant-plant

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrison, Rhett D.

    2014-05-01

    Mutualistic interactions are embedded in networks of interactions that affect the benefits accruing to the mutualistic partners. Figs and their pollinating wasps are engaged in an obligate mutualism in which the fig is dependent on the fig pollinator for pollination services and the pollinator is dependent on fig ovules for brood sites. This mutualism is exploited by non-pollinating fig wasps that utilise the same ovules, but do not provide a pollination service. Most non-pollinating wasps oviposit from outside the inflorescence (syconium), where they are vulnerable to ant predation. Ficus schwarzii is exposed to high densities of non-pollinating wasps, but Philidris sp. ants patrolling the syconia prevent them from ovipositing. Philidris rarely catch wasps, but the fig encourages the patrolling by providing a reward through extra-floral nectaries on the surface of syconia. Moreover, the reward is apparently only produced during the phase when parasitoids are ovipositing. An ant-exclusion experiment demonstrated that, in the absence of ants, syconia were heavily attacked and many aborted as a consequence. Philidris was normally rare on the figs during the receptive phase or at the time of day when wasp offspring are emerging, so predation on pollinators was limited. However, Myrmicaria sp. ants, which only occurred on three trees, preyed substantially on pollinating as well as non-pollinating wasps. F. schwarzii occurs in small clusters of trees and has an exceptionally rapid crop turnover. These factors appear to promote high densities of non-pollinating wasps and, as a consequence, may have led to both a high incidence of ants on trees and increased selective pressure on fig traits that increase the payoffs of the fig-ant interaction for the fig. The fig receives no direct benefit from the reward it provides, but protects pollinating wasps that will disperse its pollen.

  12. Weaver ant role in cashew orchards in Vietnam.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peng, Renkang; Lan, La Pham; Christian, Keith

    2014-08-01

    Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) is a very important source of income for more than 200,000 farmer households in Vietnam. The present cashew productivity in Vietnam is low and unstable, and pest damage is partly responsible for this. Cashew farmers rely on pesticides to minimize the damage, resulting in adverse impacts on farm environment and farmers' health. Weaver ants (Oecophylla spp) are effective biocontrol agents of a range of cashew insect pests in several cashew-growing countries, and these ants are widely distributed in Vietnam. The aim of this study is to evaluate the potential of weaver ants in cashew orchards in Vietnam. Field surveys and field experiment were conducted in five cashew orchards from July 2006 to January 2008 in Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, and Ba Ria Vung Tau provinces, Vietnam. Based on the field surveys, the most important pests that damage flushing foliar and floral shoots and young cashew fruits and nuts were mosquito bugs, brown shoot borers, blue shoot borers, and fruit-nut borers. The damage caused by each of these pests was significantly lower on trees with weaver ants compared with trees without the ants, showing that the ants were able to keep these pest damages under the control threshold. Regular monitoring of the field experiment showed that weaver ants were similar to insecticides for controlling mosquito bugs, blue shoot borers, fruit-nut borers, leaf rollers, and leaf miners. Aphids did not become major pests in plot with weaver ants. To manage insect pest assemblage in cashew orchards, an integrated pest management using weaver ants as a major component is discussed.

  13. Seed odor mediates an obligate ant-plant mutualism in Amazonian rainforests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Youngsteadt, Elsa; Nojima, Satoshi; Häberlein, Christopher; Schulz, Stefan; Schal, Coby

    2008-03-25

    Seed dispersal mutualisms are essential for the survival of diverse plant species and communities worldwide. Among invertebrates, only ants have a major role in seed dispersal, and thousands of plant species produce seeds specialized for ant dispersal in "diffuse" multispecies interactions. An outstanding but poorly understood ant-seed mutualism occurs in the Amazonian rainforest, where arboreal ants collect seeds of several epiphyte species and cultivate them in nutrient-rich nests, forming abundant and conspicuous hanging gardens known as ant-gardens (AGs). AG ants and plants are dominant members of lowland Amazonian ecosystems, and their interaction is both specific and obligate, but the means by which ants locate, recognize, and accept their mutualist seeds while rejecting other seeds is unknown. Here we address the chemical and behavioral basis of the AG interaction. We show that workers of the AG ant Camponotus femoratus are attracted to odorants emanating from seeds of the AG plant Peperomia macrostachya, and that chemical cues also elicit seed-carrying behavior. We identify five compounds from P. macrostachya seeds that, as a blend, attract C. femoratus workers. This report of attractive odorants from ant-dispersed seeds illustrates the intimacy and complexity of the AG mutualism and begins to illuminate the chemical basis of this important and enigmatic interaction.

  14. The first mesozoic ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, E O; Carpenter, F M; Brown, W L

    1967-09-01

    Two worker ants preserved in amber of Upper Cretaceous age have been found in New Jersey. They are the first undisputed remains of social insects of Mesozoic age, extending the existence of social life in insects back to approximately 100 million years. They are also the earliest known fossils that can be assigned with certainty to aculeate Hymenoptera. The species, Sphecomyrma freyi, is considered to represent a new subfamily (Sphecomyrminae), more primitive than any previously known ant group. It forms a near-perfect link between certain nonsocial tiphiid wasps and the most primitive myrmecioid ants.

  15. An assessment of rehabilitation success in an African grassland using ants as bioindicators

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Samantha-Leigh Jamison

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Many studies that evaluate rehabilitation make use of invertebrate bioindicators. Invertebrates, especially ants, make useful indicators as they are sensitive to environmental change. We compared ant assemblages in rehabilitated and control sites in the Rietvlei Nature Reserve, a protected area important for grassland conservation in South Africa. Pitfall traps were used to sample ant assemblages at six control sites and six rehabilitated sites. In addition, environmental and vegetation surveys were conducted at each site. We found that the ant assemblages differed significantly between the control and rehabilitated sites, although there was considerable overlap; the control sites supported a greater species density and higher abundance of ants than the rehabilitated sites. In total, 36 ant species were collected (control sites: 34 species; rehabilitated sites: 26 species. The environmental survey revealed that percentages of bare ground and coarse sand, as well as soil pH, differed significantly between the control and rehabilitated sites. The control and rehabilitated sites also supported significantly different plant assemblages. Three indicator ant species were identified for the control sites: Crematogaster rectinota, Crematogaster amita and Monomorium fastidium. No indicator species were identified for the rehabilitated sites. These results suggest that recovery from the previous agricultural use of the area is still incomplete and highlights the lack of research examining the success of rehabilitation in the grassland biome.Conservation implications: The present study illustrates the need for further research on rehabilitation techniques utilised in the grassland biome. This is of value as the remainder of South African grasslands are considered critically endangered.

  16. Redispersal of seeds by a keystone ant augments the spread of common wildflowers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Canner, Judith E.; Dunn, Robert R.; Giladi, Itamar; Gross, Kevin

    2012-04-01

    Myrmecochory (dispersal of seeds by ants) is an evolutionarily and ecologically common mutualism. Most of the research on the costs and benefits of myrmecochory in North America assumes that ant-dispersed seeds are taken to, and left in, the ant nest. Here, we use a novel seed-tracking technique to quantify secondary dispersal of seeds from the nest into the surrounding leaf litter by the keystone seed-dispersing ant, Aphaenogaster rudis. We found that A. rudis redispersed >90% of the seeds it took into its nest an average distance of 51.5 cm. A mathematical model shows redispersal increases the rate of population spread of the myrmecochores Hexastylis arifolia and Asarum canadense by 22.5%, and increases the expected cumulative dispersal distance away from the parent plant by 24%. Our results suggest myrmecochory benefits plants in eastern North American forests by increasing the distance between the seed and parent plant and reducing competition among siblings.

  17. Field techniques for sampling ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ants occur in most environments and ecologists ask a diverse array of questions involving ants. Thus, a key consideration in ant studies is to match the environment and question (and associated environmental variables) to the ant sampling technique. Since each technique has distinct limitations, usi...

  18. Consequences of forest clear-cuts for native and nonindigenous ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zettler, J.A.; Taylor, M.D.; Allen, C.R.; Spira, T.P.

    2004-01-01

    Currently, the southern United States produces more timber than any other region in the world. Entire timber stands are removed through a harvesting method called clear-cutting. This common forestry practice may lead to the replacement of native ant communities with invasive, nonindigenous species. In four deciduous forest sites in South Carolina, we monitored the change in ant species richness, diversity, and abundance immediately after forest clearing for a period of 15 mo to 2 yr and determined the incidence of colonization of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta into these four newly disturbed sites. Each site consisted of an uncut, forested plot and a logged, pine-planted plot. Fire ants were collected in clear-cuts as early as 3 mo postcutting, and by the end of the experiment, they were found in all four treatment sites. Our study is the first to document, through a controlled experiment, that clear-cutting alters ant species assemblages by increasing S. invicta and Pheidole spp. populations and significantly reducing native ant numbers. Long-term studies are needed to assess how replacing native deciduous forests with pine monocultures affects ant assemblages. ?? 2004 Entomological Society of America.

  19. Effects of large-scale wildfire on ground foraging ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in southern California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matsuda, Tritia; Turschak, Greta; Brehme, Cheryl; Rochester, Carlton; Mitrovich, Milan; Fisher, Robert

    2011-01-01

    We investigated the effect of broad-scale wildfire on ground foraging ants within southern California. In October and November of 2003, two wildfires burned large portions of the wildlands within San Diego County. Between January 2005 and September 2006, we surveyed 63 plots across four sites to measure the effect of the fires on the ant assemblages present in four vegetation types: 1) coastal sage scrub, 2) chaparral, 3) grassland, and 4) woodland riparian. Thirty-six of the 63 plots were sampled before the fires between March 2001 and June 2003. Mixed model regression analyses, accounting for the burn history of each plot and our pre- and postfire sampling efforts, revealed that fire had a negative effect on ant species diversity. Multivariate analyses showed that ant community structure varied significantly among the four vegetation types, and only the ant assemblage associated with coastal sage scrub exhibited a significant difference between burned and unburned samples. The most notable change detected at the individual species level involved Messor andrei (Mayr), which increased from ant samples to 32.1% in burned plots postfire. We theorize that M. andrei responded to the increase of bare ground and postfire seed production, leading to an increase in the detection rate for this species. Collectively, our results suggest that wildfires can have short-term impacts on the diversity and community structure of ground foraging ants in coastal sage scrub. We discuss these findings in relation to management implications and directions for future research.

  20. Sick ants become unsociable.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bos, N; Lefèvre, T; Jensen, A B; d'Ettorre, P

    2012-02-01

    Parasites represent a severe threat to social insects, which form high-density colonies of related individuals, and selection should favour host traits that reduce infection risk. Here, using a carpenter ant (Camponotus aethiops) and a generalist insect pathogenic fungus (Metarhizium brunneum), we show that infected ants radically change their behaviour over time to reduce the risk of colony infection. Infected individuals (i) performed less social interactions than their uninfected counterparts, (ii) did not interact with brood anymore and (iii) spent most of their time outside the nest from day 3 post-infection until death. Furthermore, infected ants displayed an increased aggressiveness towards non-nestmates. Finally, infected ants did not alter their cuticular chemical profile, suggesting that infected individuals do not signal their physiological status to nestmates. Our results provide evidence for the evolution of unsociability following pathogen infection in a social animal and suggest an important role of inclusive fitness in driving such evolution.

  1. Environmental characteristics drive variation in Amazonian understorey bird assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Menger, Juliana; Magnusson, William E; Anderson, Marti J; Schlegel, Martin; Pe'er, Guy; Henle, Klaus

    2017-01-01

    Tropical bird assemblages display patterns of high alpha and beta diversity and, as tropical birds exhibit strong habitat specificity, their spatial distributions are generally assumed to be driven primarily by environmental heterogeneity and interspecific interactions. However, spatial distributions of some Amazonian forest birds are also often restricted by large rivers and other large-scale topographic features, suggesting that dispersal limitation may also play a role in driving species' turnover. In this study, we evaluated the effects of environmental characteristics, topographic and spatial variables on variation in local assemblage structure and diversity of birds in an old-growth forest in central Amazonia. Birds were mist-netted in 72 plots distributed systematically across a 10,000 ha reserve in each of three years. Alpha diversity remained stable through time, but species composition changed. Spatial variation in bird-assemblage structure was significantly related to environmental and topographic variables but not strongly related to spatial variables. At a broad scale, we found bird assemblages to be significantly distinct between two watersheds that are divided by a central ridgeline. We did not detect an effect of the ridgeline per se in driving these patterns, indicating that most birds are able to fly across it, and that differences in assemblage structure between watersheds may be due to unmeasured environmental variables or unique combinations of measured variables. Our study indicates that complex geography and landscape features can act together with environmental variables to drive changes in the diversity and composition of tropical bird assemblages at local scales, but highlights that we still know very little about what makes different parts of tropical forest suitable for different species.

  2. Environmental characteristics drive variation in Amazonian understorey bird assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Magnusson, William E.; Anderson, Marti J.; Schlegel, Martin; Pe’er, Guy; Henle, Klaus

    2017-01-01

    Tropical bird assemblages display patterns of high alpha and beta diversity and, as tropical birds exhibit strong habitat specificity, their spatial distributions are generally assumed to be driven primarily by environmental heterogeneity and interspecific interactions. However, spatial distributions of some Amazonian forest birds are also often restricted by large rivers and other large-scale topographic features, suggesting that dispersal limitation may also play a role in driving species’ turnover. In this study, we evaluated the effects of environmental characteristics, topographic and spatial variables on variation in local assemblage structure and diversity of birds in an old-growth forest in central Amazonia. Birds were mist-netted in 72 plots distributed systematically across a 10,000 ha reserve in each of three years. Alpha diversity remained stable through time, but species composition changed. Spatial variation in bird-assemblage structure was significantly related to environmental and topographic variables but not strongly related to spatial variables. At a broad scale, we found bird assemblages to be significantly distinct between two watersheds that are divided by a central ridgeline. We did not detect an effect of the ridgeline per se in driving these patterns, indicating that most birds are able to fly across it, and that differences in assemblage structure between watersheds may be due to unmeasured environmental variables or unique combinations of measured variables. Our study indicates that complex geography and landscape features can act together with environmental variables to drive changes in the diversity and composition of tropical bird assemblages at local scales, but highlights that we still know very little about what makes different parts of tropical forest suitable for different species. PMID:28225774

  3. Ant aggregations self-heal to compensate for the Ringelmann effect.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Phonekeo, Sulisay; Dave, Tanvi; Kern, Matthew; Franklin, Scott V; Hu, David L

    2016-05-14

    Fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, link their bodies together to form structures such as rafts, bivouacs and bridges. Such structures are in danger of being damaged by natural disturbances such as passing water currents. In this combined experimental and theoretical study, we investigate the self-healing of ant assemblages. We press two ant aggregations together and measure the forces to pull them apart. As the group size increases, the contribution of each ant decreases. This phenomenon, known as the Ringelmann effect, or social loafing, has previously been shown for cattle and humans. In this study, we show that it is a challenge for ants as well. We rationalize this effect with an agent-based simulation which exhibits the Ringelmann effect of ants that periodically make and break links with each other, but grip with higher probability if the ants are stretched. Over time, ants compensate for the Ringelmann effect by building more links. We use a mathematical model to show that the rate of new links is proportional to the number of free ants in the cluster. The principles found here may inspire new directions in self-healing and active materials.

  4. Harnessing ant defence at fruits reduces bruchid seed predation in a symbiotic ant–plant mutualism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pringle, Elizabeth G.

    2014-01-01

    In horizontally transmitted mutualisms, mutualists disperse separately and reassemble in each generation with partners genetically unrelated to those in the previous generation. Because of this, there should be no selection on either partner to enhance the other's reproductive output directly. In symbiotic ant–plant mutualisms, myrmecophytic plants host defensive ant colonies, and ants defend the plants from herbivores. Plants and ants disperse separately, and, although ant defence can indirectly increase plant reproduction by reducing folivory, it is unclear whether ants can also directly increase plant reproduction by defending seeds. The neotropical tree Cordia alliodora hosts colonies of Azteca pittieri ants. The trees produce domatia where ants nest at stem nodes and also at the node between the peduncle and the rachides of the infloresence. Unlike the stem domatia, these reproductive domatia senesce after the tree fruits each year. In this study, I show that the tree's resident ant colony moves into these ephemeral reproductive domatia, where they tend honeydew-producing scale insects and patrol the nearby developing fruits. The presence of ants significantly reduced pre-dispersal seed predation by Amblycerus bruchid beetles, thereby directly increasing plant reproductive output. PMID:24807259

  5. Competition can lead to unexpected patterns in tropical ant communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ellwood, M. D. Farnon; Blüthgen, Nico; Fayle, Tom M.; Foster, William A.; Menzel, Florian

    2016-08-01

    Ecological communities are structured by competitive, predatory, mutualistic and parasitic interactions combined with chance events. Separating deterministic from stochastic processes is possible, but finding statistical evidence for specific biological interactions is challenging. We attempt to solve this problem for ant communities nesting in epiphytic bird's nest ferns (Asplenium nidus) in Borneo's lowland rainforest. By recording the frequencies with which each and every single ant species occurred together, we were able to test statistically for patterns associated with interspecific competition. We found evidence for competition, but the resulting co-occurrence pattern was the opposite of what we expected. Rather than detecting species segregation-the classical hallmark of competition-we found species aggregation. Moreover, our approach of testing individual pairwise interactions mostly revealed spatially positive rather than negative associations. Significant negative interactions were only detected among large ants, and among species of the subfamily Ponerinae. Remarkably, the results from this study, and from a corroborating analysis of ant communities known to be structured by competition, suggest that competition within the ants leads to species aggregation rather than segregation. We believe this unexpected result is linked with the displacement of species following asymmetric competition. We conclude that analysing co-occurrence frequencies across complete species assemblages, separately for each species, and for each unique pairwise combination of species, represents a subtle yet powerful way of detecting structure and compartmentalisation in ecological communities.

  6. Exploration versus exploitation in polydomous ant colonies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cook, Zoe; Franks, Daniel W; Robinson, Elva J H

    2013-04-21

    In socially foraging species resource information can be shared between individuals, increasing foraging success. In ant colonies, nestmate recruitment allows high exploitation rates at known resources however, to maximise foraging efficiency this must be balanced with searching for new resources. Many ant species form colonies inhabiting two or more spatially separated but socially connected nests: this type of organisation is known as polydomy. Polydomous colonies may benefit from increased foraging efficiency by carrying out dispersed-central place foraging. However, decentralisation of the colony may affect recruitment success by limiting interaction between ants based in separate nests. We use an agent-based model which compares the foraging success of monodomous and polydomous colonies in different food environments, incorporating recruitment through pheromone trails and group foraging. In contrast to previous results we show that polydomy is beneficial in some but not all cases. Polydomous colonies discover resources at a higher rate, making them more successful when food is highly dispersed, but their relative success can be lowered by limitations on recruitment success. Monodomous colonies can have higher foraging efficiency than polydomous colonies by exploiting food more rapidly. The results show the importance of interactions between recruitment strategy, colony size, and colony organisation. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Trade-offs in an ant-plant-fungus mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Orivel, Jérôme; Malé, Pierre-Jean; Lauth, Jérémie; Roux, Olivier; Petitclerc, Frédéric; Dejean, Alain; Leroy, Céline

    2017-03-15

    Species engaged in multiple, simultaneous mutualisms are subject to trade-offs in their mutualistic investment if the traits involved in each interaction are overlapping, which can lead to conflicts and affect the longevity of these associations. We investigate this issue via a tripartite mutualism involving an ant plant, two competing ant species and a fungus the ants cultivate to build galleries under the stems of their host plant to capture insect prey. The use of the galleries represents an innovative prey capture strategy compared with the more typical strategy of foraging on leaves. However, because of a limited worker force in their colonies, the prey capture behaviour of the ants results in a trade-off between plant protection (i.e. the ants patrol the foliage and attack intruders including herbivores) and ambushing prey in the galleries, which has a cascading effect on the fitness of all of the partners. The quantification of partners' traits and effects showed that the two ant species differed in their mutualistic investment. Less investment in the galleries (i.e. in fungal cultivation) translated into more benefits for the plant in terms of less herbivory and higher growth rates and vice versa. However, the greater vegetative growth of the plants did not produce a positive fitness effect for the better mutualistic ant species in terms of colony size and production of sexuals nor was the mutualist compensated by the wider dispersal of its queens. As a consequence, although the better ant mutualist is the one that provides more benefits to its host plant, its lower host-plant exploitation does not give this ant species a competitive advantage. The local coexistence of the ant species is thus fleeting and should eventually lead to the exclusion of the less competitive species. © 2017 The Author(s).

  8. Record dynamics in ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas O Richardson

    Full Text Available The success of social animals (including ourselves can be attributed to efficiencies that arise from a division of labour. Many animal societies have a communal nest which certain individuals must leave to perform external tasks, for example foraging or patrolling. Staying at home to care for young or leaving to find food is one of the most fundamental divisions of labour. It is also often a choice between safety and danger. Here we explore the regulation of departures from ant nests. We consider the extreme situation in which no one returns and show experimentally that exiting decisions seem to be governed by fluctuating record signals and ant-ant interactions. A record signal is a new 'high water mark' in the history of a system. An ant exiting the nest only when the record signal reaches a level it has never perceived before could be a very effective mechanism to postpone, until the last possible moment, a potentially fatal decision. We also show that record dynamics may be involved in first exits by individually tagged ants even when their nest mates are allowed to re-enter the nest. So record dynamics may play a role in allocating individuals to tasks, both in emergencies and in everyday life. The dynamics of several complex but purely physical systems are also based on record signals but this is the first time they have been experimentally shown in a biological system.

  9. Utilization of Anting-Anting (Acalypha indica) Leaves as Antibacterial

    Science.gov (United States)

    Batubara, Irmanida; Wahyuni, Wulan Tri; Firdaus, Imam

    2016-01-01

    Anting-anting (Acalypha indica) plants is a species of plant having catkin type of inflorescence. This research aims to utilize anting-anting as antibacterial toward Streptococcus mutans and degradation of biofilm on teeth. Anting-anting leaves were extracted by maceration technique using methanol, chloroform, and n-hexane. Antibacterial and biofilm degradation assays were performed using microdilution technique with 96 well. n-Hexane extracts of anting-anting leaves gave the best antibacterial potency with minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration value of 500 μg/mL and exhibited good biofilm degradation activity. Fraction of F3 obtained from fractionation of n-hexane's extract with column chromatography was a potential for degradation of biofilm with IC50 value of 56.82 μg/mL. Alkaloid was suggested as antibacterial and degradation of biofilm in the active fraction.

  10. Ants in Tropical Urban Habitats: The Myrmecofauna in a Densely Populated Area of Bogor, West Java, Indonesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    AKHMAD RIZALI

    2008-06-01

    Full Text Available Ants are the most abundant animals in tropical habitats and have been widely studied in natural and semi-natural tropical systems. However, species in urban tropical habitats remain poorly studied, despite their abundance and potentially important roles in urban ecosystems and pest dynamics. We investigated the ant fauna of Bogor and its surroundings to contribute to the characterization of the myrmecofauna of one of Southeast Asia’s most densely populated regions. Ants were collected both by hand collection and from honey baits in the most common habitats: garbage dumps, households, and home gardens. In total, 94 species were recorded, over two thirds of which occurred in home gardens, which underlines the importance of vegetated habitats for urban planning to support complex ant assemblages. Twelve sampled species are well-known as tramp species that occur primarily in human-dominated landscapes. The two tramp species Anoplolepis gracilipes and Paratrechina longicornis dominated ant assemblages in all locations and most habitat types. The assemblages of tramp species were affected by habitat type, whereas that of non tramp species were not. Forty-five species were also recorded in the Bogor Botanical Garden and five species are also known to be common in cacao agroforests. Hence, research in urban tropical habitats can increase our knowledge of the occurrence of ant species, allowing us to better assess the biodiversity and conservation potential of semi-natural habitats.

  11. Ants sow the seeds of global diversification in flowering plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lengyel, Szabolcs; Gove, Aaron D; Latimer, Andrew M; Majer, Jonathan D; Dunn, Robert R

    2009-01-01

    The extraordinary diversification of angiosperm plants in the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods has produced an estimated 250,000-300,000 living angiosperm species and has fundamentally altered terrestrial ecosystems. Interactions with animals as pollinators or seed dispersers have long been suspected as drivers of angiosperm diversification, yet empirical examples remain sparse or inconclusive. Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) may drive diversification as it can reduce extinction by providing selective advantages to plants and can increase speciation by enhancing geographical isolation by extremely limited dispersal distances. Using the most comprehensive sister-group comparison to date, we tested the hypothesis that myrmecochory leads to higher diversification rates in angiosperm plants. As predicted, diversification rates were substantially higher in ant-dispersed plants than in their non-myrmecochorous relatives. Data from 101 angiosperm lineages in 241 genera from all continents except Antarctica revealed that ant-dispersed lineages contained on average more than twice as many species as did their non-myrmecochorous sister groups. Contrasts in species diversity between sister groups demonstrated that diversification rates did not depend on seed dispersal mode in the sister group and were higher in myrmecochorous lineages in most biogeographic regions. Myrmecochory, which has evolved independently at least 100 times in angiosperms and is estimated to be present in at least 77 families and 11 000 species, is a key evolutionary innovation and a globally important driver of plant diversity. Myrmecochory provides the best example to date for a consistent effect of any mutualism on large-scale diversification.

  12. Recolonization patterns of ants in a rehabilitated lignite mine in central Italy: Potential for the use of Mediterranean ants as indicators of restoration processes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ottonetti, L.; Tucci, L.; Santini, G. [University of Florence, Florence (Italy)

    2006-03-15

    Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) assemblages were sampled with pitfall traps in three different habitats associated with a rehabilitated mine district and in undisturbed forests in Tuscany, Italy. The four habitats were (1) open fields (3-4 years old); (2) a middle-age mixed plantation (10 years); (3) an old-age mixed plantation (20 years); and (4) an oak woodland (40 years) not directly affected by mining activities. The aim of the study was to analyze ant recolonization patterns in order to provide insights on the use of Mediterranean ant fauna as indicators of restoration processes. Species richness and diversity were not significantly different among the four habitats. However, multivariate analyses showed that the assemblages in the different habitats were clearly differentiated, with similarity relationships reflecting a successional gradient among rehabilitated sites. The observed patterns of functional group changes along the gradient broadly accord with those of previous studies in other biogeographic regions. These were (1) a decrease of dominant Dolichoderinae and opportunists; (2) an increase in the proportion of cold-climate specialists; and (3) the appearance of the Cryptic species in the oldest plantations, with a maximum of abundance in the woodland. In conclusion, the results of our study supported the use of Mediterranean ants as a suitable tool for biomonitoring of restoration processes, and in particular, the functional group approach proved a valuable framework to better interpret local trends in terms of global ecological patterns. Further research is, however, needed in order to obtain a reliable classification of Mediterranean ant functional groups.

  13. Ant Colony Optimization for Control

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Ast, J.M.

    2010-01-01

    The very basis of this thesis is the collective behavior of ants in colonies. Ants are an excellent example of how rather simple behavior on a local level can lead to complex behavior on a global level that is beneficial for the individuals. The key in the self-organization of ants is communication

  14. Ant Colony Optimization for Control

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Ast, J.M.

    2010-01-01

    The very basis of this thesis is the collective behavior of ants in colonies. Ants are an excellent example of how rather simple behavior on a local level can lead to complex behavior on a global level that is beneficial for the individuals. The key in the self-organization of ants is communication

  15. A new Lower Triassic ichthyopterygian assemblage from Fossil Hill, Nevada

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Neil P. Kelley

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available We report a new ichthyopterygian assemblage from Lower Triassic horizons of the Prida Formation at Fossil Hill in central Nevada. Although fragmentary, the specimens collected so far document a diverse fauna. One partial jaw exhibits isodont dentition with blunt tipped, mesiodistally compressed crowns and striated enamel. These features are shared with the Early Triassic genus Utatsusaurus known from coeval deposits in Japan and British Columbia. An additional specimen exhibits a different dentition characterized by relatively small, rounded posterior teeth resembling other Early Triassic ichthyopterygians, particularly Grippia. This Nevada assemblage marks a southward latitudinal extension for Early Triassic ichthyopterygians along the eastern margin of Panthalassa and indicates repeated trans-hemispheric dispersal events in Early Triassic ichthyopterygians.

  16. Sick ants become unsociable

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bos, Nicky Peter Maria; Lefevre, T.; Jensen, A.B.

    2012-01-01

    Parasites represent a severe threat to social insects, which form high-density colonies of related individuals, and selection should favour host traits that reduce infection risk. Here, using a carpenter ant (Camponotus aethiops) and a generalist insect pathogenic fungus (Metarhizium brunneum), w...

  17. ANT i arbejdslivsforskningen

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    2012-01-01

    for Tidsskrift for Arbejdsliv at stille skarpt på, hvorledes teknologi kan forstås og udforskes, og her står nyere teoridannelser som STS (Science- and Technology Studies) og ANT (Actor-Network Theory) centralt. Dette temanummer af tidsskriftet har derfor disse teorier og deres anvendelse i studier af arbejdsliv...

  18. Tiny, Powerful, Awesome Ants!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tate, Kathleen

    2007-01-01

    Peering through a thematic science lens--elementary students embarked on a one-week study of ants during a month-long summer school program. This integrated unit addressed reading and writing skills while developing the science-process skills of observation, inferring, and communicating in a motivating and authentic way. Pre- and post-assessments…

  19. Variation in seed dispersal along an elevational gradient in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zelikova, Tamara J.; Dunn, Robert R.; Sanders, Nathan J.

    2008-09-01

    Seed dispersal by ants is ecologically important and geographically widespread as 20-50% of all herbaceous species in eastern deciduous forests are dispersed by ants, but we know little about how or why such interactions vary geographically. In this paper, we examined variation in seed dispersal by ants along an extensive elevational gradient (256-2025 m) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA. Specifically, we asked whether variation in ant community composition affected seed removals and seed dispersal distance of Trillium undulatum and Hexastylis arifolia, two common understory herbs found throughout the southern Appalachian Mountains. We also examined variation in myrmecochore abundance, specifically Trillium spp. and H. arifolia, along the same elevational gradient. Measures of ant community and climate variables strongly covaried with elevation, while Trillium species richness and abundance did not. We found that seed removals decreased with elevation, but seed dispersal distance did not depend on elevation. The most important variables predicting seed removals were average annual temperature and the abundance of Aphaenogaster rudis, both of which varied along the elevational gradient. Seed dispersal by ants did not depend on ant community composition, but was dominated by one species, A. rudis, which occurred at every site and removed the vast majority of all observed seeds in this study. Though the ant fauna in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is diverse, dispersal of T. undulatum and H. arifolia, and likely other myrmecochores, is driven by one ant species, A. rudis.

  20. Biodiversity on Broadway--enigmatic diversity of the societies of ants (Formicidae) on the streets of New York City.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pećarević, Marko; Danoff-Burg, James; Dunn, Robert R

    2010-10-05

    Each year, a larger proportion of the Earth's surface is urbanized, and a larger proportion of the people on Earth lives in those urban areas. The everyday nature, however, that humans encounter in cities remains poorly understood. Here, we consider perhaps the most urban green habitat, street medians. We sampled ants from forty-four medians along three boulevards in New York City and examined how median properties affect the abundance and species richness of native and introduced ants found on them. Ant species richness varied among streets and increased with area but was independent of the other median attributes measured. Ant assemblages were highly nested, with three numerically dominant species present at all medians and additional species present at a subset of medians. The most common ant species were the introduced Pavement ant (Tetramorium caespitum) and the native Thief ant (Solenopsis molesta) and Cornfield ant (Lasius neoniger). The common introduced species on the medians responded differently to natural and disturbed elements of medians. Tetramorium caespitum was most abundant in small medians, with the greatest edge/area ratio, particularly if those medians had few trees, whereas Nylanderia flavipes was most abundant in the largest medians, particularly if they had more trees. Many of the species encountered in Manhattan were similar to those found in other large North American cities, such that a relatively small subset of ant species probably represent most of the encounters humans have with ants in North America.

  1. Biodiversity on Broadway - Enigmatic Diversity of the Societies of Ants (Formicidae) on the Streets of New York City

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pećarević, Marko; Danoff-Burg, James; Dunn, Robert R.

    2010-01-01

    Each year, a larger proportion of the Earth's surface is urbanized, and a larger proportion of the people on Earth lives in those urban areas. The everyday nature, however, that humans encounter in cities remains poorly understood. Here, we consider perhaps the most urban green habitat, street medians. We sampled ants from forty-four medians along three boulevards in New York City and examined how median properties affect the abundance and species richness of native and introduced ants found on them. Ant species richness varied among streets and increased with area but was independent of the other median attributes measured. Ant assemblages were highly nested, with three numerically dominant species present at all medians and additional species present at a subset of medians. The most common ant species were the introduced Pavement ant (Tetramorium caespitum) and the native Thief ant (Solenopsis molesta) and Cornfield ant (Lasius neoniger). The common introduced species on the medians responded differently to natural and disturbed elements of medians. Tetramorium caespitum was most abundant in small medians, with the greatest edge/area ratio, particularly if those medians had few trees, whereas Nylanderia flavipes was most abundant in the largest medians, particularly if they had more trees. Many of the species encountered in Manhattan were similar to those found in other large North American cities, such that a relatively small subset of ant species probably represent most of the encounters humans have with ants in North America. PMID:20957156

  2. Biodiversity on Broadway--enigmatic diversity of the societies of ants (Formicidae on the streets of New York City.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marko Pećarević

    Full Text Available Each year, a larger proportion of the Earth's surface is urbanized, and a larger proportion of the people on Earth lives in those urban areas. The everyday nature, however, that humans encounter in cities remains poorly understood. Here, we consider perhaps the most urban green habitat, street medians. We sampled ants from forty-four medians along three boulevards in New York City and examined how median properties affect the abundance and species richness of native and introduced ants found on them. Ant species richness varied among streets and increased with area but was independent of the other median attributes measured. Ant assemblages were highly nested, with three numerically dominant species present at all medians and additional species present at a subset of medians. The most common ant species were the introduced Pavement ant (Tetramorium caespitum and the native Thief ant (Solenopsis molesta and Cornfield ant (Lasius neoniger. The common introduced species on the medians responded differently to natural and disturbed elements of medians. Tetramorium caespitum was most abundant in small medians, with the greatest edge/area ratio, particularly if those medians had few trees, whereas Nylanderia flavipes was most abundant in the largest medians, particularly if they had more trees. Many of the species encountered in Manhattan were similar to those found in other large North American cities, such that a relatively small subset of ant species probably represent most of the encounters humans have with ants in North America.

  3. Public Sphere as Digital Assemblage

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Salovaara-Moring, Inka

    the 1990s onwards digitalization brought concepts of network and complexity into the theoretical discourse. This relational turn changed the social ontology of the public sphere into a dynamic and complex system, erasing the division between the fields of reality (the world), representation (discourse...... theories. Drawing from Deleuze & Guattari (1987), Bennett (2010), and Latour (2004) in order to imagine post-human assemblages of public sphere, this paper argues for a relational ontology that emphasizes the complex interactions of political assemblages. Empirically, it draws from the author’s studies......Normative theories of public sphere have struggled with the topic of materiality. The historical narrative of the ‘public sphere’ situated the phenomenon in specific spaces, where practices (public deliberation) and language (discourse) constructed political agencies, and further publics. From...

  4. Larval Fish Assemblages, Environment and Circulation in a Semienclosed Sea (Gulf Of California).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peguero, M.; Sánchez-Velasco, L.; Lavín, M.; Marinone, G.

    2007-05-01

    Fish larvae and hydrographic data collected in the Gulf of California in December 2002 are used to describe the larval fish assemblages and to explore their relationships with environmental variables. The Bray-Curtis dissimilarity index defined three larval fish assemblages, whose goeographical distribution coincided with three areas defined by Principal Component Analysis of the environmental variables. The affinity of most of the species with the environmental characteristics of their areas of distribution could be interpreted as an indication that spawning occurred inside those areas. However, it is not known when the spawning took place, and the fast currents in the Gulf could rapidly disperse eggs and larvae. Since transport and retention is best studied from a Lagrangian point of view, the currents from a 3D numerical model were used to track large numbers of particles released in the different larval fish assemblage areas. Particle-tracking and connectivity matrices can help in assessing larval fish retention in seas that, like the Gulf of California, have well defined circulation patterns. On time scales around 30 days, retention occurred for the North assemblage in the Upper Gulf, for the Channel- Central assemblage in the anticyclone over the Norhern Gulf and in Ballenas Channel, and for the South assemblage in the eddy over San Pedro Mártir basin and in the shallow zone off the peninsula. Therefore, the Lagrangian analysis revealed that the observed larval fish assemblages have a permanency long enough to allow the larve to remain in a favorable environment until they develop motility.

  5. The Dynamics of Foraging Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baxter, G. William

    2009-03-01

    We experimentally study the foraging of small black ants, Formicinae lasius flavus, in order to describe their foraging behavior mathematically. Individual ants are allowed to forage on a two-dimensional surface in the absence of any food sources. The position of the ant as a function of time is determined using a high-resolution digital camera. Analysis of the average square displacements of many ants suggests that the foraging strategy is a non-reversing random walk. Moreover, the ants do not retrace their steps to return home but instead continue the random walk until it brings them back near their starting point.

  6. The nature of culture: technological variation in chimpanzee predation on army ants revisited

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schöning, Caspar; Humle, Tatyana; Möbius, Yasmin

    2008-01-01

    Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) predation on army ants (Dorylus, subgenus Anomma) is an impressive example of skillful use of elementary technology, and it has been suggested to reflect cultural differences among chimpanzee communities. Alternatively, the observed geographic diversity in army......-ant-eating may represent local behavioral responses of the chimpanzees to the anti-predator traits of the army ant species present at the different sites. We examined assemblages of available prey species, their behavior and morphology, consumption by chimpanzees, techniques employed, and tool lengths at 14...... sites in eastern, central, and western Africa. Where army ants are eaten, tool length and concomitant technique are a function of prey type. Epigaeically foraging species with aggressive workers that inflict painful bites are harvested with longer tools and usually by the "pull-through" technique...

  7. "Ant-egg" cataract revisited

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Clemmensen, Kåre; Enghild, Jan J; Ivarsen, Anders;

    2017-01-01

    PURPOSE: Hereditary congenital cataract varies immensely concerning location and form of the lens opacities. A specific and very rare phenotype is called "ant-egg" cataract first described in 1900. "Ant-eggs" have previously been examined using light microscopy, backscattered electron imaging and X......-ray scans and electron microscopy. The purpose of this study was to further characterize "ant-egg" cataract using modern technology and display the history of the "ant-eggs" after cataract extraction. METHODS: "Ant-eggs" were examined using Heidelberg SPECTRALIS Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT......-egg" structures in "ant-egg" cataract. Eighteen of these proteins are not natively found in the human lens. Moreover, "ant-eggs" do not vary over time, after cataract extraction, regarding size and location....

  8. Soil surface searching and transport of Euphorbia characias seeds by ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Espadaler, Xavier; Gómez, Crisanto

    The intensity of exploring the soil surface by ants was studied for the four species involved in the dispersal and predation of seeds of the West-Mediterranean myrmecochorous plant Euphorbia characias. During the dehiscence period (June) the whole soil surface is sccanned in 43 minutes. Not all ants that find a seed take it to the nest. For the four ant species studied ( Pheidole pallidula, Aphaenogaster senilis, Tapinoma nigerrimum, Messor barbarus) the proportion of ants that finally take the seed is 67.6%. In spite of this, the high level of soil surface searching explains the rather short time that seeds remain on the soil before being removed. The presence of an elaiosome is a key element in the outcome of the ant-seed interaction: a seed with elaiosome has a seven-fold increase in probability of being taken to the nest if found by a non-granivorous ant. The predator-avoidance hypothesis for myrmecochory is supported.

  9. Extracted Venom and Cuticular Compounds of Imported Fire Ants, Solenopsis spp., and Chemotaxonomic Applications Across a Persistent Hybrid Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Characterization of cuticular biomolecular assemblages for imported fire ants permit basic distinctions among colonies of S. invicta, S. richteri, and their hybrids; thus, providing opportunities to investigate details of landscape ecology for this species complex as well as to assess levels of inva...

  10. Trail Pheromone Disruption of Argentine Ant Trail Formation and Foraging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suckling, D.M.; Peck, R.W.; Stringer, L.D.; Snook, K.; Banko, P.C.

    2010-01-01

    Trail pheromone disruption of invasive ants is a novel tactic that builds on the development of pheromone-based pest management in other insects. Argentine ant trail pheromone, (Z)-9-hexadecenal, was formulated as a micro-encapsulated sprayable particle and applied against Argentine ant populations in 400 m2 field plots in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. A widely dispersed point source strategy for trail pheromone disruption was used. Traffic rates of ants in bioassays of treated filter paper, protected from rainfall and sunlight, indicated the presence of behaviorally significant quantities of pheromone being released from the formulation for up to 59 days. The proportion of plots, under trade wind conditions (2-3 m s-1), with visible trails was reduced for up to 14 days following treatment, and the number of foraging ants at randomly placed tuna-bait cards was similarly reduced. The success of these trail pheromone disruption trials in a natural ecosystem highlights the potential of this method for control of invasive ant species in this and other environments. ?? Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010.

  11. Trail pheromone disruption of Argentine ant trail formation and foraging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suckling, David Maxwell; Peck, Robert W; Stringer, Lloyd D; Snook, Kirsten; Banko, Paul C

    2010-01-01

    Trail pheromone disruption of invasive ants is a novel tactic that builds on the development of pheromone-based pest management in other insects. Argentine ant trail pheromone, (Z)-9-hexadecenal, was formulated as a micro-encapsulated sprayable particle and applied against Argentine ant populations in 400 m2 field plots in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. A widely dispersed point source strategy for trail pheromone disruption was used. Traffic rates of ants in bioassays of treated filter paper, protected from rainfall and sunlight, indicated the presence of behaviorally significant quantities of pheromone being released from the formulation for up to 59 days. The proportion of plots, under trade wind conditions (2–3 m s−1), with visible trails was reduced for up to 14 days following treatment, and the number of foraging ants at randomly placed tuna-bait cards was similarly reduced. The success of these trail pheromone disruption trials in a natural ecosystem highlights the potential of this method for control of invasive ant species in this and other environments.

  12. Ante la ley

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kafka Franz

    1999-12-01

    Full Text Available Ante las puertas de la ley hay un guardian. Un campesino se llega hasta ese guardian y le pide que le permita entra en la ley, pero el guardian le dice que por ahora no se lo puede permitir. El hombre reflexiona y entonces pregunta si podria entrar despues. Es posible -dice el guardian-; pero no ahora. La puerta de entrada a la ley esta abierta como siempre.

  13. [Pathogenic bacteria dissemination by ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in two hospitals in northeast Brazil].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fontana, Renato; Wetler, Rita M da C; Aquino, Renata S S; Andrioli, João L; Queiroz, Guilherme R G; Ferreira, Sônia L; Nascimento, Ivan C do; Delabie, Jacques H C

    2010-01-01

    Nosocomial infections bring a high risk to the health of hospital patients and employees. Ants are common organisms in Brazilian hospitals, where they can act as dispersers of opportunistic microorganisms in places they forage. The occurrence of multi-resistant bacteria carried by ants was analyzed in two public hospitals (HA and HB) in southeastern Bahia, Brazil. In these two hospitals 132 workers belonging to three ant species were collected. The bacteria associated to these ants were identified and their susceptibility to antibiotics was evaluated. More than half (57.3%) of ants collected in HA were associated with some kind of bacteria, with 26.7% of them being opportunist bacteria, while 84,2% of the ants from HB presented associated bacteria growth, with 61.4% of them being opportunist bacteria. Twenty four species of bacteria were isolated. The Gram-positive bacilli of the genus Bacillus were the most frequent, followed by the Gram-positive cocci, Gram-negative bacilli (family Enterobacteriaceae) and Gram-negative non-fermenters bacilli. The profile of sensitivity of the bacterial isolates to drugs pointed out the existence of multi-resistant isolates carried by ants. For the first time, are reported cases of the same bacterial resistant isolates taken form homospecific ant workers that point out the importance of ants to bacteria dissemination and proliferation in a hospital. Our results suggest that the risk of contamination presented by these ants is similar to the one of any other mechanical vector of bacterial dissemination.

  14. Effects of an alien ant invasion on abundance, behavior, and reproductive success of endemic island birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, Naomi E; O'Dowd, Dennis J; Green, Peter T; Nally, Ralph Mac

    2008-10-01

    Biological invaders can reconfigure ecological networks in communities, which changes community structure, composition, and ecosystem function. We investigated whether impacts caused by the introduced yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes), a pantropical invader rapidly expanding its range, extend to higher-order consumers by comparing counts, behaviors, and nesting success of endemic forest birds in ant-invaded and uninvaded rainforest on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). Point counts and direct behavioral observations showed that ant invasion altered abundances and behaviors of the bird species we examined: the Island Thrush (Turdus poliocephalus erythropleurus), Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica natalis), and Christmas Island White-eye (Zosterops natalis). The thrush, which frequents the forest floor, altered its foraging and reproductive behaviors in ant-invaded forest, where nest-site location changed, and nest success and juvenile counts were lower. Counts of the dove, which forages exclusively on the forest floor, were 9-14 times lower in ant-invaded forest. In contrast, counts and foraging success of the white-eye, a generalist feeder in the understory and canopy, were higher in ant-invaded forest, where mutualism between the ant and honeydew-secreting scale insects increased the abundance of scale-insect prey. These complex outcomes involved the interplay of direct interference by ants and altered resource availability and habitat structure caused indirectly by ant invasion. Ecological meltdown, rapidly unleashed by ant invasion, extended to these endemic forest birds and may affect key ecosystem processes, including seed dispersal.

  15. Distributed nestmate recognition in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esponda, Fernando; Gordon, Deborah M

    2015-05-07

    We propose a distributed model of nestmate recognition, analogous to the one used by the vertebrate immune system, in which colony response results from the diverse reactions of many ants. The model describes how individual behaviour produces colony response to non-nestmates. No single ant knows the odour identity of the colony. Instead, colony identity is defined collectively by all the ants in the colony. Each ant responds to the odour of other ants by reference to its own unique decision boundary, which is a result of its experience of encounters with other ants. Each ant thus recognizes a particular set of chemical profiles as being those of non-nestmates. This model predicts, as experimental results have shown, that the outcome of behavioural assays is likely to be variable, that it depends on the number of ants tested, that response to non-nestmates changes over time and that it changes in response to the experience of individual ants. A distributed system allows a colony to identify non-nestmates without requiring that all individuals have the same complete information and helps to facilitate the tracking of changes in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, because only a subset of ants must respond to provide an adequate response.

  16. "Ant-egg" cataract revisited.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clemmensen, Kåre; Enghild, Jan J; Ivarsen, Anders; Riise, Ruth; Vorum, Henrik; Heegaard, Steffen

    2017-01-01

    Hereditary congenital cataract varies immensely concerning location and form of the lens opacities. A specific and very rare phenotype is called "ant-egg" cataract first described in 1900. "Ant-eggs" have previously been examined using light microscopy, backscattered electron imaging and X-ray scans and electron microscopy. The purpose of this study was to further characterize "ant-egg" cataract using modern technology and display the history of the "ant-eggs" after cataract extraction. "Ant-eggs" were examined using Heidelberg SPECTRALIS Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)(Heidelberg Engineering, Heidelberg, Germany). Ten "ant-eggs" were extracted; four of these as well as control tissue were analyzed by mass spectrometry (AB Sciex). Proteins were identified and their approximate abundances were determined. Immunohistochemical staining was carried out on the remaining "ant-eggs" for cytokeratin and S100. In anterior OCT-images, the "ant-egg" structures are localized on the iris. Comparative pictures showed that they stayed in the same location for more than 45 years. Mass spectrometry of "ant-eggs" yielded a proteome of 56 different proteins. Eighteen of the 56 "ant-egg" proteins (32 %) were neither present in our controls nor in a known fetal lens proteome. Among these were cytokeratin and Matrix-Gla protein. Immunohistochemical reactions were positive for cytokeratin and S100. This study demonstrates the previously unknown protein composition of the "ant-egg" structures in "ant-egg" cataract. Eighteen of these proteins are not natively found in the human lens. Moreover, "ant-eggs" do not vary over time, after cataract extraction, regarding size and location.

  17. Historic changes in fish assemblage structure in midwestern nonwadeable rivers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parks, Timothy P.; Quist, Michael C.; Pierce, Clay L.

    2014-01-01

    Historical change in fish assemblage structure was evaluated in the mainstems of the Des Moines, Iowa, Cedar, Wapsipinicon, and Maquoketa rivers, in Iowa. Fish occurrence data were compared in each river between historical and recent time periods to characterize temporal changes among 126 species distributions and assess spatiotemporal patterns in faunal similarity. A resampling procedure was used to estimate species occurrences in rivers during each assessment period and changes in species occurrence were summarized. Spatiotemporal shifts in species composition were analyzed at the river and river section scale using cluster analysis, pairwise Jaccard's dissimilarities, and analysis of multivariate beta dispersion. The majority of species exhibited either increases or declines in distribution in all rivers with the exception of several “unknown” or inconclusive trends exhibited by species in the Maquoketa River. Cluster analysis identified temporal patterns of similarity among fish assemblages in the Des Moines, Cedar, and Iowa rivers within the historical and recent assessment period indicating a significant change in species composition. Prominent declines of backwater species with phytophilic spawning strategies contributed to assemblage changes occurring across river systems.

  18. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sylvia Cremer

    Full Text Available It is unclear why some species become successful invaders whilst others fail, and whether invasive success depends on pre-adaptations already present in the native range or on characters evolving de-novo after introduction. Ants are among the worst invasive pests, with Lasius neglectus and its rapid spread through Europe and Asia as the most recent example of a pest ant that may become a global problem. Here, we present the first integrated study on behavior, morphology, population genetics, chemical recognition and parasite load of L. neglectus and its non-invasive sister species L. turcicus. We find that L. neglectus expresses the same supercolonial syndrome as other invasive ants, a social system that is characterized by mating without dispersal and large networks of cooperating nests rather than smaller mutually hostile colonies. We conclude that the invasive success of L. neglectus relies on a combination of parasite-release following introduction and pre-adaptations in mating system, body-size, queen number and recognition efficiency that evolved long before introduction. Our results challenge the notion that supercolonial organization is an inevitable consequence of low genetic variation for chemical recognition cues in small invasive founder populations. We infer that low variation and limited volatility in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles already existed in the native range in combination with low dispersal and a highly viscous population structure. Human transport to relatively disturbed urban areas thus became the decisive factor to induce parasite release, a well established general promoter of invasiveness in non-social animals and plants, but understudied in invasive social insects.

  19. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cremer, Sylvia; Ugelvig, Line V; Drijfhout, Falko P; Schlick-Steiner, Birgit C; Steiner, Florian M; Seifert, Bernhard; Hughes, David P; Schulz, Andreas; Petersen, Klaus S; Konrad, Heino; Stauffer, Christian; Kiran, Kadri; Espadaler, Xavier; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Aktaç, Nihat; Eilenberg, Jørgen; Jones, Graeme R; Nash, David R; Pedersen, Jes S; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2008-01-01

    It is unclear why some species become successful invaders whilst others fail, and whether invasive success depends on pre-adaptations already present in the native range or on characters evolving de-novo after introduction. Ants are among the worst invasive pests, with Lasius neglectus and its rapid spread through Europe and Asia as the most recent example of a pest ant that may become a global problem. Here, we present the first integrated study on behavior, morphology, population genetics, chemical recognition and parasite load of L. neglectus and its non-invasive sister species L. turcicus. We find that L. neglectus expresses the same supercolonial syndrome as other invasive ants, a social system that is characterized by mating without dispersal and large networks of cooperating nests rather than smaller mutually hostile colonies. We conclude that the invasive success of L. neglectus relies on a combination of parasite-release following introduction and pre-adaptations in mating system, body-size, queen number and recognition efficiency that evolved long before introduction. Our results challenge the notion that supercolonial organization is an inevitable consequence of low genetic variation for chemical recognition cues in small invasive founder populations. We infer that low variation and limited volatility in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles already existed in the native range in combination with low dispersal and a highly viscous population structure. Human transport to relatively disturbed urban areas thus became the decisive factor to induce parasite release, a well established general promoter of invasiveness in non-social animals and plants, but understudied in invasive social insects.

  20. A checklist of epigaeic ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae from the Marakele National Park, Limpopo, South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Colin S. Schoeman

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Ant surveys are extensively used to guide conservation decisions and form part of a ‘shopping basket’ of invertebrate taxa proposed for the use in monitoring programmes in South Africa’s national parks. However, very few ant inventories exist for these conservation areas. We report on the first quantitative survey of ants in the Marakele National Park (67 000 ha. Ants were sampled in four habitats, covering both the altitudinal range (1000 m a.s.l. – 2000 m a.s.l. and three vegetation types in the park. A total of 4847 specimens, representing 29 genera and 104 species, were recorded from pitfall traps over a five-day period. Myrmicinae was the most abundant and diverse subfamily, representing 82% of all ants sampled, followed by the Formicinae subfamily, which represented 18% of the total abundance. The most abundant species were members of the Pheidole megacephala group, Pheidole sculpturata Mayr and members of the Monomorium salomonis group. In general, we found that the less complex habitats supported higher ant diversity. The Marakele National Park contains a quarter of the ant species recorded in South Africa and is a potential hotspot for invertebrate conservation. Conservation implications: The Marakele National Park represents an area of high ant – and therefore invertebrate – diversity. Ant conservation would require attention to each of the vegetation types to maintain complementarity (beta diversity of the assemblages as well as consideration to the impact of large herbivores, whose presence positively influence ant richness at a site (alpha diversity.

  1. Adaptive Radiation in Socially Advanced Stem-Group Ants from the Cretaceous.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barden, Phillip; Grimaldi, David A

    2016-02-22

    Across terrestrial ecosystems, modern ants are ubiquitous. As many as 94 out of every 100 individual arthropods in rainforests are ants, and they constitute up to 15% of animal biomass in the Amazon. Moreover, ants are pervasive agents of natural selection as over 10,000 arthropod species are specialized inquilines or myrmecomorphs living among ants or defending themselves through mimicry. Such impact is traditionally explained by sociality: ants are the first major group of ground-dwelling predatory insects to become eusocial, increasing efficiency of tasks and establishing competitive superiority over solitary species. A wealth of specimens from rich deposits of 99 million-year-old Burmese amber resolves ambiguity regarding sociality and diversity in the earliest ants. The stem-group genus Gerontoformica maintained distinct reproductive castes including morphotypes unknown in solitary aculeate (stinging) wasps, providing insight into early behavior. We present rare aggregations of workers, indicating group recruitment as well as an instance of interspecific combat; such aggression is a social feature of modern ants. Two species and an unusual new genus are described, further expanding the remarkable diversity of early ants. Stem-group ants are recovered as a paraphyletic assemblage at the base of modern lineages varying greatly in size, form, and mouthpart structure, interpreted here as an adaptive radiation. Though Cretaceous stem-group ants were eusocial and adaptively diverse, we hypothesize that their extinction resulted from the rise of competitively superior crown-group taxa that today form massive colonies, consistent with Wilson and Hölldobler's concept of "dynastic succession."

  2. Ants have a negative rather than a positive effect on extrafloral nectaried Crotalaria pallida performance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pereira, Marcela Fernandes; Trigo, José Roberto

    2013-08-01

    Crotalaria pallida (Fabaceae) is a pantropical plant with extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) near the reproductive structures. EFN-visiting ants attack and remove arctiid moth Utetheisa ornatrix larvae, the main pre-dispersal seed predator, but the impact of ants on C. pallida fitness is unknown. To assess this impact, we controlled ant presence on plants and evaluated the reproductive output of C. pallida with and without ants. Predatory wasps also visit EFNs, prey upon U. ornatrix larvae, and may be driven out by ants during EFN feeding. Does this agonistic interaction affect the multitrophic interaction outcome? We found it difficult to evaluate the effect of both visitors because cages excluding wasps affect plant growth and do not allow U. ornatrix oviposition. Therefore, we verified whether ant presence inhibited wasp EFN visitation and predicted that (1) if ants confer a benefit for C. pallida, any negative effect of ants on wasps would be negligible for the plant because ants would be the best guardians, and (2) if ants are poor guardians, they would negatively affect wasps and negatively impact the fitness of C. pallida. Surprisingly, we found that the number of seeds/pods significantly increased, ca. 4.7 times, after ant removal. Additionally, we unexpectedly verified that controls showed a higher percentage of herbivore bored pods than ant-excluded plants. We found that wasps spent less time visiting EFNs patrolled by ants (ca. 299 s less). These results support our second prediction and suggest that the outcome of multitrophic interactions may vary with natural enemy actors.

  3. Combining distances of ballistic and myrmecochorous seed dispersal in Adriana quadripartita (Euphorbiaceae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beaumont, Kieren P.; Mackay, Duncan A.; Whalen, Molly A.

    2009-05-01

    The separate contributions of different vectors to net seed dispersal curves of diplochorous systems have rarely been characterised. In Australia, myrmecochory is a common seed dispersal syndrome and in the majority of such systems, seeds are initially dispersed ballistically. We measured ballistic and myrmecochorous seed dispersal distances in relation to canopies of Adriana quadripartita (Euphorbiaceae) and used a simulation model to estimate the net dispersal curve. We also compared seed removal rates and ant abundances under, and outside, plant canopies to examine how foraging patterns by ants may affect net dispersal. Overall ant abundance did not show a significant numerical response to seedfall; however, the abundance of the main seed dispersing ant, Rhytidoponera 'metallica' did. Despite this, seed removal rates did not differ significantly between canopy and open locations. Rhytidoponera 'metallica' account for 93% of observed seed dispersal events. On average, the ants dispersed seeds 1.54 m and in doing so, moved seed a mean radial distance of 0.76 m away from canopy edges. This contribution to net dispersal distance by ants is considerable since ballistic dispersal moved seeds a median distance of 7.5 cm. Our simulation model indicated that the combination of ballistic and ant seed dispersal is expected to result in seeds being transported a median net radial dispersal distance of 1.05 m from the canopy edge. Thus in this system, an important function of diplochory may simply be to move a higher proportion of seeds from under the canopy of parent plants than is possible by ballistic dispersal alone. This 'dispersal-for-distance' may result in reduced parent-offspring competition or may increase the probability that seeds reach rare safe sites for germination and recruitment.

  4. Ant Abundance along a Productivity Gradient: Addressing Two Conflicting Hypotheses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Segev, Udi; Kigel, Jaime; Lubin, Yael; Tielbörger, Katja

    2015-01-01

    The number of individuals within a population or community and their body size can be associated with changes in resource supply. While these relationships may provide a key to better understand the role of abiotic vs. biotic constraints in animal communities, little is known about the way size and abundance of organisms change along resource gradients. Here, we studied this interplay in ants, addressing two hypotheses with opposite predictions regarding variation in population densities along resource gradients- the ‘productivity hypothesis’ and the ‘productivity-based thinning hypothesis’. The hypotheses were tested in two functional groups of ground-dwelling ants that are directly primary consumers feeding on seeds: specialized seed-eaters and generalist species. We examined variations in colony density and foraging activity (a size measurement of the forager caste) in six ant assemblages along a steep productivity gradient in a semi-arid region, where precipitation and plant biomass vary 6-fold over a distance of 250km. An increase in the density or foraging activity of ant colonies along productivity gradients is also likely to affect competitive interactions among colonies, and consequently clinal changes in competition intensity were also examined. Ant foraging activity increased with productivity for both functional groups. However, colony density revealed opposing patterns: it increased with productivity for the specialized seed-eaters, but decreased for the generalist species. Competition intensity, evaluated by spatial partitioning of species at food baits and distribution of colonies, was uncorrelated with productivity in the specialized seed-eaters, but decreased with increasing productivity in the generalists. Our results provide support for two contrasting hypotheses regarding the effect of resource availability on the abundance of colonial organisms- the ‘productivity hypothesis’ for specialized seed-eaters and the

  5. The scales of variability of stream fish assemblage at tributary confluences

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    István Czeglédi

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Tributary confluences play an important role in the dispersal of organisms, and consequently, in shaping regional scale diversity in stream networks. Despite their importance in dispersal processes, little is known about how ecological assemblages are organized in these habitats. We studied the scales of variability of stream fish assemblages over three seasons using a hierarchical sampling design, which incorporated three tributaries, three sites at the mouth of each tributary and using four sampling units at each site. We found strong scale dependent variability in species richness, composition and relative abundance. Most of the variation was accounted for by the interactive effect of season, between stream and between site effects, while habitat structure of the sampling units had a relatively minor role. Species richness showed a continuous decrease from the mainstem river in most cases, while species composition and relative abundance changed less consistently along the longitudinal profile. Consequently, we found that not only the junctions presented a strong filter on the species pool, but some species were filtered out if they passed this critical habitat bottleneck. Spatial position of the tributaries along the river also contributed to assemblage variability in the confluences. Overall, our results suggest high variability in fish assemblages across multiple scales at tributary confluences. Environmental management should take a more critical care on the filtering role of tributary confluences in species dispersal, for better understanding patterns and processes in the branches of dendritic stream networks.

  6. Temperature: Human Regulating, Ants Conforming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clopton, Joe R.

    2007-01-01

    Biological processes speed up as temperature rises. Procedures for demonstrating this with ants traveling on trails, and data gathered by students on the Argentine ant ("Linepithema humile") are presented. The concepts of temperature regulation and conformity are detailed with a focus on the processes rather than on terms that label the organisms.

  7. The metapleural gland of ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yek, Sze Huei; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2011-11-01

    The metapleural gland (MG) is a complex glandular structure unique to ants, suggesting a critical role in their origin and ecological success. We synthesize the current understanding of the adaptive function, morphology, evolutionary history, and chemical properties of the MG. Two functions of the MG, sanitation and chemical defence, have received the strongest empirical support; two additional possible functions, recognition odour and territorial marking, are less well supported. The design of the MG is unusual for insects; glandular secretions are stored in a rigid, non-compressible invagination of the integument and the secretion is thought to ooze out passively through the non-closable opening of the MG or is groomed off by the legs and applied to target surfaces. MG loss has occurred repeatedly among the ants, particularly in the subfamilies Formicinae and Myrmicinae, and the MG is more commonly absent in males than in workers. MG chemistry has been characterized mostly in derived ant lineages with unique biologies (e.g. leafcutter ants, fire ants), currently precluding any inferences about MG chemistry at the origin of the ants. A synthetic approach integrating functional morphology, phylogenetic transitions and chemical ecology of the MGs of both the derived and the unstudied early-branching (basal) ant lineages is needed to elucidate the evolutionary origin and diversification of the MG of ants.

  8. Temperature: Human Regulating, Ants Conforming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clopton, Joe R.

    2007-01-01

    Biological processes speed up as temperature rises. Procedures for demonstrating this with ants traveling on trails, and data gathered by students on the Argentine ant ("Linepithema humile") are presented. The concepts of temperature regulation and conformity are detailed with a focus on the processes rather than on terms that label the organisms.

  9. Invasive ants of Bermuda revisited

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James K. Wetterer

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available For 60+ years, two of the world’s most widespread and destructive invasive ant species, the African big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala from tropical Africa and the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile from subtropical South America, have been engaged in an epic battle on the islands of Bermuda. Both species are completely intolerant of the other and are also well-known for killing off native invertebrates, particularly other ants. Here I surveyed sites across Bermuda in 2016, including resurveys of the locations previously surveyed in 1963, 1966, 1973, 1986, and 2002, to provide an update on this conflict. The status of all other ant species present in the islands, including previous records from literature, is also provided. In addition, I surveyed ants nesting in red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle trees to evaluate whether this arboreal habitat may serve as a refuge for previously overlooked ant species. In 2016, L. humile occurred at most surveyed sites in Bermuda, including all ten resurveyed sites. Pheidole megacephala was present at only two resurveyed sites, a lower proportion of sites than any of the five earlier surveys. Still, P. megacephala occupied substantial areas, particularly in and around Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda. This survey increased the number of ant species with verified records from Bermuda to 25, including four exotic species recorded for the first time: Cardiocondyla minutior, Pheidole navigans, Strumigenys emmae, and Strumigenys membranifera. I found five ant species nesting in mangroves: L. humile plus four Old World exotics, C. minutior, Cardiocondyla obscurior, Monomorium floricola, and Plagiolepis alluaudi. It appears that L. humile may be better suited to the subtropical climate of Bermuda than P. megacephala, except perhaps in warmer and sunnier habitats, such as plantings along urban streets and in open parks, where P. megacephala may hold the advantage. The dataset on the new ant records from 2016 is

  10. Hospitales seguros ante desastres

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Celso Vladimir Bambaren Alatrista

    2007-07-01

    Full Text Available Entre 1982 a 2005 se registraron daños en 1 143 establecimientos de salud en el Perú, generalmente debido a sismos, lluvias e inundaciones. Los daños en los servicios de salud producen la interrupción de la atención de la población y de los programas de salud, así como generan un gran gasto para la rehabilitación y reconstrucción. Por ello, se requiere proteger a los establecimientos de salud y desarrollar una política de hospitales seguros ante desastres que incluya medidas para prevenir o reducción de la vulnerabilidad estructural, no estructural y funcional en los nuevos establecimientos y en los existentes.(Rev Med Hered 2007;18:149-154.

  11. An inventory of epigeal ants of the western Soutpansberg Mountain Range, South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thinandavha C. Munyai

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The distribution, abundance and sensitivity invertebrates to habitat change are largely unknown. Long-term monitoring of ecological gradients with standardised and comparable protocols can form the basis of a better understanding. Altitudinal gradients are particularly relevant within this context. Here we provide a check list and baseline data for ant species collected over a 5-year period across the Soutpansberg Mountain Range, South Africa. Standardised pitfall surveys across 11 sites yielded a total of 133 species in 38 genera and 6 subfamilies. Sample coverage of epigeal ants was 0.98 for the transect as a whole. Of these species, 21% were restricted to the southern slope of the mountain and 14% to the northern slope. Extrapolated richness estimates reached an asymptote for all, except for three sites. These were the only sites impacted by bush encroachment. Observed richness was the highest at a low-altitude mesic site that is exposed to considerable disturbance by megaherbivores and mechanical clearing of woody vegetation. Structural classification of vegetation was predictive of a broad-scale ant assemblage structure. On a smaller scale, however, structure was a function of elevation, space and temperature.Conservation implications: Future monitoring should target indicator taxa associated with bush encroachment, particularly with reference to their impacts on grasslands. Bush encroachment could endanger several ant species associated with mesic grasslands and woodlands on the mountain, as well as ant diversity, as these were the habitats with the highest ant diversity.

  12. FORMIDABEL: The Belgian Ants Database.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brosens, Dimitri; Vankerkhoven, François; Ignace, David; Wegnez, Philippe; Noé, Nicolas; Heughebaert, André; Bortels, Jeannine; Dekoninck, Wouter

    2013-01-01

    FORMIDABEL is a database of Belgian Ants containing more than 27.000 occurrence records. These records originate from collections, field sampling and literature. The database gives information on 76 native and 9 introduced ant species found in Belgium. The collection records originated mainly from the ants collection in Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), the 'Gaspar' Ants collection in Gembloux and the zoological collection of the University of Liège (ULG). The oldest occurrences date back from May 1866, the most recent refer to August 2012. FORMIDABEL is a work in progress and the database is updated twice a year. THE LATEST VERSION OF THE DATASET IS PUBLICLY AND FREELY ACCESSIBLE THROUGH THIS URL: http://ipt.biodiversity.be/resource.do?r=formidabel. The dataset is also retrievable via the GBIF data portal through this link: http://data.gbif.org/datasets/resource/14697 A dedicated geo-portal, developed by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform is accessible at: http://www.formicidae-atlas.be FORMIDABEL is a joint cooperation of the Flemish ants working group "Polyergus" (http://formicidae.be) and the Wallonian ants working group "FourmisWalBru" (http://fourmiswalbru.be). The original database was created in 2002 in the context of the preliminary red data book of Flemish Ants (Dekoninck et al. 2003). Later, in 2005, data from the Southern part of Belgium; Wallonia and Brussels were added. In 2012 this dataset was again updated for the creation of the first Belgian Ants Atlas (Figure 1) (Dekoninck et al. 2012). The main purpose of this atlas was to generate maps for all outdoor-living ant species in Belgium using an overlay of the standard Belgian ecoregions. By using this overlay for most species, we can discern a clear and often restricted distribution pattern in Belgium, mainly based on vegetation and soil types.

  13. Runtime analysis of the 1-ANT ant colony optimizer

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Doerr, Benjamin; Neumann, Frank; Sudholt, Dirk

    2011-01-01

    The runtime analysis of randomized search heuristics is a growing field where, in the last two decades, many rigorous results have been obtained. First runtime analyses of ant colony optimization (ACO) have been conducted only recently. In these studies simple ACO algorithms such as the 1-ANT...... are investigated. The influence of the evaporation factor in the pheromone update mechanism and the robustness of this parameter w.r.t. the runtime behavior have been determined for the example function OneMax.This work puts forward the rigorous runtime analysis of the 1-ANT on the example functions Leading......Ones and BinVal. With respect to Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs), such analyses were essential to develop methods for the analysis on more complicated problems. The proof techniques required for the 1-ANT, unfortunately, differ significantly from those for EAs, which means that a new reservoir of methods has...

  14. Busy Nights: High Seed Dispersal by Crickets in a Neotropical Forest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santana, Flávia Delgado; Baccaro, Fabricio Beggiato; Costa, Flávia Regina Capellotto

    2016-11-01

    Among invertebrates, ants are the most abundant and probably most important seed dispersers in both temperate and tropical environments. Crickets, also abundant in tropical forests, are omnivores and commonly attracted to fruits on the forest floor. However, their capability to remove seeds has been reported only once. We compared Marantaceae seed removal by crickets and ants to assess the role of crickets as secondary seed dispersers in Amazonia. Compared with ants, crickets dispersed an equivalent number of seeds and tended to disperse larger seeds farther. However, seed removal by crickets occurs mostly at night, suggesting that removal of arillate seeds by crickets on the tropical forest floor is probably being overlooked or wrongly attributed to other invertebrate groups. One potential consequence of seed dispersal by crickets may be a change in the local spatial distribution of arillate-seed species, due to lower aggregation around ant nests.

  15. Pest repelling properties of ant pheromones

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2014-01-01

    Ants control pests via predation and physical deterrence; however, ant communication is based on chemical cues which may serve as warning signals to potential prey and other intruders. The presence of ant pheromones may, thus, be sufficient to repel pests from ant territories. This mini...

  16. Diversity and biogeography of bacterial assemblages in surface sediments across the San Pedro Basin, Southern California Borderlands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hewson, Ian; Jacobson Meyers, Myrna E; Fuhrman, Jed A

    2007-04-01

    Sediment bacteria play important roles in the biogeochemistry of ocean sediments; however, factors influencing assemblage composition have not been extensively studied. We examined extractable sediment bacterial abundance, the composition of bacterial assemblages using a high-throughput molecular fingerprinting approach, and several sediment biogeochemical parameters (organic matter content and alkaline phosphatase activity), along a 35 km transect from Point Fermin, Southern California, to Santa Catalina Island, across the approximately 900-m-deep San Pedro Basin. Automated rRNA intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) demonstrated that in two spatially isolated shallow (approximately < 60 m, on opposite sides of the channel) sediment environments, assemblages were more similar to each other than to deeper communities. Distinct communities existed in deeper and shallower sediments, and stations within the deep basin over 2 km apart contained remarkably similar assemblage fingerprints. The relative contribution to total amplified DNA fluorescence of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) was significantly correlated to that of other OTUs in few comparisons (2.7% of total), i.e. few bacterial types were found together or apart consistently. The relative proportions within assemblages of only a few OTU were significantly correlated to measured physicochemical parameters (organic matter content and wet/dry weight ratio of sediments) or enzyme (alkaline phosphatase) activities. A low percentage of shared OTU between shallow and deep sediments, and the presence of similar, but spatially isolated assemblages suggests that bacterial OTU may be widely dispersed over scales of a few kilometres, but that environmental conditions select for particular assemblages.

  17. Indirect effects of alternative food resources in an ant-plant interaction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boulay, R; Fedriani, J M; Manzaneda, A J; Cerdá, X

    2005-06-01

    The seeds of many plant species present a food body that is consumed by animal dispersers. In theory, if the animals are polyphagous, the availability of alternative food resource other than the diaspore itself may influence its dispersal and survival. We used the myrmecochore Helleborus foetidus L. (Ranunculaceae), the seeds of which are attached to a lipid-rich elaiosome that is attractive to ants, as a model system to investigate (1) whether alternative foods that are present along with the plant affect ant foraging behavior and diaspore removal and (2) whether food availability in an ant nest affects seed predation and germination. In a field experiment, artificial diaspore depots were offered together with either sugar, insect corpses, seed, or no food (control). Contrary to the prediction that ants would rather concentrate their foraging effort on the highly rewarding alternative foods only, many workers, attracted by the sugar, switched to the hellebore diaspores, which significantly enhanced removal rate. Results obtained in the laboratory further indicated that the larvae of Aphaenogaster iberica (a major seed disperser) predated more on the H. foetidus embryos when no alternative food was available. This, in turn, slightly reduced seed germination. Overall, these results shed light, for the first time, on the potential indirect effects of alternative resources on the fate of diaspores adapted for ant dispersal.

  18. Fish assemblages in southern California kelp forests.

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This is a point file of fish assemblages calculated from diver surveys in kelp forests in Southern California. Visual census data was combined for two separate...

  19. Predictions of mineral assemblages in planetary interiors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stolper, E.

    1980-01-01

    It is shown that mineral compatibilities in the model system CaO-MgO-Al2O3-SiO2 can be applied to deduce the mineral assemblages expected in planetary interiors and their variation with depth. In general, the available estimates of bulk composition of the terrestrial planets suggest that the terrestrial planets can be divided into two groups based on their predicted mineral assemblages. The terrestrial, Venusian, and lunar bulk compositions are expected to display the following sequence of mineral assemblages with increasing pressure: plagioclase lherzolite, spinel lherzolite, and garnet lherzolite. The sequences expected in Martian and Mercurian are different: spinel-plagioclase wehrlite, spinel lherzolite, and spinel-garnet wehrlite. These assemblages have a major influence on the compositions of liquids produced by melting of these planetary interiors, on the solidus temperatures, and thus on the nature of planetary differentiation and the types of magmas extruded at planetary surfaces.

  20. Giardia duodenalis genetic assemblages and hosts

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Heyworth Martin F.

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Techniques for sub-classifying morphologically identical Giardia duodenalis trophozoites have included comparisons of the electrophoretic mobility of enzymes and of chromosomes, and sequencing of genes encoding β-giardin, triose phosphate isomerase, the small subunit of ribosomal RNA and glutamate dehydrogenase. To date, G. duodenalis organisms have been sub-classified into eight genetic assemblages (designated A–H. Genotyping of G. duodenalis organisms isolated from various hosts has shown that assemblages A and B infect the largest range of host species, and appear to be the main (or possibly only G. duodenalis assemblages that undeniably infect human subjects. In at least some cases of assemblage A or B infection in wild mammals, there is suggestive evidence that the infection had resulted from environmental contamination by G. duodenalis cysts of human origin.

  1. Species richness and trait composition of butterfly assemblages change along an altitudinal gradient.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leingärtner, Annette; Krauss, Jochen; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2014-06-01

    Species richness patterns along altitudinal gradients are well-documented ecological phenomena, yet very little data are available on how environmental filtering processes influence the composition and traits of butterfly assemblages at high altitudes. We have studied the diversity patterns of butterfly species at 34 sites along an altitudinal gradient ranging from 600 to 2,000 m a.s.l. in the National Park Berchtesgaden (Germany) and analysed traits of butterfly assemblages associated with dispersal capacity, reproductive strategies and developmental time from lowlands to highlands, including phylogenetic analyses. We found a linear decline in butterfly species richness along the altitudinal gradient, but the phylogenetic relatedness of the butterfly assemblages did not increase with altitude. Compared to butterfly assemblages at lower altitudes, those at higher altitudes were composed of species with larger wings (on average 9%) which laid an average of 68% more eggs. In contrast, egg maturation time in butterfly assemblages decreased by about 22% along the altitudinal gradient. Further, butterfly assemblages at higher altitudes were increasingly dominated by less widespread species. Based on our abundance data, but not on data in the literature, population density increased with altitude, suggesting a reversed density-distribution relationship, with higher population densities of habitat specialists in harsh environments. In conclusion, our data provide evidence for significant shifts in the composition of butterfly assemblages and for the dominance of different traits along the altitudinal gradient. In our study, these changes were mainly driven by environmental factors, whereas phylogenetic filtering played a minor role along the studied altitudinal range.

  2. Pest repellent properties of ant pheromones

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2012-01-01

    Many ant species are efficient control agents against a wide range of pest insects in many crops. They control pest insects via predation; however, ant communication is based on chemical cues which may be eavesdropped by potential prey and serve as chemical warning signals. Thus, the presence...... of ant pheromones may be sufficient to repel pest insects from ant territories. The study of ant semiochemicals is in its infancy, yet, evidence for their potential use in pest management is starting to build up. Pheromones from four of five tested ant species have been shown to deter herbivorous insect...... prey and competing ant species are also deterred by ant deposits, whereas ant symbionts may be attracted to them. Based on these promising initial findings, it seems advisable to further elucidate the signaling properties of ant pheromones and to test and develop their use in future pest management....

  3. Ants Orase kultuurisõnum

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    2007-01-01

    26. jaanuaril toimub Tallinna Ülikooli Akadeemilises Raamatukogus seminar silmapaistvast Eesti teadlasest ja tõlkijast Ants Orasest. Esinevad kirjandusteadlased Tallinna Ülikoolist, Tartu Ülikoolist ja Eesti Kirjandusmuuseumist. Avaettekandeks on sõna Oklahoma Ülikooli professoril Vincent B. Leitchil, kes oli Ants Orase viimaseks juhendatavaks doktorandiks. Seminari korraldavad Tallinna Ülikool ja Eesti Kirjandusmuuseum. Vt ka Postimees, 26, jaan., lk. 18

  4. Long-term temporal variation in the organization of an ant-plant network.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Díaz-Castelazo, Cecilia; Sánchez-Galván, Ingrid R; Guimarães, Paulo R; Raimundo, Rafael L Galdini; Rico-Gray, Víctor

    2013-06-01

    Functional groups of species interact and coevolve in space and time, forming complex networks of interacting species. A long-term study of temporal variation of an ant-plant network is presented with the aims of: (1) depicting its structural changes over a 20-year period; (2) detailing temporal variation in network topology, as revealed by nestedness and modularity analysis and other parameters (i.e. connectance, niche overlap); and (3) identifying long-term turnover in taxonomic structure (i.e. switches in ant resource use or plant visitor assemblages according to taxa). Fieldwork was carried out at La Mancha, Mexico, and ant-plant interactions were observed between 1989 and 1991, between 1998 and 2000, and between May 2010 and 2011. Occurrences of ants on extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) were recorded. The resulting ant-plant networks were constructed from qualitative presence-absence data determined by a species-species matrix defined by the frequency of occurrence of each pairwise ant-plant interaction. Network variation across time was stable and a persistent nested structure may have contributed to the maintenance of resilient and species-rich communities. Modularity was lower than expected, especially in the most recent networks, indicating that the community exhibited high overlap among interacting species (e.g. few species were hubs in the more recent network, being partly responsible for the nested pattern). Structurally, the connections created among modules by super-generalists gave cohesion to subsets of species that otherwise would remain unconnected. This may have allowed an increasing cascade-effect of evolutionary events among modules. Mutualistic ant-plant interactions were structured 20 years ago mainly by the subdominant nectarivorous ant species Camponotus planatus and Crematogaster brevispinosa, which monopolized the best extrafloral nectar resources and out-competed other species with broader feeding habits. Through time, these ants, which are

  5. Dispersal and predation in alien Acacia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holmes, P M

    1990-06-01

    I investigated seed removal in the litter layer of alien Acacia stands at bimonthly intervals throughout one year. Both ants (dispersers) and rodents (predators) removed significant quantities of seeds and may compete for seeds in low density Acacia stands. Seed removal from depots was greatest prior to seed-fall (Sept.-Nov.) and lowest during seed-fall (Jan.-Mar.). As rodents may consume a large proportion of the annual seed production at low Acacia densities, I propose that ants have played a critical role in accumulating Acacia seed banks.

  6. Identifying potential evolutionary relationships within a facultative lycaenid-ant system: Ant association,oviposition, and butterfly-ant conflict

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    NEIL COLLIER

    2007-01-01

    Facultative associations are commonly encountered between ants and lycaenids,although the nature and patterns of associations are typically unclear. This study investigated a facultative symbiosis involving the lycaenid Theclinesthes albocincta (Lycaenidae), its host plant Adriana quadripartita and Australian native ants. Ants in the genera Ochetellus and Iridomyrmex were most frequently found in association with T. albocincta larvae,although Iridomyrmex ants were found in much lower abundance than were ants in Ochetellus. The abundances of Ochetellus and Iridomyrmex were highly correlated with larval abundance, but not egg abundance. Observations and experiments recorded oviposition on male inflorescences on more than 95% of occasions, but oviposition was not greater on inflorescences with ants present. Behavioral assays showed that Iridomyrmex ants were aggressive towards female butterflies on significantly more occasions than were Ochetellus ants. These findings indicate potential evolutionary relationships between T. albocincta and two genera of ants that were abundant within the habitat.

  7. Using Ants as bioindicators: Multiscale Issues in Ant Community Ecology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alan Andersen

    1997-06-01

    Full Text Available Ecological patterns and processes are characteristically scale dependent, and research findings often cannot be translated easily from one scale to another. Conservation biology is challenged by a lack of congruence between the spatial scales of ecological research (typically involving small plots and land management (typically involving whole landscapes. Here, I discuss spatial scaling issues as they relate to an understanding of ant communities and, consequently, their use as bioindicators in land management. Our perceptions of fundamental patterns and processes in ant communities depend on scale: taxa that are behaviorally dominant at one scale are not necessarily so at others, functional groups recognized at one scale are often inappropriate for others, and the role of competition in community structure depends on the scale of analysis. Patterns of species richness and composition, and the ability of total richness to be estimated by surrogates, are all also scale dependent. Ant community ecology has a tradition of detailed studies in small plots, but the use of ants as bioindicators requires a predictive understanding of community structure and dynamics at a range of spatial scales. Such an appreciation of ant communities and their most effective use as bioindicators is best served by studies integrating results from plot-scale research with the broad-scale paradigms of biogeography, systematics, and evolutionary biology.

  8. Invasive acacias experience higher ant seed removal rates at the invasion edges

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Montesinos

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Seed dispersal is a key process for the invasion of new areas by exotic species. Introduced plants often take advantage of native generalist dispersers. Australian acacias are primarily dispersed by ants in their native range and produce seeds bearing a protein and lipid rich reward for ant mutualists (elaiosome. Nevertheless, the role of myrmecochory in the expansion of Australian acacias in European invaded areas is still not clear. We selected one European population of Acacia dealbata and another of A. longifolia and offered elaiosome-bearing and elaiosome-removed seeds to local ant communities. For each species, seeds were offered both in high-density acacia stands and in low-density invasion edges. For both acacia species, seed removal was significantly higher at the low-density edges. For A. longifolia, manual elimination of elaiosomes reduced the chance of seed removal by 80% in the low-density edges, whereas it made no difference on the high-density stands. For A. dealbata, the absence of elaiosome reduced seed removal rate by 52%, independently of the acacia density. Our data suggests that invasive acacias have found effective ant seed dispersers in Europe and that the importance of such dispersers is higher at the invasion edges.

  9. Assessing the impact of deforestation of the Atlantic rainforest on ant-fruit interactions: a field experiment using synthetic fruits.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ana Gabriela D Bieber

    Full Text Available Ants frequently interact with fleshy fruits on the ground of tropical forests. This interaction is regarded as mutualistic because seeds benefit from enhanced germination and dispersal to nutrient-rich microsites, whereas ants benefit from consuming the nutritious pulp/aril. Considering that the process of deforestation affects many attributes of the ecosystem such as species abundance and composition, and interspecific interactions, we asked whether the interaction between ants and fallen fleshy fruits in the Brazilian Atlantic forest differs between human-created fragments and undisturbed forests. We controlled diaspore type and quantity by using synthetic fruits (a plastic 'seed' covered by a lipid-rich 'pulp', which were comparable to lipid-rich fruits. Eight independent areas (four undisturbed forests, and four disturbed forest fragments were used in the field experiment, in which we recorded the attracted ant species, ant behaviour, and fruit removal distance. Fruits in undisturbed forest sites attracted a higher number of species than those in disturbed forests. Moreover, the occurrence of large, fruit-carrying ponerine ants (Pachycondyla, Odontomachus; 1.1 to 1.4 cm was higher in undisturbed forests. Large species (≥3 mm of Pheidole (Myrmicinae, also able to remove fruits, did not differ between forest types. Following these changes in species occurrence, fruit displacement was more frequent in undisturbed than in disturbed forests. Moreover, displacement distances were also greater in the undisturbed forests. Our data suggest that fallen fleshy fruits interacting with ants face different fates depending on the conservation status of the forest. Together with the severe loss of their primary dispersers in human-disturbed tropical forest sites, vertebrate-dispersed fruits may also be deprived of potential ant-derived benefits in these habitats due to shifts in the composition of interacting ant species. Our data illustrate the use of

  10. Assessing the impact of deforestation of the Atlantic rainforest on ant-fruit interactions: a field experiment using synthetic fruits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bieber, Ana Gabriela D; Silva, Paulo S D; Sendoya, Sebastián F; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2014-01-01

    Ants frequently interact with fleshy fruits on the ground of tropical forests. This interaction is regarded as mutualistic because seeds benefit from enhanced germination and dispersal to nutrient-rich microsites, whereas ants benefit from consuming the nutritious pulp/aril. Considering that the process of deforestation affects many attributes of the ecosystem such as species abundance and composition, and interspecific interactions, we asked whether the interaction between ants and fallen fleshy fruits in the Brazilian Atlantic forest differs between human-created fragments and undisturbed forests. We controlled diaspore type and quantity by using synthetic fruits (a plastic 'seed' covered by a lipid-rich 'pulp'), which were comparable to lipid-rich fruits. Eight independent areas (four undisturbed forests, and four disturbed forest fragments) were used in the field experiment, in which we recorded the attracted ant species, ant behaviour, and fruit removal distance. Fruits in undisturbed forest sites attracted a higher number of species than those in disturbed forests. Moreover, the occurrence of large, fruit-carrying ponerine ants (Pachycondyla, Odontomachus; 1.1 to 1.4 cm) was higher in undisturbed forests. Large species (≥3 mm) of Pheidole (Myrmicinae), also able to remove fruits, did not differ between forest types. Following these changes in species occurrence, fruit displacement was more frequent in undisturbed than in disturbed forests. Moreover, displacement distances were also greater in the undisturbed forests. Our data suggest that fallen fleshy fruits interacting with ants face different fates depending on the conservation status of the forest. Together with the severe loss of their primary dispersers in human-disturbed tropical forest sites, vertebrate-dispersed fruits may also be deprived of potential ant-derived benefits in these habitats due to shifts in the composition of interacting ant species. Our data illustrate the use of synthetic fruits

  11. Dispersion Forces

    CERN Document Server

    Buhmann, Stefan Yoshi

    2012-01-01

    In this book, a modern unified theory of dispersion forces on atoms and bodies is presented which covers a broad range of advanced aspects and scenarios. Macroscopic quantum electrodynamics is shown to provide a powerful framework for dispersion forces which allows for discussing general properties like their non-additivity and the relation between microscopic and macroscopic interactions. It is demonstrated how the general results can be used to obtain dispersion forces on atoms in the presence of bodies of various shapes and materials. Starting with a brief recapitulation of volume I, this volume II deals especially with bodies of irregular shapes, universal scaling laws, dynamical forces on excited atoms, enhanced forces in cavity quantum electrodynamics, non-equilibrium forces in thermal environments and quantum friction. The book gives both the specialist and those new to the field a thorough overview over recent results in the field. It provides a toolbox for studying dispersion forces in various contex...

  12. New evidences supporting trophobiosis between populations of Edessa rufomarginata (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae and Camponotus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel Paiva Silva

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT Despite its important effect on the maintenance of tritrophic interactions among plants, insect herbivores, and ants, there is still a paucity of natural history and basic biology information involving trophobiosis among Heteroptera stink bugs. Here, based on previous observations of a new trophobiotic interaction between Edessa rufomarginata (De Geer, 1773 and Camponotus rufipes (Fabricius, 1775 ants, we describe the chemical profile of the honeydew obtained by Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry. There were mainly three different sugars (trehalose, glucose, and sorbose within our samples. The extrafloral nectaries of Caryocar brasiliense Camb., the host plant of E. rufomarginata, attracts a wide assemblage of Cerrado ants with varying aggressiveness toward herbivores. Therefore, this facultative trophobiotic interaction may allow the survival of the stink bug while feeding on the risky, highly ant-visited plant. Given the rarity of trophobiotic interactions between Pentatomidae species and ants and considering a zoological perspective within this family, here we discuss the ecological and evolutionary routes that may allow the rise of these interactions.

  13. A global database of ant species abundances

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gibb, Heloise; Dunn, Rob R; Sanders, Nathan J

    2016-01-01

    What forces structure ecological assemblages? A key limitation to general insights about assemblage structure is the availability of data that are collected at a small spatial grain (local assemblages) and a large spatial extent (global coverage). Here, we present published and unpublished data f...

  14. Macroevolutionary assembly of ant/plant symbioses: Pseudomyrmex ants and their ant-housing plants in the Neotropics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chomicki, Guillaume; Ward, Philip S; Renner, Susanne S

    2015-11-22

    Symbioses include some of the clearest cases of coevolution, but their origin, loss or reassembly with different partners can rarely be inferred. Here we use ant/plant symbioses involving three plant clades to investigate the evolution of symbioses. We generated phylogenies for the big-eyed arboreal ants (Pseudomyrmecinae), including 72% of their 286 species, as well as for five of their plant host groups, in each case sampling more than 61% of the species. We show that the ant-housing Vachellia (Mimosoideae) clade and its ants co-diversified for the past 5 Ma, with some species additionally colonized by younger plant-nesting ant species, some parasitic. An apparent co-radiation of ants and Tachigali (Caesalpinioideae) was followed by waves of colonization by the same ant clade, and subsequent occupation by a younger ant group. Wide crown and stem age differences between the ant-housing genus Triplaris (Polygonaceae) and its obligate ant inhabitants, and stochastic trait mapping, indicate that its domatium evolved earlier than the ants now occupying it, suggesting previous symbioses that dissolved. Parasitic ant species evolved from generalists, not from mutualists, and are younger than the mutualistic systems they parasitize. Our study illuminates the macroevolutionary assembly of ant/plant symbioses, which has been highly dynamic, even in very specialized systems. © 2015 The Author(s).

  15. The metapleural gland of ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Yek, Sze Huei; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2011-01-01

    The metapleural gland (MG) is a complex glandular structure unique to ants, suggesting a critical role in their origin and ecological success. We synthesize the current understanding of the adaptive function, morphology, evolutionary history, and chemical properties of the MG. Two functions...... of the MG, sanitation and chemical defence, have received the strongest empirical support; two additional possible functions, recognition odour and territorial marking, are less well supported. The design of the MG is unusual for insects; glandular secretions are stored in a rigid, non...... morphology, phylogenetic transitions and chemical ecology of the MGs of both the derived and the unstudied early-branching (basal) ant lineages is needed to elucidate the evolutionary origin and diversification of the MG of ants....

  16. Ants medicate to fight disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bos, Nick; Sundström, Liselotte; Fuchs, Siiri; Freitak, Dalial

    2015-11-01

    Parasites are ubiquitous, and the ability to defend against these is of paramount importance. One way to fight diseases is self-medication, which occurs when an organism consumes biologically active compounds to clear, inhibit, or alleviate disease symptoms. Here, we show for the first time that ants selectively consume harmful substances (reactive oxygen species, ROS) upon exposure to a fungal pathogen, yet avoid these in the absence of infection. This increased intake of ROS, while harmful to healthy ants, leads to higher survival of exposed ants. The fact that ingestion of this substance carries a fitness cost in the absence of pathogens rules out compensatory diet choice as the mechanism, and provides evidence that social insects medicate themselves against fungal infection, using a substance that carries a fitness cost to uninfected individuals.

  17. Range expansion induces variation in a behavioural trait in an ant-plant mutualism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vittecoq, Marion; Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; McKey, Doyle; Blatrix, Rumsaïs

    2012-01-01

    Climate oscillations produce dramatic changes in species distribution, even in the tropics. The ant-plant Leonardoxa africana africana hosts and feeds the ant Petalomyrmex phylax, which provides protection against herbivores in return. Both partners of this symbiosis present a recent southward range expansion. To test whether the higher investment in sexuals (and thus lower investment in protective workers) previously documented on the colonization front is compensated by a more effective protective behaviour, we compared ant behavioural investment in plant defence between two populations, one in the core of the range and one on the colonization front. We induced ant patrolling activity by artificially damaging leaflets and measured this activity by counting patrolling ants and calculating the increase relative to constitutive patrolling activity measured on control (undamaged) leaflets. Contrary to our expectation, ant behavioural investment in plant defence was lower on the colonization front. Thus, production of fewer workers is not compensated by more protective behaviour of each. Instead, both traits contribute to a phenotype that is less mutualistic as a whole. By favouring increased allocation to dispersal, range expansion can shape ant behavioural traits and potentially the outcome of mutualism.

  18. Larval assemblages of large and medium-sized pelagic species in the Straits of Florida

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, David E.; Llopiz, Joel K.; Guigand, Cedric M.; Cowen, Robert K.

    2010-07-01

    Critical gaps in our understanding of the distributions, interactions, life histories and preferred habitats of large and medium-size pelagic fishes severely constrain the implementation of ecosystem-based, spatially structured fisheries management approaches. In particular, spawning distributions and the environmental characteristics associated with the early life stages are poorly documented. In this study, we consider the diversity, assemblages, and associated habitat of the larvae of large and medium-sized pelagic species collected during 2 years of monthly surveys across the Straits of Florida. In total, 36 taxa and 14,295 individuals were collected, with the highest diversity occurring during the summer and in the western, frontal region of the Florida Current. Only a few species (e.g. Thunnus obesus, T. alalunga, Tetrapturus pfluegeri) considered for this study were absent. Small scombrids (e.g. T. atlanticus, Katsuwonus pelamis, Auxis spp.) and gempylids dominated the catch and were orders of magnitude more abundant than many of the rare species (e.g. Thunnus thynnus,Kajikia albida). Both constrained (CCA) and unconstrained (NMDS) multivariate analyses revealed a number of species groupings including: (1) a summer Florida edge assemblage (e.g. Auxis spp., Euthynnus alleterattus, Istiophorus platypterus); (2) a summer offshore assemblage (e.g. Makaira nigricans, T. atlanticus, Ruvettus pretiosus, Lampris guttatus); (3) an ubiquitous assemblage (e.g. K. pelamis, Coryphaena hippurus, Xiphias gladius); and (4) a spring/winter assemblage that was widely dispersed in space (e.g. trachipterids). The primary environmental factors associated with these assemblages were sea-surface temperature (highest in summer-early fall), day length (highest in early summer), thermocline depth (shallowest on the Florida side) and fluorescence (highest on the Florida side). Overall, the results of this study provide insights into how a remarkable diversity of pelagic species

  19. Ant workers exhibit specialization and memory during raft formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Avril, Amaury; Purcell, Jessica; Chapuisat, Michel

    2016-06-01

    By working together, social insects achieve tasks that are beyond the reach of single individuals. A striking example of collective behaviour is self-assembly, a process in which individuals link their bodies together to form structures such as chains, ladders, walls or rafts. To get insight into how individual behavioural variation affects the formation of self-assemblages, we investigated the presence of task specialization and the role of past experience in the construction of ant rafts. We subjected groups of Formica selysi workers to two consecutive floods and monitored the position of individuals in rafts. Workers showed specialization in their positions when rafting, with the same individuals consistently occupying the top, middle, base or side position in the raft. The presence of brood modified workers' position and raft shape. Surprisingly, workers' experience in the first rafting trial with brood influenced their behaviour and raft shape in the subsequent trial without brood. Overall, this study sheds light on the importance of workers' specialization and memory in the formation of self-assemblages.

  20. Microhabitat influence on larval fish assemblages within ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    We examined larval and juvenile fish assemblage structure in relation to microhabitat variables within the St. Louis River estuary, a drowned river mouth of Lake Superior. Fish were sampled in vegetated beds throughout the estuary, across a gradient of vegetation types and densities (including disturbed, preserved and post-restoration sites). Canonical correspondence analysis, relating species abundances to environmental variables revealed that plant species richness, turbidity and aquatic plant cover were most influential in structuring assemblages. Results from this microhabitat analysis at this crucial life stage has potential to inform wetland restoration efforts within the St. Louis River and other Great Lake coastal wetlands. not applicable

  1. A cellular automata model for ant trails

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Sibel Gokce; Ozhan Kayacan

    2013-05-01

    In this study, the unidirectional ant traffic flow with U-turn in an ant trail was investigated using one-dimensional cellular automata model. It is known that ants communicate with each other by dropping a chemical, called pheromone, on the substrate. Apart from the studies in the literature, it was considered in the model that (i) ant colony consists of two kinds of ants, goodand poor-smelling ants, (ii) ants might make U-turn for some special reasons. For some values of densities of good- and poor-smelling ants, the flux and mean velocity of the colony were studied as a function of density and evaporation rate of pheromone.

  2. Ant opsins: sequences from the Saharan silver ant and the carpenter ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Popp, M P; Grisshammer, R; Hargrave, P A; Smith, W C

    1996-03-01

    cDNA clones encoding opsins from compound eyes of carpenter ant, Camponotus abdominalis, and Saharan silver ant, Cataglyphis bombycina, were isolated from cDNA libraries. The opsin cDNAs from each species code for deduced proteins with 378 amino acids which are 92% identical. Of the 30 amino acid differences between the two proteins, 13 are non-conservative. Eight of these non-conservative substitutions are within the membrane spanning domain. The presence of a potential Schiff-base counterion in helix III in both species suggests that these opsins are the protein moiety of the visible range pigments. When compared to all known opsins, these opsins are most similar to the opsin from preying mantis (76% identity at the amino acid level). Phyletic comparisons group the two ant opsins with the other arthropod long wavelength opsins.

  3. Imperfect chemical female mimicry in males of the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cremer, S.; D'Ettorre, P.; Drijfhout, F.P.

    2008-01-01

    Winged and wingless males coexist in the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior. Wingless ("ergatoid") males never leave their maternal colony and fight remorselessly among each other for the access to emerging females. The peaceful winged males disperse after about 10 days, but beforehand also mate...

  4. Pest repellent properties of ant pheromones

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2012-01-01

    ant species (iii) Azteca instabilis and (iv) Camponotus textor reduce herbivory by flea beetles (Margaridisa sp.), whereas (v) deposits from Solenopsis geminata, did not lead to reduced herbivory. Further evidence for the impact of ant pheromones comes from studies showing that non-herbivorous ant...

  5. Ant colony optimization in continuous problem

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YU Ling; LIU Kang; LI Kaishi

    2007-01-01

    Based on the analysis of the basic ant colony optimization and optimum problem in a continuous space,an ant colony optimization (ACO) for continuous problem is constructed and discussed. The algorithm is efficient and beneficial to the study of the ant colony optimization in a continuous space.

  6. Using Ants to Investigate the Environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagevik, Rita A.

    2005-01-01

    The best place for students to begin to understand complex environmental relationships is in their own back yards. Doing investigations of ants allows students to establish a baseline survey of ant fauna, test the importance of ants in nutrient cycling and soil structure maintenance, and increase their understanding of the environment and their…

  7. Male parentage in army ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kronauer, Daniel J C; Schöning, Caspar; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2006-01-01

    of active research in insect sociobiology. Here we present microsatellite data for 176 males from eight colonies of the African army ant Dorylus (Anomma) molestus. Comparison with worker genotypes and inferred queen genotypes from the same colonies show that workers do not or at best very rarely reproduce...

  8. Optimal cue integration in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wystrach, Antoine; Mangan, Michael; Webb, Barbara

    2015-10-07

    In situations with redundant or competing sensory information, humans have been shown to perform cue integration, weighting different cues according to their certainty in a quantifiably optimal manner. Ants have been shown to merge the directional information available from their path integration (PI) and visual memory, but as yet it is not clear that they do so in a way that reflects the relative certainty of the cues. In this study, we manipulate the variance of the PI home vector by allowing ants (Cataglyphis velox) to run different distances and testing their directional choice when the PI vector direction is put in competition with visual memory. Ants show progressively stronger weighting of their PI direction as PI length increases. The weighting is quantitatively predicted by modelling the expected directional variance of home vectors of different lengths and assuming optimal cue integration. However, a subsequent experiment suggests ants may not actually compute an internal estimate of the PI certainty, but are using the PI home vector length as a proxy. © 2015 The Author(s).

  9. Cenozoic imprints on the phylogenetic structure of palm species assemblages worldwide.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kissling, W Daniel; Eiserhardt, Wolf L; Baker, William J; Borchsenius, Finn; Couvreur, Thomas L P; Balslev, Henrik; Svenning, Jens-Christian

    2012-05-08

    Despite long-standing interest in the origin and maintenance of species diversity, little is known about historical drivers of species assemblage structure at large spatiotemporal scales. Here, we use global species distribution data, a dated genus-level phylogeny, and paleo-reconstructions of biomes and climate to examine Cenozoic imprints on the phylogenetic structure of regional species assemblages of palms (Arecaceae), a species-rich plant family characteristic of tropical ecosystems. We find a strong imprint on phylogenetic clustering due to geographic isolation and in situ diversification, especially in the Neotropics and on islands with spectacular palm radiations (e.g., Madagascar, Hawaii, and Cuba). Phylogenetic overdispersion on mainlands and islands corresponds to biotic interchange areas. Differences in the degree of phylogenetic clustering among biogeographic realms are related to differential losses of tropical rainforests during the Cenozoic, but not to the cumulative area of tropical rainforest over geological time. A largely random phylogenetic assemblage structure in Africa coincides with severe losses of rainforest area, especially after the Miocene. More recent events also appear to be influential: phylogenetic clustering increases with increasing intensity of Quaternary glacial-interglacial climatic oscillations in South America and, to a lesser extent, Africa, indicating that specific clades perform better in climatically unstable regions. Our results suggest that continental isolation (in combination with limited long-distance dispersal) and changing climate and habitat loss throughout the Cenozoic have had strong impacts on the phylogenetic structure of regional species assemblages in the tropics.

  10. Castaways can't be choosers - Homogenization of rafting assemblages on floating seaweeds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutow, Lars; Beermann, Jan; Buschbaum, Christian; Rivadeneira, Marcelo M.; Thiel, Martin

    2015-01-01

    After detachment from benthic habitats, the epibiont assemblages on floating seaweeds undergo substantial changes, but little is known regarding whether succession varies among different seaweed species. Given that floating algae may represent a limiting habitat in many regions, rafting organisms may be unselective and colonize any available seaweed patch at the sea surface. This process may homogenize rafting assemblages on different seaweed species, which our study examined by comparing the assemblages on benthic and floating individuals of the fucoid seaweeds Fucus vesiculosus and Sargassum muticum in the northern Wadden Sea (North Sea). Species richness was about twice as high on S. muticum as on F. vesiculosus, both on benthic and floating individuals. In both seaweed species benthic samples were more diverse than floating samples. However, the species composition differed significantly only between benthic thalli, but not between floating thalli of the two seaweed species. Separate analyses of sessile and mobile epibionts showed that the homogenization of rafting assemblages was mainly caused by mobile species. Among these, grazing isopods from the genus Idotea reached extraordinarily high densities on the floating samples from the northern Wadden Sea, suggesting that the availability of seaweed rafts was indeed limiting. Enhanced break-up of algal rafts associated with intense feeding by abundant herbivores might force rafters to recolonize benthic habitats. These colonization processes may enhance successful dispersal of rafting organisms and thereby contribute to population connectivity between sink populations in the Wadden Sea and source populations from up-current regions.

  11. Dispersion Modeling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Budiansky, Stephen

    1980-01-01

    This article discusses the need for more accurate and complete input data and field verification of the various models of air pollutant dispension. Consideration should be given to changing the form of air quality standards based on enhanced dispersion modeling techniques. (Author/RE)

  12. Chemical dispersants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rahsepar, Shokouhalsadat; Smit, Martijn P.J.; Murk, Albertinka J.; Rijnaarts, Huub H.M.; Langenhoff, Alette A.M.

    2016-01-01

    Chemical dispersants were used in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, both at the sea surface and the wellhead. Their effect on oil biodegradation is unclear, as studies showed both inhibition and enhancement. This study addresses the effect of Corexit on oil biodeg

  13. Chemical dispersants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rahsepar, Shokouhalsadat; Smit, Martijn P.J.; Murk, Albertinka J.; Rijnaarts, Huub H.M.; Langenhoff, Alette A.M.

    2016-01-01

    Chemical dispersants were used in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, both at the sea surface and the wellhead. Their effect on oil biodegradation is unclear, as studies showed both inhibition and enhancement. This study addresses the effect of Corexit on oil

  14. The antipredatory behaviours of Neotropical ants towards army ant raids (Hymenoptera : Formicidae)

    OpenAIRE

    Dejean, A.; Corbara, B.; Roux, Olivier; Orivel, J.

    2014-01-01

    Group hunting, nomadism, wingless queens and colony fission characterize army ants, allowing them to have become the main tropical arthropod predators, mostly of other social insects. We studied the reactions of different ant species to the New World army ants Eciton burchellii (WESTWOOD, 1842) and E. hamatum (FABRICUS, 1782) (Ecitoninae). We compiled our results with those already known in a synthetic appendix. A wide range of ant species react to the approach of army ant raids by evacuating...

  15. MOUSTERIAN LITHIC ASSEMBLAGES OF MERDIVENLI CAVE

    OpenAIRE

    Baykara, İsmail; Kuhn, Steven L.; Baykara, Derya Silibolatlaz

    2015-01-01

    Most scientists agree that modern humans left Africa relatively recently. However, there is less agreement about the number of dispersal events and the route or routes taken by humans and when they migrated out of Africa. The earliest evidence for a dispersal of Homo sapiens into Eurasia comes from the central Levant, but it is unclear how geographically extensive this early dispersal was. Likewise, many researchers agree that Neanderthals dispersed back into the Levant during MIS 5 (123-130 ...

  16. Seed dispersal effectiveness revisited: a conceptual review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schupp, Eugene W; Jordano, Pedro; Gómez, José María

    2010-10-01

    Growth in seed dispersal studies has been fast-paced since the seed disperser effectiveness (SDE) framework was developed 17 yr ago. Thus, the time is ripe to revisit the framework in light of accumulated new insight. Here, we first present an overview of the framework, how it has been applied, and what we know and do not know. We then introduce the SDE landscape as the two-dimensional representation of the possible combinations of the quantity and the quality of dispersal and with elevational contours representing isoclines of SDE. We discuss the structure of disperser assemblages on such landscapes. Following this we discuss recent advances and ideas in seed dispersal in the context of their impacts on SDE. Finally, we highlight a number of emerging issues that provide insight into SDE. Overall, the SDE framework successfully captures the complexities of seed dispersal. We advocate an expanded use of the term dispersal encompassing the multiple recruitment stages from fruit to adult. While this entails difficulties in estimating SDE, it is a necessary expansion if we are to understand the central relevance of seed dispersal in plant ecology and evolution.

  17. Mangrove macrobenthos: Assemblages, services, and linkages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, S. Y.

    2008-02-01

    Macrobenthic assemblages are relatively poorly known compared to other components of the mangrove ecosystem. Tropical mangroves support macrobenthic biodiversity resources yet to be properly documented and interpreted. Some methodological challenges, such as the generally high spatial heterogeneity and complexity of the habitat, evidently reduce sampling efficiency and accuracy, while also leaving some microhabitats under-sampled. Macrobenthic assemblage structure seems to be influenced by local environmental conditions, such as hydroperiod, organic matter availability and sediment characteristics. Brachyurans, gastropods and oligochaetes dominate in the sediment, with the former two groups also common on hard surfaces provided by tree trunks, while insects and arachnids inhabit the canopy. Traditionally, studies of mangrove macrobenthos have focused on assemblage structure or the biology of individual species, but more complex inter-specific interactions and the inter-relationship between habitat and the biota are recently being addressed. Brachyuran crabs are the best-studied macrobenthos group, but many issues about their role in mangrove ecosystem dynamics are still controversial. Despite many species of mangrove macrobenthos being referred to as 'trophic dead ends', most serve as important links between recalcitrant mangrove organic matter and estuarine secondary production, through feeding excursion by mobile nekton during the high tide, and macrobenthos-mediated processing and exportation of organic matter. A significant difference in the standing crop biomass of forests between the Indo-west-Pacific (IWP)' and Atlantic-east-Pacific (AEP) mangroves may be related to the difference in species richness of mangrove as well as macrobenthos diversity in the two bioregions. Such differences in assemblage structure may also result in different ecosystem functioning, but the nature of the links is, however, yet to be explored. There is also a strong need for

  18. Hydrological controls on glacially exported microbial assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dubnick, Ashley; Kazemi, Sina; Sharp, Martin; Wadham, Jemma; Hawkings, Jon; Beaton, Alexander; Lanoil, Brian

    2017-05-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) exports approximately 400 km3 of freshwater annually to downstream freshwater and marine ecosystems. These meltwaters originate in a wide range of well-defined habitats that can be associated with very different physical environments within the ice sheet, ranging from oxygenated surface environments that are exposed to light and supplied with nutrients from atmospheric/aeolian sources to subglacial environments that are permanently dark, isolated from the atmosphere, and potentially anoxic. Hydrological conditions in the latter likely favor prolonged rock-water contact. The seasonally evolving hydrological system that drains meltwaters from the GrIS connects these distinct microbial habitats and exports the microbes contained within them to downstream ecosystems. The microbial assemblages exported in glacier meltwater may have an impact on downstream ecosystem function and development. We explored how the seasonal development of a glacial drainage system influences the character of microbial assemblages exported from the GrIS by monitoring the seasonal changes in hydrology, water chemistry, and microbial assemblage composition of meltwaters draining from a glacier in southwest Greenland. We found that the microbial assemblages exported in meltwaters varied in response to glacier hydrological flow path characteristics. Whether or not meltwaters passed through the subglacial environment was the first-order control on the composition of the microbial assemblages exported from the glacier, while water source (i.e., supraglacial or extraglacial) and subglacial residence times were second-order controls. Glacier hydrology therefore plays a fundamental role in determining the microbial exports from glaciated watersheds.

  19. Bacterioplankton assemblages in coastal ponds reflect the influence of hydrology and geomorphological setting.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huggett, Megan J; Kavazos, Christopher R J; Bernasconi, Rachele; Czarnik, Robert; Horwitz, Pierre

    2017-06-01

    The factors that shape microbial community assembly in aquatic ecosystems have been widely studied; yet it is still unclear how distinct communities within a connected landscape influence one another. Coastal lakes are recipients of, and thus are connected to, both marine and terrestrial environments. Thus, they may host microbial assemblages that reflect the relative degree of influence by, and connectivity to, either system. In order to address this idea, we interrogated microbial community diversity at 49 sites in seven ponds in two seasons in the Lake MacLeod basin, a system fed by seawater flowing inland through underground karst. Environmental and spatial variation within ponds explain <9% of the community structure, while identity of the pond that samples were taken from explains 50% of community variation. That is, ponds each host distinct assemblages despite similarities in size, environment and position in the landscape, indicating a dominant role for local species sorting. The ponds contain a substantial amount of previously unknown microbial taxa, reflecting the unusual nature of this inland system. Rare marine taxa, possibly dispersed from seawater assemblages via the underground karst connection, are abundant within the inland system, suggesting an important role for regional dispersal within the metacommunities. © FEMS 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  20. Evolutional Ant Colony Method Using PSO

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morii, Nobuto; Aiyoshi, Eitarou

    The ant colony method is one of heuristic methods capable of solving the traveling salesman problem (TSP), in which a good tour is generated by the artificial ant's probabilistic behavior. However, the generated tour length depends on the parameter describing the ant's behavior, and the best parameters corresponding to the problem to be solved is unknown. In this technical note, the evolutional strategy is presented to find the best parameter of the ant colony by using Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) in the parameter space. Numerical simulations for benchmarks demonstrate effectiveness of the evolutional ant colony method.

  1. Microsatellite primers for fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Villesen, Palle; Gertsch, P J; Boomsma, JJ

    2002-01-01

    developed primers and earlier published primers that were developed for fungus-growing ants. A total of 20 variable microsatellite loci, developed for six different species of fungus-growing ants, are now available for studying the population genetics and colony kin-structure of these ants.......We isolated five polymorphic microsatellite loci from a library of two thousand recombinant clones of two fungus-growing ant species, Cyphomyrmex longiscapus and Trachymyrmex cf. zeteki. Amplification and heterozygosity were tested in five species of higher attine ants using both the newly...

  2. Microsatellite Primers for Fungus-Growing Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Villesen Fredsted, Palle; Gertsch, Pia J.; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan (Koos)

    2002-01-01

    developed primers and earlier published primers that were developed for fungus-growing ants. A total of 20 variable microsatellite loci, developed for six different species of fungus-growing ants, are now available for studying the population genetics and colony kin-structure of these ants.......We isolated five polymorphic microsatellite loci from a library of two thousand recombinant clones of two fungus-growing ant species, Cyphomyrmex longiscapus and Trachymyrmex cf. zeteki. Amplification and heterozygosity were tested in five species of higher attine ants using both the newly...

  3. Microsatellite Primers for Fungus-Growing Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Villesen Fredsted, Palle; Gertsch, Pia J.; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan (Koos)

    2002-01-01

    We isolated five polymorphic microsatellite loci from a library of two thousand recombinant clones of two fungus-growing ant species, Cyphomyrmex longiscapus and Trachymyrmex cf. zeteki. Amplification and heterozygosity were tested in five species of higher attine ants using both the newly...... developed primers and earlier published primers that were developed for fungus-growing ants. A total of 20 variable microsatellite loci, developed for six different species of fungus-growing ants, are now available for studying the population genetics and colony kin-structure of these ants....

  4. Microsatellite primers for fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Villesen, Palle; Gertsch, P J; Boomsma, JJ

    2002-01-01

    We isolated five polymorphic microsatellite loci from a library of two thousand recombinant clones of two fungus-growing ant species, Cyphomyrmex longiscapus and Trachymyrmex cf. zeteki. Amplification and heterozygosity were tested in five species of higher attine ants using both the newly...... developed primers and earlier published primers that were developed for fungus-growing ants. A total of 20 variable microsatellite loci, developed for six different species of fungus-growing ants, are now available for studying the population genetics and colony kin-structure of these ants....

  5. Myrmecochory and short-term seed fate in Rhamnus alaternus: Ant species and seed characteristics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bas, J. M.; Oliveras, J.; Gómez, C.

    2009-05-01

    Benefits conferred on plants in ant-mediated seed dispersal mutualisms (myrmecochory) depend on the fate of transported seeds. We studied the effects of elaiosome presence, seed size and seed treatment (with and without passage through a bird's digestive tract) on short-term seed fate in Rhamnus alaternus. In our study, we define short-term seed, or initial, seed fate, as the location where ants release the seeds after ant contact with it. The elaiosomes had the most influence on short-term fate, i.e. whether or not seeds were transported to the nest. The workers usually transported big seeds more often than small ones, but small ants did not transport large seeds. Effect of seed size on transport depended on the ant species and on the treatment of the seed (manual extraction simulating a direct fall from the parent plant vs. bird deposition corresponding to preliminary primary dispersal). Probability of removal of elaiosome-bearing seeds to the nest by Aphaenogaster senilis increased with increasing seed weight.

  6. Introduced fire ants can exclude native ants from critical mutualist-provided resources.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilder, Shawn M; Barnum, Thomas R; Holway, David A; Suarez, Andrew V; Eubanks, Micky D

    2013-05-01

    Animals frequently experience resource imbalances in nature. For ants, one resource that may be particularly valuable for both introduced and native species is high-carbohydrate honeydew from hemipteran mutualists. We conducted field and laboratory experiments: (1) to test if red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) competed with native ants for access to mutualisms with aphids, and (2) to quantify the effects of aphid honeydew presence or absence on colony growth of native ants. We focused on native dolichoderine ants (Formicidae, Dolichoderinae) because they are abundant ants that have omnivorous diets that frequently include mutualist-provided carbohydrates. At two sites in the southeastern US, native dolichoderine ants were far less frequent, and fire ants more frequent, at carbohydrate baits than would be expected based on their frequency in pitfall traps. A field experiment confirmed that a native ant species, Dorymyrmex bureni, was only found tending aphids when populations of S. invicta were suppressed. In the laboratory, colonies of native dolichoderine ants with access to both honeydew and insect prey had twice as many workers and over twice as much brood compared to colonies fed only ad libitum insect prey. Our results provide the first experimental evidence that introduced ants compete for access to mutualist-provided carbohydrates with native ants and that these carbohydrates represent critical resources for both introduced and native ants. These results challenge traditional paradigms of arthropod and ant nutrition and contribute to growing evidence of the importance of nutrition in mediating ecological interactions.

  7. Molecular phylogenetics and diversification of trap-jaw ants in the genera Anochetus and Odontomachus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larabee, Fredrick J; Fisher, Brian L; Schmidt, Chris A; Matos-Maraví, Pável; Janda, Milan; Suarez, Andrew V

    2016-10-01

    Ants in the genera Anochetus and Odontomachus belong to one of the largest clades in the subfamily Ponerinae, and are one of four lineages of ants possessing spring-loaded "trap-jaws." Here we present results from the first global species-level molecular phylogenetic analysis of these trap-jaw ants, reconstructed from one mitochondrial, one ribosomal RNA, and three nuclear protein-coding genes. Bayesian and likelihood analyses strongly support reciprocal monophyly for the genera Anochetus and Odontomachus. Additionally, we found strong support for seven trap-jaw ant clades (four in Anochetus and three in Odontomachus) mostly concordant with geographic distribution. Ambiguity remains concerning the closest living non-trap-jaw ant relative of the Anochetus+Odontomachus clade, but Bayes factor hypothesis testing strongly suggests that trap-jaw ants evolved from a short mandible ancestor. Ponerine trap-jaw ants originated in the early Eocene (52.5Mya) in either South America or Southeast Asia, where they have radiated rapidly in the last 30million years, and subsequently dispersed multiple times to Africa and Australia. These results will guide future taxonomic work on the group and act as a phylogenetic framework to study the macroevolution of extreme ant mouthpart specialization. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Temporal variation in the organization of a Neotropical assemblage of leaf-nosed bats (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ribeiro Mello, Marco Aurelio

    2009-03-01

    In the present study, I described the organization of a Neotropical bat assemblage, and tested whether this organization was variable in time. In an Atlantic Forest reserve in southeastern Brazil bats were captured monthly with mist nets over 4 years, and individuals were classified into guilds. I analyzed only leaf-nosed bats, and observed that guilds of fruit-eating bats dominated the assemblage. This pattern was repeated across months and years. However, among frugivores, canopy and understory guilds peaked during different months, but in both cases during the rainy season, while variation among habitat-opportunistic species was not explained by rainfall. The most reliable ecological service delivered by phyllostomid bats in the area is seed dispersal, although other services may be also important in particular seasons. My results suggest that the observed patterns of temporal species turnover are related to the abundance of preferred food items.

  9. Team swimming in ant spermatozoa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pearcy, Morgan; Delescaille, Noémie; Lybaert, Pascale; Aron, Serge

    2014-06-01

    In species where females mate promiscuously, competition between ejaculates from different males to fertilize the ova is an important selective force shaping many aspects of male reproductive traits, such as sperm number, sperm length and sperm-sperm interactions. In eusocial Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants), males die shortly after mating and their reproductive success is ultimately limited by the amount of sperm stored in the queen's spermatheca. Multiple mating by queens is expected to impose intense selective pressure on males to optimize the transfer of sperm to the storage organ. Here, we report a remarkable case of cooperation between spermatozoa in the desert ant Cataglyphis savignyi. Males ejaculate bundles of 50-100 spermatozoa. Sperm bundles swim on average 51% faster than solitary sperm cells. Team swimming is expected to increase the amount of sperm stored in the queen spermatheca and, ultimately, enhance male posthumous fitness.

  10. Yeasts and filamentous fungi carried by the gynes of leaf-cutting ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pagnocca, Fernando C; Rodrigues, André; Nagamoto, Nilson S; Bacci, Maurício

    2008-11-01

    Insect-associated microbes exhibit a wide range of interactions with their hosts. One example of such interactions is the insect-driven dispersal of microorganisms, which plays an essential role in the ecology of several microbes. To study dispersal of microorganisms by leaf-cutting ants (Formicidae: Attini), we applied culture-dependent methods to identify the filamentous fungi and yeasts found in two different body parts of leaf-cutting ant gynes: the exoskeleton and the infrabuccal pocket. The gynes use the latter structure to store a pellet of the ants' symbiotic fungus during nest founding. Many filamentous fungi (n = 142) and yeasts (n = 19) were isolated from the gynes' exoskeleton. In contrast, only seven filamentous fungi and three yeasts isolates were recovered from the infrabuccal pellets, suggesting an efficient mechanism utilized by the gynes to prevent contamination of the symbiotic fungus inoculum. The genus Cladosporium prevailed (78%) among filamentous fungi whereas Aureobasidium, Candida and Cryptococcus prevailed among yeasts associated with gynes. Interestingly, Escovopsis, a specialized fungal pathogen of the leaf-cutting ant-fungus symbiosis, was not isolated from the body parts or from infrabuccal pellets of any gynes sampled. Our results suggest that gynes of the leaf-cutter ants Atta laevigata and A. capiguara do not vertically transmit any particular species of yeasts or filamentous fungi during the foundation of a new nest. Instead, fungi found in association with gynes have a cosmopolitan distribution, suggesting they are probably acquired from the environment and passively dispersed during nest foundation. The possible role of these fungi for the attine ant-microbial symbiosis is discussed.

  11. Population responses to environmental change in a tropical ant: the interaction of spatial and temporal dynamics.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Doug Jackson

    Full Text Available Spatial structure can have a profound, but often underappreciated, effect on the temporal dynamics of ecosystems. Here we report on a counterintuitive increase in the population of a tree-nesting ant, Azteca sericeasur, in response to a drastic reduction in the number of potential nesting sites. This surprising result is comprehensible when viewed in the context of the self-organized spatial dynamics of the ants and their effect on the ants' dispersal-limited natural enemies. Approximately 30% of the trees in the study site, a coffee agroecosystem in southern Mexico, were pruned or felled over a two-year period, and yet the abundance of the ant nests more than doubled over the seven-year study. Throughout the transition, the spatial distribution of the ants maintained a power-law distribution - a signal of spatial self organization - but the local clustering of the nests was reduced post-pruning. A cellular automata model incorporating the changed spatial structure of the ants and the resulting partial escape from antagonists reproduced the observed increase in abundance, highlighting how self-organized spatial dynamics can profoundly influence the responses of ecosystems to perturbations.

  12. Role of Recruitment Processes in Structuring Coralligenous Benthic Assemblages in the Northern Adriatic Continental Shelf

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abbiati, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Coralligenous biogenic reefs are among the most diverse marine habitats in the Mediterranean Sea. The northern Adriatic mesophotic coralligenous outcrops host very rich and diverse epibenthic assemblages. Several studies quantified the low temporal variability and high spatial heterogeneity of these habitats, while processes driving structuring and differentiation are still poorly understood. To shed light on these processes, temporal and spatial patterns of colonisation were investigated using travertine tiles deployed on three coralligenous outcrops, corresponding to the main typologies of benthic assemblages described in previous studies. Three years after deployment, assemblages colonising travertine tiles resembled the differentiation among sites revealed by the natural assemblages in terms of major ecological groups. Processes structuring and maintaining species diversity have been explored. Pioneer species with high reproduction rate, long distance larval dispersal and fast growth (e.g. the serpulid polychaete Spirobranchus triqueter and the bivalve Anomia ephippium), were the most abundant in the early stages of recruitment on the two outcrops further away from the coast and with lower sedimentation. Their success may vary according to larval availability and environmental conditions (e.g., sedimentation rates). At these sites early-stage lasted 10–12 months, during which even species from natural substrates began colonising tiles by settlement of planktonic propagules (e.g., encrusting calcareous Rhodophyta) and lateral encroachment (e.g., sponges and ascidians). On coastal outcrop, exposed to a higher sedimentation rates, tiles were colonised by fast-growing algal turfs. Resilience of northern Adriatic coralligenous assemblages, and maintenance of their diversity, appeared largely entrusted to asexual reproduction. Exploring the mechanisms that underlie the formation and maintenance of the species diversity is crucial to improve our understanding of

  13. Interaction between ants and fruits of Guapira opposita (Nyctaginaceae) in a Brazilian sandy plain rainforest: ant effects on seeds and seedlings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Passos, Luciana; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2004-05-01

    This study examines the dispersal system of Guapira opposita in a tropical sandy rainforest in southeast Brazil. Guapira trees produce small fruits with a high protein content (28.4%) and low lipid content (0.3%), and the plant is primarily dispersed by birds. Mature fruits of G. opposita can fall spontaneously with the pulp intact, or be dropped by birds with bits of pulp attached. In either case, ground-dwelling ants rapidly remove the fruits to their nest (93% after 12 h). The ponerine ants Odontomachus chelifer and Pachycondyla striata are the main seed vectors among the ants, and together account for 56% (20 of 36) of the ant-fruit interactions recorded on the forest floor. Individual workers of O. chelifer and P. striata transport single fruits to their nests. Bits of pulp are fed to larvae and worker nestmates, and intact seeds are discarded outside the nest. Germination success in Guapira is higher for cleaned seeds (pulp removed) than for seeds coated by pulp. Guapira seedlings and juveniles are more frequent close to Odontomachus nests than at sites without such nests. Soil samples from Odontomachus nests had greater penetrability, and higher concentrations of P, K, and Ca than random soil samples. Field experiments suggest that the association between G. opposita seedlings and O. chelifer nests can potentially render the plant some protection against herbivores. Results indicate that fruit displacement by ponerine ants play an important role in the biology of G. opposita seeds and seedlings in the sandy forest, and illustrate the complex nature of the dispersal ecology of tropical tree species.

  14. Markedly Divergent Tree Assemblage Responses to Tropical Forest Loss and Fragmentation across a Strong Seasonality Gradient.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodrigo L L Orihuela

    Full Text Available We examine the effects of forest fragmentation on the structure and composition of tree assemblages within three seasonal and aseasonal forest types of southern Brazil, including evergreen, Araucaria, and deciduous forests. We sampled three southernmost Atlantic Forest landscapes, including the largest continuous forest protected areas within each forest type. Tree assemblages in each forest type were sampled within 10 plots of 0.1 ha in both continuous forests and 10 adjacent forest fragments. All trees within each plot were assigned to trait categories describing their regeneration strategy, vertical stratification, seed-dispersal mode, seed size, and wood density. We detected differences among both forest types and landscape contexts in terms of overall tree species richness, and the density and species richness of different functional groups in terms of regeneration strategy, seed dispersal mode and woody density. Overall, evergreen forest fragments exhibited the largest deviations from continuous forest plots in assemblage structure. Evergreen, Araucaria and deciduous forests diverge in the functional composition of tree floras, particularly in relation to regeneration strategy and stress tolerance. By supporting a more diversified light-demanding and stress-tolerant flora with reduced richness and abundance of shade-tolerant, old-growth species, both deciduous and Araucaria forest tree assemblages are more intrinsically resilient to contemporary human-disturbances, including fragmentation-induced edge effects, in terms of species erosion and functional shifts. We suggest that these intrinsic differences in the direction and magnitude of responses to changes in landscape structure between forest types should guide a wide range of conservation strategies in restoring fragmented tropical forest landscapes worldwide.

  15. Miura Tubes and Assemblages: Theory and Applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Filipov, Evgueni; Paulino, Glaucio; Tachi, Tomohiro

    2015-03-01

    Origami systems inspired from the Miura-ori pattern are rigid and flat foldable meaning that they can fold completely by deforming only about prescribed fold lines. We investigate origami tubes and assemblages constructed from Miura-ori inspired sheets and use eigenvalue analyses to study their stiffness characteristics. A simplified bar model is used to model the stretching and shear of the flat panel segments and rotational hinges are used to simulate the bending stiffness of the panels and prescribed fold lines. We discuss the small to large deformation bending of thin sheets and show an improved method to estimate stiffness when modeling origami structures. The tube assemblages show interesting behaviors that make them suitable for applications in science and engineering.

  16. Consumer–brand assemblages in advertising

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bjerrisgaard, Sofie Møller; Kjeldgaard, Dannie; Bengtson, Anders

    2013-01-01

    This paper discusses how the use of tattoos in advertising renders diverse brand–consumer assemblages visible. In considering advertising practitioners as professionals of entanglement, the paper emphasizes the embeddedness of practitioners’ use of tattoo symbolism in institutionalized marketing...... systems and in the cultural history of tattooing. In accordance with recent emphasis on the importance of material devices for understanding contemporary sociality, this paper presents a semiotic analysis of a convenience sample of advertisements depicting tattoos. Tattoos are productive for the study...... of brand–consumer assemblages because they are situated on the human skin, which is a mediator between the individual and the socio-material world. Furthermore, tattoos reproduce discourses of both mainstream fashion and deviant subcultural identification, which imbue tattoo symbolism with communicative...

  17. Teosinte inflorescence phytolith assemblages mirror Zea taxonomy.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John P Hart

    Full Text Available Molecular DNA analyses of the New World grass (Poaceae genus Zea, comprising five species, has resolved taxonomic issues including the most likely teosinte progenitor (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis of maize (Zea mays ssp. mays. However, archaeologically, little is known about the use of teosinte by humans both prior to and after the domestication of maize. One potential line of evidence to explore these relationships is opaline phytoliths produced in teosinte fruit cases. Here we use multidimensional scaling and multiple discriminant analyses to determine if rondel phytolith assemblages from teosinte fruitcases reflect teosinte taxonomy. Our results indicate that rondel phytolith assemblages from the various taxa, including subspecies, can be statistically discriminated. This indicates that it will be possible to investigate the archaeological histories of teosinte use pending the recovery of appropriate samples.

  18. Teosinte inflorescence phytolith assemblages mirror Zea taxonomy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hart, John P; Matson, R G; Thompson, Robert G; Blake, Michael

    2011-03-30

    Molecular DNA analyses of the New World grass (Poaceae) genus Zea, comprising five species, has resolved taxonomic issues including the most likely teosinte progenitor (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis) of maize (Zea mays ssp. mays). However, archaeologically, little is known about the use of teosinte by humans both prior to and after the domestication of maize. One potential line of evidence to explore these relationships is opaline phytoliths produced in teosinte fruit cases. Here we use multidimensional scaling and multiple discriminant analyses to determine if rondel phytolith assemblages from teosinte fruitcases reflect teosinte taxonomy. Our results indicate that rondel phytolith assemblages from the various taxa, including subspecies, can be statistically discriminated. This indicates that it will be possible to investigate the archaeological histories of teosinte use pending the recovery of appropriate samples.

  19. Responses of seed-dispersing birds to amount of rainforest in the landscape around fragments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moran, Cath; Catterall, Carla P

    2014-04-01

    Habitat loss and fragmentation alter the composition of bird assemblages in rainforest. Because birds are major seed dispersers in rainforests, fragmentation-induced changes to frugivorous bird assemblages are also likely to alter the ecological processes of seed dispersal and forest regeneration, but the specific nature of these changes is poorly understood. We assessed the influence of fragment size and landscape forest cover on the abundance, species composition, and functional properties of the avian seed disperser community in an extensively cleared, former rainforest landscape of subtropical Australia. Bird surveys of fixed time and area in 25 rainforest fragments (1-139 ha in size across a 1800 km(2) region) provided bird assemblage data which were coupled with prior knowledge of bird species' particular roles in seed dispersal to give measurements of seven different attributes of the seed disperser assemblage. We used multimodel regression to assess how patch size and surrounding forest cover (within 200 m, 1000 m, and 5000 m radii) influenced variation in the abundance of individual bird species and of functional groups based on bird species' responses to fragmentation and their roles in seed dispersal. Surrounding forest cover, specifically rainforest cover, generally had a greater effect on frugivorous bird assemblages than fragment size. Amount of rainforest cover within 200 m of fragments was the main factor positively associated with abundances of frugivorous birds that are both fragmentation sensitive and important seed dispersers. Our results suggest a high proportion of local rainforest cover is required for the persistence of seed-dispersing birds and the maintenance of seed dispersal processes. Thus, even small rainforest fragments can function as important parts of habitat networks for seed-dispersing birds, whether or not they are physically connected by vegetation. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.

  20. Ecosystem services delivered by weaver ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    Weaver ants (Oecopgylla spp.) are increasingly being utilized as efficient biocontrol agents in a number of tropical tree crops, as they prey on pest insects and increase yields. However, recent studies and a review of the literature reveal that a number of other services may derive from the pres......Weaver ants (Oecopgylla spp.) are increasingly being utilized as efficient biocontrol agents in a number of tropical tree crops, as they prey on pest insects and increase yields. However, recent studies and a review of the literature reveal that a number of other services may derive from...... the presence of these ants. First of all, the chemical footprint left by the high density of ants in managed host trees may results in additional benefits. (i) Ant deposits may lead to improved fruit quality, e.g. increased sugar content, (ii) ant deposits may deter important pests (chemical deterrence) from...... crops, and lastly, (iii) ant waste products deposited ias anal spots contain urea that may be taken up by plant leaves and in this way fertilize ant-plants. On top of chemical services, weaver ants have been shown to reduce plant disease incidence via competitive exclusion of other ant species because...

  1. User Assemblages in Design: An Ethnographic Study

    OpenAIRE

    2010-01-01

    This thesis presents an ethnographic study of the role of users in user-centered design. It is written from the perspective of science and technology studies, in particular developments in actor-network theory, and draws on the notion of the assemblage from the work of Deleuze and Guattari. The data for this thesis derives from a six-month field study of the routine discourse and practices of user-centered designers working for a multinational microprocessor manufacturer. The central argument...

  2. Littoral zone fish assemblages of northern Cayuga Lake.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKenna, James E.

    2001-01-01

    Fish assemblages from northern Cayuga Lake were examined for patterns in temporal structure. Fish assemblages changed significantly between seasons. Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), bluntnose minnow (Pimephales notatus), and smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) formed the basis for most assemblages, but the spring assemblage was dominated by common carp (Cyprinus carpio). Correlations between community structure and abiotic factors were identified. Ten abiotic factors strongly influenced species assemblages, including phosphorus concentration, but could not fully explain differences between assemblages. Results indicate that the seasonal pattern of fish assemblage structure and abundance of fish that tend to feed in the water column were related to the annual cycle of productivity in the lake and behavioral adaptations of the fish.

  3. PLEISTOCENE BATHYAL MOLLUSCAN ASSEMBLAGES FROM SOUTHERN ITALY

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ITALO DI GERONIMO

    1997-11-01

    Full Text Available Four Pleistocene bathyal molluscan assemblages from southern Italy (Calabria and Messina area were studied. One hundred and thirty-six species were recorded. Twenty-four were classified and described in detail and thirty-five were illustrated. The following new combinations are pro posed: Solariella marginulata (Philippi, 1844, Iphitus tenuisculptus (Seguenza, 1876, Benthomangelia tenuicostata (Seguenza, 1879, Chrysallida microscalaria (Seguenza, 1876, Ennucula corbuloides (Seguenza, 1877, Ennucula rotundata (Seguenza, 1877, Thestyleda cuspidata (Philippi, 1844, Katadesmia confusa (Seguenza, 1877, Austrotindaria pusio (Philippi, 1844, Austrotindaria salicensis (Seguenza, 1877. Comments concerning the taxonomy of Fissurisepta Seguenza, 1862, Solariella Wood, 1842, Ennucula Iredale, 1931, Thestyleda Iredale, 1929, Ledella Verrill & Bush, 1897, Yoldiella Verrill & Bush, 1897, Bathyspinula Filatova, 1958, Katadesmia Dall, 1908, Austrotindaria Fleming, 1948 and Cadulus Philippi, 1844 are included. The assemblages are dominated by nuculoids and fit the general compositional pattern of the deep-sea molluscan communities. A paleodepth of 500-600 m is inferred for two assemblages, whereas a greater depth, pro bably not exceeding 1,000 m, is suggested for the other two. Taxonomic affinities with northeast Atlantic and more generally with World Ocean deep-sea molluscan faunas are remarkable. The Plio-Quaternary evolution of the deep Mediterranean benthos is discussed.    

  4. High Resilience of Seed Dispersal Webs Highlighted by the Experimental Removal of the Dominant Disperser.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Timóteo, Sérgio; Ramos, Jaime Albino; Vaughan, Ian Phillip; Memmott, Jane

    2016-04-04

    The pressing need to conserve and restore habitats in the face of ongoing species loss [1, 2] requires a better understanding of what happens to communities when species are lost or reinstated [3, 4]. Theoretical models show that communities are relatively insensitive to species loss [5, 6]; however, they disagree with field manipulations showing a cascade of extinctions [7, 8] and have seldom been tested under field conditions (e.g., [9]). We experimentally removed the most abundant seed-dispersing ant species from seed dispersal networks in a Mediterranean landscape, replicating the experiment in three types of habitat, and then compared these communities to un-manipulated control communities. Removal did not result in large-scale changes in network structure. It revealed extensive structural plasticity of the remaining community, which rearranged itself through rewiring, while maintaining its functionality. The remaining ant species widened their diet breadth in a way that maintained seed dispersal, despite the identity of many interactions changing. The species interaction strength decreased; thus, the importance of each ant species for seed dispersal became more homogeneous, thereby reducing the dependence of seed species on one dominant ant species. Compared to the experimental results, a simulation model that included rewiring considerably overestimated the effect of species loss on network robustness. If community-level species loss models are to be of practical use in ecology or conservation, they need to include behavioral and population responses, and they need to be routinely tested under field conditions; doing this would be to the advantage of both empiricists and theoreticians.

  5. The distribution and diversity of insular ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Roura-Pascual, Núria; Sanders, Nate; Hui, Cang

    2016-01-01

    Aim: To examine the relationship between island characteristics (area, distance to the nearest continent, climate and human population size) and ant species richness, as well as the factors underlying global geographical clustering of native and exotic ant composition on islands. Location: One...... hundred and two islands from 20 island groups around the world. Methods: We used spatial linear models that consider the spatial structure of islands to examine patterns of ant species richness. We also performed modularity analyses to identify clusters of islands hosting a similar suite of species...... and constructed conditional inference trees to assess the characteristics of islands that explain the formation of these island-ant groups. Results: Island area was the best predictor of ant species richness. However, distance to the nearest continent was an important predictor of native ant species richness...

  6. Ecosystem services delivered by weaver ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    Weaver ants (Oecopgylla spp.) are increasingly being utilized as efficient biocontrol agents in a number of tropical tree crops, as they prey on pest insects and increase yields. However, recent studies and a review of the literature reveal that a number of other services may derive from the pres......Weaver ants (Oecopgylla spp.) are increasingly being utilized as efficient biocontrol agents in a number of tropical tree crops, as they prey on pest insects and increase yields. However, recent studies and a review of the literature reveal that a number of other services may derive from...... crops, and lastly, (iii) ant waste products deposited ias anal spots contain urea that may be taken up by plant leaves and in this way fertilize ant-plants. On top of chemical services, weaver ants have been shown to reduce plant disease incidence via competitive exclusion of other ant species because...

  7. Bio-inspired Ant Algorithms: A review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sangita Roy

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available Ant Algorithms are techniques for optimizing which were coined in the early 1990’s by M. Dorigo. The techniques were inspired by the foraging behavior of real ants in the nature. The focus of ant algorithms is to find approximate optimized problem solutions using artificial ants and their indirect decentralized communications using synthetic pheromones. In this paper, at first ant algorithms are described in details, then transforms to computational optimization techniques: the ACO metaheuristics and developed ACO algorithms. A comparative study of ant algorithms also carried out, followed by past and present trends in AAs applications. Future prospect in AAs also covered in this paper. Finally a comparison between AAs with well-established machine learning techniques were focused, so that combining with machine learning techniques hybrid, robust, novel algorithms could be produces for outstanding result in future.

  8. Ants as tools in sustainable agriculture

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    1. With an expanding human population placing increasing pressure on the environment, agriculture needs sustainable production that can match conventional methods. Integrated pest management (IPM) is more sustainable, but not necessarily as efficient as conventional non-sustainable measures. 2....... Being predatory and organized as superorganisms, ants possess traits making them suitable agents in IPM. Recent works on weaver ants Oecophylla spp. showcase ants as highly efficient pest controllers. A synthesis shows that weaver ants can reduce pest numbers and their damage and increase yields...... in multiple crops. Their efficiency is comparable to chemical pesticides or higher, while at lower costs. They provide a rare example of documented efficient conservation biological control. 3. Weaver ants share beneficial traits with almost 13 000 other ant species and are unlikely to be unique...

  9. Foliar uptake of nitrogen from ant fecal droplets: an overlooked service to ant plants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pinkalski, Christian Alexander Stidsen; Jensen, Karl-Martin Vagn; Damgaard, Christian Frølund

    2017-01-01

    facultative relationships, where ants forage on plants. 2. In a laboratory setupexperiment, weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) were confined to the canopies of coffee (Coffea arabica) seedlings, excluding any ant-to-plant transfer of nutrients via the soil strata. When ants were fed 15N-labelled glycine......-recognised but probably more fluctuating benefit from herbivore protection. Given the worldwide abundance of plant canopies foraged by ants, this nutrient pathway may be of high ecological significance.......1. Nutrient supplies to plants from ants are well known from specialised myrmecophytic symbioses and from plants growing in soil close to ant nests. However, above ground nutrient pathways may play a hitherto largely unrecognised role also in less specialised ant-plant interactions – the numerous...

  10. Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm for Continuous Domains Based on Position Distribution Model of Ant Colony Foraging

    OpenAIRE

    Liqiang Liu; Yuntao Dai; Jinyu Gao

    2014-01-01

    Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains is a major research direction for ant colony optimization algorithm. In this paper, we propose a distribution model of ant colony foraging, through analysis of the relationship between the position distribution and food source in the process of ant colony foraging. We design a continuous domain optimization algorithm based on the model and give the form of solution for the algorithm, the distribution model of pheromone, the update rules...

  11. Microorganisms transported by ants induce changes in floral nectar composition of an ant-pollinated plant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Vega, Clara; Herrera, Carlos M

    2013-04-01

    Interactions between plants and ants abound in nature and have significant consequences for ecosystem functioning. Recently, it has been suggested that nectar-foraging ants transport microorganisms to flowers; more specifically, they transport yeasts, which can potentially consume sugars and alter nectar composition. Therefore, ants could indirectly change nectar sugar profile, an important floral feature involved in the plant-pollinator mutualism. But this novel role for ants has never been tested. We here investigate the effects of nectarivorous ants and their associated yeasts on the floral nectar sugar composition of an ant-pollinated plant. Differences in the nectar sugar composition of ant-excluded and ant-visited flowers were examined in 278 samples by using high-performance liquid-chromatography. The importance of the genetic identity and density of ant-transported basidiomycetous and ascomycetous yeasts on the variation of nectar traits was also evaluated. Ant visitation had significant effects on nectar sugar composition. The nectar of ant-visited flowers contained significantly more fructose, more glucose, and less sucrose than the nectar of ant-excluded flowers, but these effects were context dependent. Nectar changes were correlated with the density of yeast cells in nectar. The magnitude of the effects of ant-transported ascomycetes was much higher than that of basiodiomycetes. Ants and their associated yeasts induce changes in nectar sugar traits, reducing the chemical control of the plant over this important floral trait. The potential relevance of this new role for ants as indirect nectar modifiers is a rich topic for future research into the ecology of ant-flower interactions.

  12. Fungal Adaptations to Mutualistic Life with Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kooij, Pepijn Wilhelmus

    that forage on crude substrates such as insect frass and dry plant material, to large colonies of the leaf-cutting ants with several thousands to several million workers that provide live plant material to their fungus gardens. Leaf-cutting ants are the dominant herbivores of the Neo-tropics, and have a major...... on specific enzyme groups and Acromyrmex having an overall high enzyme activity. Finally, I show that the fungal symbiont of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior produces large amounts of biodegrading enzymes in special structures called gongylidia. The ants eat these structures, but enzymes pass...

  13. GRID SCHEDULING USING ENHANCED ANT COLONY ALGORITHM

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. Mathiyalagan

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Grid computing is a high performance computing used to solve larger scale computational demands. Task scheduling is a major issue in grid computing systems. Scheduling of tasks is the NP hard problem. The heuristic approach provides optimal solution for NP hard problems .The ant colony algorithm provides optimal solution. The existing ant colony algorithm takes more time to schedule the tasks. In this paper ant colony algorithm improved by enhancing pheromone updating rule such that it schedules the tasks efficiently and better resource utilization. The simulation results prove that proposed method reduces the execution time of tasks compared to existing ant colony algorithm.

  14. From Ant Trails to Pedestrian Dynamics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreas Schadschneider

    2003-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents a model for the simulation of pedestrian dynamics inspired by the behaviour of ants in ant trails. Ants communicate by producing a pheromone that can be smelled by other ants. In this model, pedestrians produce a virtual pheromone that influences the motion of others. In this way all interactions are strictly local, and so even large crowds can be simulated very efficiently. Nevertheless, the model is able to reproduce the collective effects observed empirically, eg the formation of lanes in counterflow. As an application, we reproduce a surprising result found in experiments of evacuation from an aircraft.

  15. Ilmub suurmeister Evald Okase monograafia / Ants Juske

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Juske, Ants, 1956-

    2009-01-01

    22. aprillil Kumu Kunstimuuseumis esitletavast monograafiast "Evald Okas", mille on kirjutanud Ants Juske, kujundanud Tiit Jürna. Evald Okasest, tema loomingust, elust Jaroslavlis ja rindekunstnikuna

  16. Enhanced ants system and its application

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2005-01-01

    NP-hard combinational optimization problem is not solved very well until now. One enhanced ants system based on ants system is advanced after analysis of the deficiencies of existing ants systems. Some improvements are made in state transfer rule and local modification rule. Furthermore, the enhanced ants system can solve NP-hard combinational optimization problem with restraints and condition path. The successful application of TSP problem and transportation net problem indicates that the proposed system has stronger function and higher efficiency than the original system.

  17. Congruence of microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA variation in acrobat ants (Crematogaster subgenus Decacrema, Formicidae: Myrmicinae) inhabiting Macaranga (Euphorbiaceae) myrmecophytes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ueda, Shouhei; Nagano, Yusuke; Kataoka, Yowsuke; Komatsu, Takashi; Itioka, Takao; Shimizu-Kaya, Usun; Inui, Yoko; Itino, Takao

    2015-01-01

    A previously reported mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) phylogeny of Crematogaster (subgenus Decacrema) ants inhabiting Macaranga myrmecophytes indicated that the partners diversified synchronously and their specific association has been maintained for 20 million years. However, the mtDNA clades did not exactly match morphological species, probably owing to introgressive hybridization among younger species. In this study, we determined the congruence between nuclear simple sequence repeat (SSR, also called microsatellite) genotyping and mtDNA phylogeny to confirm the suitability of the mtDNA phylogeny for inferring the evolutionary history of Decacrema ants. Analyses of ant samples from Lambir Hills National park, northeastern Borneo, showed overall congruence between the SSR and mtDNA groupings, indicating that mtDNA markers are useful for delimiting species, at least at the local level. We also found overall high host-plant specificity of the SSR genotypes of Decacrema ants, consistent with the specificity based on the mtDNA phylogeny. Further, we detected cryptic genetic assemblages exhibiting high specificity toward particular plant species within a single mtDNA clade. This finding, which may be evidence for rapid ecological and genetic differentiation following a host shift, is a new insight into the previously suggested long-term codiversification of Decacrema ants and Macaranga plants.

  18. Congruence of microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA variation in acrobat ants (Crematogaster subgenus Decacrema, Formicidae: Myrmicinae inhabiting Macaranga (Euphorbiaceae myrmecophytes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shouhei Ueda

    Full Text Available A previously reported mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA phylogeny of Crematogaster (subgenus Decacrema ants inhabiting Macaranga myrmecophytes indicated that the partners diversified synchronously and their specific association has been maintained for 20 million years. However, the mtDNA clades did not exactly match morphological species, probably owing to introgressive hybridization among younger species. In this study, we determined the congruence between nuclear simple sequence repeat (SSR, also called microsatellite genotyping and mtDNA phylogeny to confirm the suitability of the mtDNA phylogeny for inferring the evolutionary history of Decacrema ants. Analyses of ant samples from Lambir Hills National park, northeastern Borneo, showed overall congruence between the SSR and mtDNA groupings, indicating that mtDNA markers are useful for delimiting species, at least at the local level. We also found overall high host-plant specificity of the SSR genotypes of Decacrema ants, consistent with the specificity based on the mtDNA phylogeny. Further, we detected cryptic genetic assemblages exhibiting high specificity toward particular plant species within a single mtDNA clade. This finding, which may be evidence for rapid ecological and genetic differentiation following a host shift, is a new insight into the previously suggested long-term codiversification of Decacrema ants and Macaranga plants.

  19. Fish stomach contents in benthic macroinvertebrate assemblage assessments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    TH. Tupinambás

    Full Text Available The choice of sampling gears to assess benthic macroinvertebrate communities depends on environmental characteristics, study objectives, and cost effectiveness. Because of the high foraging capacity and diverse habitats and behaviors of benthophagous fishes, their stomach contents may offer a useful sampling tool in studies of benthic macroinvertebrates, especially in large, deep, fast rivers that are difficult to sample with traditional sediment sampling gear. Our objective was to compare the benthic macroinvertebrate communities sampled from sediments with those sampled from fish stomachs. We collected benthic macroinvertebrates and fish from three different habitat types (backwater, beach, riffle in the wet season, drying season, and dry season along a single reach of the Grande River (Paraná River Basin, southeast Brazil. We sampled sediments through use of a Petersen dredge (total of 216 grabs and used gill nets to sample fish (total of 36 samples. We analyzed the stomach contents of three commonly occurring benthophagous fish species (Eigenmannia virescens, Iheringichthys labrosus, Leporinus amblyrhynchus. Chironomids dominated in both sampling methods. Macroinvertebrate taxonomic composition and abundances from fish stomachs differed from those from sediment samples, but less so from riffles than from backwater and beach habitats. Macroinvertebrate taxa from E. virescens stomachs were more strongly correlated with sediment samples from all three habitats than were those from the other two species. The species accumulation curves and higher mean dispersion values, compared with with sediment samples suggest that E. virescens is more efficient than sediment samples and the other fish studied at collecting benthic taxa. We conclude that by analyzing the stomach contents of benthophagous fishes it is possible to assess important characteristics of benthic communities (dispersion, taxonomic composition and diversity. This is especially true

  20. Conflict resolution in an ant-plant interaction: Acacia constricta traits reduce ant costs to reproduction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nicklen, E Fleur; Wagner, Diane

    2006-05-01

    Many plant species attract ants onto their foliage with food rewards or nesting space. However, ants can interfere with plant reproduction when they visit flowers. This study tests whether Acacia constricta separates visiting ant species temporally or spatially from newly opened inflorescences and pollinators. The diurnal activity patterns of ants and A. constricta pollinators peaked at different times of day, and the activity of pollinators followed the daily dehiscence of A. constricta inflorescences. In addition to being largely temporally separated, ants rarely visited open inflorescences. A floral ant repellent contributes to the spatial separation of ants and inflorescences. In a field experiment, ants of four species were given equal access to inflorescences in different developmental stages. On average, the frequency with which ants made initial, antennal contact with the floral stages did not differ, but ants significantly avoided secondary contact with newly opened inflorescences relative to buds and old inflorescences, and old inflorescences relative to buds. Ants also avoided contact with pollen alone, indicating that pollen is at least one source of the repellent. The results suggest A. constricta has effectively resolved the potential conflict between visiting ants and plant reproduction.

  1. Plants in Your Ants: Using Ant Mounds to Test Basic Ecological Principles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zettler, Jennifer A.; Collier, Alexander; Leidersdorf, Bil; Sanou, Missa Patrick

    2010-01-01

    Urban students often have limited access to field sites for ecological studies. Ubiquitous ants and their mounds can be used to study and test ecology-based questions. We describe how soil collected from ant mounds can be used to investigate how biotic factors (ants) can affect abiotic factors in the soil that can, in turn, influence plant growth.

  2. Plants in Your Ants: Using Ant Mounds to Test Basic Ecological Principles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zettler, Jennifer A.; Collier, Alexander; Leidersdorf, Bil; Sanou, Missa Patrick

    2010-01-01

    Urban students often have limited access to field sites for ecological studies. Ubiquitous ants and their mounds can be used to study and test ecology-based questions. We describe how soil collected from ant mounds can be used to investigate how biotic factors (ants) can affect abiotic factors in the soil that can, in turn, influence plant growth.

  3. Simplification of arboreal marsupial assemblages in response to increasing urbanization.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bronwyn Isaac

    Full Text Available Arboreal marsupials play an essential role in ecosystem function including regulating insect and plant populations, facilitating pollen and seed dispersal and acting as a prey source for higher-order carnivores in Australian environments. Primarily, research has focused on their biology, ecology and response to disturbance in forested and urban environments. We used presence-only species distribution modelling to understand the relationship between occurrences of arboreal marsupials and eco-geographical variables, and to infer habitat suitability across an urban gradient. We used post-proportional analysis to determine whether increasing urbanization affected potential habitat for arboreal marsupials. The key eco-geographical variables that influenced disturbance intolerant species and those with moderate tolerance to disturbance were natural features such as tree cover and proximity to rivers and to riparian vegetation, whereas variables for disturbance tolerant species were anthropogenic-based (e.g., road density but also included some natural characteristics such as proximity to riparian vegetation, elevation and tree cover. Arboreal marsupial diversity was subject to substantial change along the gradient, with potential habitat for disturbance-tolerant marsupials distributed across the complete gradient and potential habitat for less tolerant species being restricted to the natural portion of the gradient. This resulted in highly-urbanized environments being inhabited by a few generalist arboreal marsupial species. Increasing urbanization therefore leads to functional simplification of arboreal marsupial assemblages, thus impacting on the ecosystem services they provide.

  4. Predicting species' maximum dispersal distances from simple plant traits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tamme, Riin; Götzenberger, Lars; Zobel, Martin; Bullock, James M; Hooftman, Danny A P; Kaasik, Ants; Pärtel, Meelis

    2014-02-01

    Many studies have shown plant species' dispersal distances to be strongly related to life-history traits, but how well different traits can predict dispersal distances is not yet known. We used cross-validation techniques and a global data set (576 plant species) to measure the predictive power of simple plant traits to estimate species' maximum dispersal distances. Including dispersal syndrome (wind, animal, ant, ballistic, and no special syndrome), growth form (tree, shrub, herb), seed mass, seed release height, and terminal velocity in different combinations as explanatory variables we constructed models to explain variation in measured maximum dispersal distances and evaluated their power to predict maximum dispersal distances. Predictions are more accurate, but also limited to a particular set of species, if data on more specific traits, such as terminal velocity, are available. The best model (R2 = 0.60) included dispersal syndrome, growth form, and terminal velocity as fixed effects. Reasonable predictions of maximum dispersal distance (R2 = 0.53) are also possible when using only the simplest and most commonly measured traits; dispersal syndrome and growth form together with species taxonomy data. We provide a function (dispeRsal) to be run in the software package R. This enables researchers to estimate maximum dispersal distances with confidence intervals for plant species using measured traits as predictors. Easily obtainable trait data, such as dispersal syndrome (inferred from seed morphology) and growth form, enable predictions to be made for a large number of species.

  5. The evolution of genome size in ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Spagna Joseph C

    2008-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Despite the economic and ecological importance of ants, genomic tools for this family (Formicidae remain woefully scarce. Knowledge of genome size, for example, is a useful and necessary prerequisite for the development of many genomic resources, yet it has been reported for only one ant species (Solenopsis invicta, and the two published estimates for this species differ by 146.7 Mb (0.15 pg. Results Here, we report the genome size for 40 species of ants distributed across 10 of the 20 currently recognized subfamilies, thus making Formicidae the 4th most surveyed insect family and elevating the Hymenoptera to the 5th most surveyed insect order. Our analysis spans much of the ant phylogeny, from the less derived Amblyoponinae and Ponerinae to the more derived Myrmicinae, Formicinae and Dolichoderinae. We include a number of interesting and important taxa, including the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile, Neotropical army ants (genera Eciton and Labidus, trapjaw ants (Odontomachus, fungus-growing ants (Apterostigma, Atta and Sericomyrmex, harvester ants (Messor, Pheidole and Pogonomyrmex, carpenter ants (Camponotus, a fire ant (Solenopsis, and a bulldog ant (Myrmecia. Our results show that ants possess small genomes relative to most other insects, yet genome size varies three-fold across this insect family. Moreover, our data suggest that two whole-genome duplications may have occurred in the ancestors of the modern Ectatomma and Apterostigma. Although some previous studies of other taxa have revealed a relationship between genome size and body size, our phylogenetically-controlled analysis of this correlation did not reveal a significant relationship. Conclusion This is the first analysis of genome size in ants (Formicidae and the first across multiple species of social insects. We show that genome size is a variable trait that can evolve gradually over long time spans, as well as rapidly, through processes that may

  6. Sothi-Siswal Ceramic Assemblage: A Reappraisal

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tejas Garge

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Harappan evidences in Chautan valley has a unique ceramic tradition. In the light of recent plethora of knowledge as well as against the background of the studies conducted by A. Ghosh, J.S. Nigam, Katy Frenchman, Suraj Bhan & Madhu Bala, we will have to not only reclassify the Sothi-Siswal ceramic assemblage but also alter basic nomenclatures and concepts involve in it. It will give us deep insight in to the process of evolution of Early Harappan cultures vis-à-vis the dynamic of regional cultural complexes.

  7. Nonlinear sequential laminates reproducing hollow sphere assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Idiart, Martín I.

    2007-07-01

    A special class of nonlinear porous materials with isotropic 'sequentially laminated' microstructures is found to reproduce exactly the hydrostatic behavior of 'hollow sphere assemblages'. It is then argued that this result supports the conjecture that Gurson's approximate criterion for plastic porous materials, and its viscoplastic extension of Leblond et al. (1994), may actually yield rigorous upper bounds for the hydrostatic flow stress of porous materials containing an isotropic, but otherwise arbitrary, distribution of porosity. To cite this article: M.I. Idiart, C. R. Mecanique 335 (2007).

  8. Habitat Specialization in Tropical Continental Shelf Demersal Fish Assemblages

    OpenAIRE

    Ben M Fitzpatrick; Euan S Harvey; Heyward, Andrew J.; Twiggs, Emily J.; Jamie Colquhoun

    2012-01-01

    The implications of shallow water impacts such as fishing and climate change on fish assemblages are generally considered in isolation from the distribution and abundance of these fish assemblages in adjacent deeper waters. We investigate the abundance and length of demersal fish assemblages across a section of tropical continental shelf at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, to identify fish and fish habitat relationships across steep gradients in depth and in different benthic habitat types. ...

  9. Spectacular Batesian mimicry in ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ito, Fuminori; Hashim, Rosli; Huei, Yek Sze; Kaufmann, Eva; Akino, Toshiharu; Billen, Johan

    2004-10-01

    The mechanism by which palatable species take advantage of their similarity in appearance to those that are unpalatable, in order to avoid predation, is called Batesian mimicry. Several arthropods are thought to be Batesian mimics of social insects; however, social insects that are Batesian mimics among themselves are rare. In Malaysia we found a possible Batesian mimic in an arboreal ant species, Camponotus sp., which was exclusively observed on foraging trails of the myrmicine ant Crematogaster inflata. The bright yellow and black colouring pattern, as well as the walking behaviour, were very similar in both species. We observed general interactions between the two species, and tested their palatability and the significance of the remarkably similar visual colour patterns for predator avoidance. Prey offered to C. inflata was also eaten by Camponotus workers in spite of their being attacked by C. inflata, indicating that Camponotus sp. is a commensal of C. inflata. An experiment with chicks as potential predators suggests that Camponotus sp. is palatable whereas C. inflata is unpalatable. After tasting C. inflata, the chicks no longer attacked Camponotus sp., indicating that Camponotus sp. is a Batesian mimic of Crematogaster inflata.

  10. Species traits predict assemblage dynamics at ephemeral resource patches created by carrion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barton, Philip S; Cunningham, Saul A; Macdonald, Ben C T; McIntyre, Sue; Lindenmayer, David B; Manning, Adrian D

    2013-01-01

    Carrion is an ephemeral and spatially patchy resource that supports a diverse subset of species linked to nutrient cycling and the decomposition process. A number of studies have separately documented changes in the diversity of plants, arthropods and vertebrates at individual carcasses, but there are few studies that have examined how functional traits of different groups of organisms underpin their responses to carrion patches. We used a carrion addition experiment to compare changes in composition and functional traits of insect and plant assemblages at carcasses compared with control sites. We found that significant changes in insect assemblage evenness and heterogeneity was associated with species' dispersal traits, and that plant assemblage responses to subsequent soil nitrogen changes was most apparent among graminoids and exotic species. Beetles at carcasses were twice as large as their counterparts at control sites during the first week of carrion decomposition, and also had higher wing loadings. Plants with high specific leaf area responded faster to the carcass addition, and twice as many species recolonised the centre of carcasses in exotic-dominated grassland compared with carcasses in native-dominated grassland. These results provide an example of how traits of opportunist species enable them to exploit patchy and dynamic resources. This increases our understanding of how carcasses can drive biodiversity dynamics, and has implications for the way carrion might be managed in ecosystems, such as appropriate consideration of spatial and temporal continuity in carrion resources to promote heterogeneity in nutrient cycling and species diversity within landscapes.

  11. Species traits predict assemblage dynamics at ephemeral resource patches created by carrion.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Philip S Barton

    Full Text Available Carrion is an ephemeral and spatially patchy resource that supports a diverse subset of species linked to nutrient cycling and the decomposition process. A number of studies have separately documented changes in the diversity of plants, arthropods and vertebrates at individual carcasses, but there are few studies that have examined how functional traits of different groups of organisms underpin their responses to carrion patches. We used a carrion addition experiment to compare changes in composition and functional traits of insect and plant assemblages at carcasses compared with control sites. We found that significant changes in insect assemblage evenness and heterogeneity was associated with species' dispersal traits, and that plant assemblage responses to subsequent soil nitrogen changes was most apparent among graminoids and exotic species. Beetles at carcasses were twice as large as their counterparts at control sites during the first week of carrion decomposition, and also had higher wing loadings. Plants with high specific leaf area responded faster to the carcass addition, and twice as many species recolonised the centre of carcasses in exotic-dominated grassland compared with carcasses in native-dominated grassland. These results provide an example of how traits of opportunist species enable them to exploit patchy and dynamic resources. This increases our understanding of how carcasses can drive biodiversity dynamics, and has implications for the way carrion might be managed in ecosystems, such as appropriate consideration of spatial and temporal continuity in carrion resources to promote heterogeneity in nutrient cycling and species diversity within landscapes.

  12. Antthrushes, antpittas, and gnateaters (Aves, Formicariidae) as army ant followers

    OpenAIRE

    Edwin O. Willis

    1984-01-01

    Antthrushes (Formicarius, Chamaeza) sometimes walk around swarms of army ants and capture ground prey, but do not follow ants regularly. Among antpittas, only fast-leaping Pittasoma michleri and P. rufopileatum regularly follow ants. Gnateaters (Conopophaga) follow ants little. All these ground-foraging genera are poorly adapted for rapid flying, and failure to follow ants is perhaps due to inability to evade predators or out fly competitors near groups of birds attracted by ants.

  13. Fire Evacuation using Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Kanika Singhal; Shashank Sahu

    2016-01-01

    ... planning.The objective of the algorithm is to minimizes the entire rescue time of all evacuees.The ant colony optimization algorithm is used to solve the complications of shortest route planning. Presented paper gives a comparative overview of various emergency scenarios using ant colony optimization algorithm.

  14. Extrafloral nectar fuels ant life in deserts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aranda-Rickert, Adriana; Diez, Patricia; Marazzi, Brigitte

    2014-11-07

    Interactions mediated by extrafloral nectary (EFN)-bearing plants that reward ants with a sweet liquid secretion are well documented in temperate and tropical habitats. However, their distribution and abundance in deserts are poorly known. In this study, we test the predictions that biotic interactions between EFN plants and ants are abundant and common also in arid communities and that EFNs are only functional when new vegetative and reproductive structures are developing. In a seasonal desert of northwestern Argentina, we surveyed the richness and phenology of EFN plants and their associated ants and examined the patterns in ant-plant interaction networks. We found that 25 ant species and 11 EFN-bearing plant species were linked together through 96 pairs of associations. Plants bearing EFNs were abundant, representing ca. 19 % of the species encountered in transects and 24 % of the plant cover. Most ant species sampled (ca. 77 %) fed on EF nectar. Interactions showed a marked seasonal pattern: EFN secretion was directly related to plant phenology and correlated with the time of highest ant ground activity. Our results reveal that EFN-mediated interactions are ecologically relevant components of deserts, and that EFN-bearing plants are crucial for the survival of desert ant communities. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company.

  15. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Touchard, Axel; Aili, Samira R; Fox, Eduardo Gonçalves Paterson; Escoubas, Pierre; Orivel, Jérôme; Nicholson, Graham M; Dejean, Alain

    2016-01-20

    Ants (Formicidae) represent a taxonomically diverse group of hymenopterans with over 13,000 extant species, the majority of which inject or spray secretions from a venom gland. The evolutionary success of ants is mostly due to their unique eusociality that has permitted them to develop complex collaborative strategies, partly involving their venom secretions, to defend their nest against predators, microbial pathogens, ant competitors, and to hunt prey. Activities of ant venom include paralytic, cytolytic, haemolytic, allergenic, pro-inflammatory, insecticidal, antimicrobial, and pain-producing pharmacologic activities, while non-toxic functions include roles in chemical communication involving trail and sex pheromones, deterrents, and aggregators. While these diverse activities in ant venoms have until now been largely understudied due to the small venom yield from ants, modern analytical and venomic techniques are beginning to reveal the diversity of toxin structure and function. As such, ant venoms are distinct from other venomous animals, not only rich in linear, dimeric and disulfide-bonded peptides and bioactive proteins, but also other volatile and non-volatile compounds such as alkaloids and hydrocarbons. The present review details the unique structures and pharmacologies of known ant venom proteinaceous and alkaloidal toxins and their potential as a source of novel bioinsecticides and therapeutic agents.

  16. Dynamical Equilibrium of Interacting Ant Societies

    CERN Document Server

    Leok, B T M

    1996-01-01

    The sustainable biodiversity associated with a specific ecological niche as a function of land area is analysed computationally by considering the interaction of ant societies over a collection of islands. A power law relationship between sustainable species and land area is observed. We will further consider the effect a perturbative inflow of ants has upon the model.

  17. Neuropeptidomics of the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmitt, Franziska; Vanselow, Jens T; Schlosser, Andreas; Kahnt, Jörg; Rössler, Wolfgang; Wegener, Christian

    2015-03-01

    Ants show a rich behavioral repertoire and a highly complex organization, which have been attracting behavioral and sociobiological researchers for a long time. The neuronal underpinnings of ant behavior and social organization are, however, much less understood. Neuropeptides are key signals that orchestrate animal behavior and physiology, and it is thus feasible to assume that they play an important role also for the social constitution of ants. Despite the availability of different ant genomes and in silico prediction of ant neuropeptides, a comprehensive biochemical survey of the neuropeptidergic communication possibilities of ants is missing. We therefore combined different mass spectrometric methods to characterize the neuropeptidome of the adult carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus. We also characterized the local neuropeptide complement in different parts of the nervous and neuroendocrine system, including the antennal and optic lobes. Our analysis identifies 39 neuropeptides encoded by different prepropeptide genes, and in silico predicts new prepropeptide genes encoding CAPA peptides, CNMamide as well as homologues of the honey bee IDLSRFYGHFNT- and ITGQGNRIF-containing peptides. Our data provides basic information about the identity and localization of neuropeptides that is required to anatomically and functionally address the role and significance of neuropeptides in ant behavior and physiology.

  18. Ants, rodents and seed predation in Proteaceae

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Ants may reduce seed predation by rapidly transporting and burying seeds in their .... the size and shape of inverted waste paper baskets or b) by securing a lid 5 ... Mimetes experiment was dry for only 3 h before rain set in. Ant activity ceased ...

  19. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Axel Touchard

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Ants (Formicidae represent a taxonomically diverse group of hymenopterans with over 13,000 extant species, the majority of which inject or spray secretions from a venom gland. The evolutionary success of ants is mostly due to their unique eusociality that has permitted them to develop complex collaborative strategies, partly involving their venom secretions, to defend their nest against predators, microbial pathogens, ant competitors, and to hunt prey. Activities of ant venom include paralytic, cytolytic, haemolytic, allergenic, pro-inflammatory, insecticidal, antimicrobial, and pain-producing pharmacologic activities, while non-toxic functions include roles in chemical communication involving trail and sex pheromones, deterrents, and aggregators. While these diverse activities in ant venoms have until now been largely understudied due to the small venom yield from ants, modern analytical and venomic techniques are beginning to reveal the diversity of toxin structure and function. As such, ant venoms are distinct from other venomous animals, not only rich in linear, dimeric and disulfide-bonded peptides and bioactive proteins, but also other volatile and non-volatile compounds such as alkaloids and hydrocarbons. The present review details the unique structures and pharmacologies of known ant venom proteinaceous and alkaloidal toxins and their potential as a source of novel bioinsecticides and therapeutic agents.

  20. Open Problem: Analyzing Ant Robot Coverage

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    Efficient and inefficient ant coverage methods. Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence, 31, 41–76. The proofs can be found in the technical...Wagner, I., & Bruckstein, A. (2001). Special issue on ant robotics. Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence, 31. Wagner, I., Lindenbaum, M

  1. Dispersed Indeterminacy

    CERN Document Server

    Fayngold, Moses

    2013-01-01

    A state of a single particle can be represented by a quantum blob in the corresponding phase space, or a patch (granule) in its 2-D subspace. Its area is frequently stated to be no less than, implying that such a granule is an indivisible quantum of the 2-D phase space. But this is generally not true, as is evident, for instance, from representation of some states in the basis of innately discrete observables like angular momentum. Here we consider some dispersed states involving the evanescent waves different from that in the total internal reflection. Such states are represented by a set of separated granules with individual areas, but with the total indeterminacy . An idealized model has a discrete Wigner function and is described by a superposition of eigenstates with eigenvalues and forming an infinite periodic array of dots on the phase plane. The question about the total indeterminacy in such state is discussed. We argue that the eigenstates corresponding to the considered EW cannot be singled out by a...

  2. How Do Ants Make Sense of Gravity? A Boltzmann Walker Analysis of Lasius niger Trajectories on Various Inclines

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khuong, Anaïs; Lecheval, Valentin; Fournier, Richard; Blanco, Stéphane; Weitz, Sébastian; Bezian, Jean-Jacques; Gautrais, Jacques

    2013-01-01

    The goal of this study is to describe accurately how the directional information given by support inclinations affects the ant Lasius niger motion in terms of a behavioral decision. To this end, we have tracked the spontaneous motion of 345 ants walking on a 0.5×0.5 m plane canvas, which was tilted with 5 various inclinations by rad ( data points). At the population scale, support inclination favors dispersal along uphill and downhill directions. An ant's decision making process is modeled using a version of the Boltzmann Walker model, which describes an ant's random walk as a series of straight segments separated by reorientation events, and was extended to take directional influence into account. From the data segmented accordingly ( segments), this extension allows us to test separately how average speed, segments lengths and reorientation decisions are affected by support inclination and current walking direction of the ant. We found that support inclination had a major effect on average speed, which appeared approximately three times slower on the incline. However, we found no effect of the walking direction on speed. Contrastingly, we found that ants tend to walk longer in the same direction when they move uphill or downhill, and also that they preferentially adopt new uphill or downhill headings at turning points. We conclude that ants continuously adapt their decision making about where to go, and how long to persist in the same direction, depending on how they are aligned with the line of maximum declivity gradient. Hence, their behavioral decision process appears to combine klinokinesis with geomenotaxis. The extended Boltzmann Walker model parameterized by these effects gives a fair account of the directional dispersal of ants on inclines. PMID:24204636

  3. AntStar: Enhancing Optimization Problems by Integrating an Ant System and A⁎ Algorithm

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mohammed Faisal

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Recently, nature-inspired techniques have become valuable to many intelligent systems in different fields of technology and science. Among these techniques, Ant Systems (AS have become a valuable technique for intelligent systems in different fields. AS is a computational system inspired by the foraging behavior of ants and intended to solve practical optimization problems. In this paper, we introduce the AntStar algorithm, which is swarm intelligence based. AntStar enhances the optimization and performance of an AS by integrating the AS and A⁎ algorithm. Applying the AntStar algorithm to the single-source shortest-path problem has been done to ensure the efficiency of the proposed AntStar algorithm. The experimental result of the proposed algorithm illustrated the robustness and accuracy of the AntStar algorithm.

  4. The organization of foraging in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2011-01-01

    Although natural selection in ants acts most strongly at the colony, or superorganismal level, foraging patterns have rarely been studied at that level, focusing instead on the behavior of individual foragers or groups of foragers. The experiments and observations in this paper reveal in broad strokes how colonies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), allocate their available labor to foraging, how they disperse that force within their territory, and how this force changes with colony size, season and worker age. Territory area is positively related to colony size and the number of foragers, more so during the spring than fall. Changes of colony size and territory area are driven by seasonal variation of sexual and worker production, which in turn drive seasonal variation of worker age-distribution. During spring sexual production, colonies shrink because worker production falls below replacement. This loss is proportional to colony size, causing forager density in the spring to be negatively related to colony and territory size. In the fall, colonies emphasize worker production, bringing colony size back up. However, because smaller colonies curtailed spring worker production less than larger ones, their fall forager populations are proportionally greater, causing them to gain territory at the expense of large colonies. Much variation of territory area remains unexplained and can probably be attributed to pressure from neighboring colonies. Boundaries between territories are characterized by "no ants' zones" mostly devoid of fire ants. The forager population can be divided into a younger group of recruitable workers that wait for scouts to activate them to help retrieve large food finds. About one-third of the recruits wait near openings in the foraging tunnels that underlie the entire territory, while two-thirds wait in the nest. Recruitment to food is initially very rapid and local from the foraging tunnels, while sustained

  5. Techniques de formage et d'assemblage

    CERN Document Server

    Favre, G; CERN. Geneva. TS Department

    2004-01-01

    Les sections Techniques d'Assemblage du groupe EST/MF et Brasage du groupe EST/SM ont été groupées en un seul service dans un but de rationalisation accrue des ressources et méthodes. Ce service dispose de nombreux moyens : soudure et découpe LASER (YAG, 350 W), soudure par faisceau d'électrons (deux installations, 35 et 7.5 kW), équipements TIG orbital, jet line, MIG, soudure plasma, boîte à gants, portique de soudage trois axes multiprocédés, presses plieuses, rouleuses, moyens de repoussage, alimentation à induction 12 kW et divers fours sous vide et à air. Le service est composé de 17 personnes dont la polyvalence est encouragée. Les activités de la section seront décrites à travers quelques exemples significatifs récents, notamment : l'assemblage des amenées de courant HTS, la réalisation des chambres LSS, des tubes HET, d'enveloppes céramiques pour détecteurs PET-HPD, le brasage de RFQ, la soudure du Barrel d'ATLAS ou encore le soudage des lignes de thermalisation du toroïde d'AT...

  6. Early and dynamic colonization of Central America drives speciation in Neotropical army ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winston, Max E; Kronauer, Daniel J C; Moreau, Corrie S

    2017-02-01

    The emergence of the Isthmus of Panama is one of the most important events in recent geological history, yet its timing and role in fundamental evolutionary processes remain controversial. While the formation of the isthmus was complete around 3 million years ago (Ma), recent studies have suggested prior intercontinental biotic exchange. In particular, the possibility of early intermittent land bridges facilitating colonization constitutes a potential mechanism for speciation and colonization before full closure of the isthmus. To test this hypothesis, we employed genomic methods to study the biogeography of the army ant genus Eciton, a group of keystone arthropod predators in Neotropical rainforests. Army ant colonies are unable to disperse across water and are therefore ideally suited to study the biogeographic impact of land bridge formation. Using a reduced representation genome sequencing approach, we show that all strictly Central American lineages of Eciton diverged from their respective South American sister lineage between 4 and 7 Ma, significantly prior to the complete closure of the isthmus. Furthermore, three of the lineage pairs form extensive and coincident secondary contact zones in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, with no evidence of gene flow. Such a discrete and repeated biogeographic pattern indicates at least two waves of army ant dispersal into Central America that were separated by significant genetic divergence times. Thus, by integrating phylogenomic, population genomic and geographic evidence, we show that early colonization of Central America across the emerging Isthmus of Panamá drove parallel speciation in Eciton army ants.

  7. Persistence of pollination mutualisms in the presence of ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yuanshi; Wang, Shikun

    2015-01-01

    This paper considers plant-pollinator-ant systems in which the plant-pollinator interaction is mutualistic but ants have both positive and negative effects on plants. The ants also interfere with pollinators by preventing them from accessing plants. While a Beddington-DeAngelis (BD) formula can describe the plant-pollinator interaction, the formula is extended in this paper to characterize the pollination mutualism under the ant interference. Then, a plant-pollinator-ant system with the extended BD functional response is discussed, and global dynamics of the model demonstrate the mechanisms by which pollination mutualism can persist in the presence of ants. When the ant interference is strong, it can result in extinction of pollinators. Moreover, if the ants depend on pollination mutualism for survival, the strong interference could drive pollinators into extinction, which consequently lead to extinction of the ants themselves. When the ant interference is weak, a cooperation between plant-ant and plant-pollinator mutualisms could occur, which promotes survival of both ants and pollinators, especially in the case that ants (respectively, pollinators) cannot survive in the absence of pollinators (respectively, ants). Even when the level of ant interference remains invariant, varying ants' negative effect on plants can result in survival/extinction of both ants and pollinators. Therefore, our results provide an explanation for the persistence of pollination mutualism when there exist ants.

  8. Modified chaotic ant swarm to function optimization

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LI Yu-ying; WEN Qiao-yan; LI Li-xiang

    2009-01-01

    The chaotic ant swarm algorithm (CAS) is an optimization algorithm based on swarm intelligence theory, and it is inspired by the chaotic and self-organizing behavior of the ants in nature. Based on the analysis of the properties of the CAS, this article proposes a variation on the CAS called the modified chaotic ant swarm (MCAS), which employs two novel strategies to significantly improve the performance of the original algorithm. This is achieved by restricting the variables to search ranges and making the global best ant to learn from different ants' best information in the end. The simulation of the MCAS on five benchmark functions shows that the MCAS improves the precision of the solution.

  9. Microclimatic conditions of Lasius flavus ant mounds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Véle, Adam; Holuša, Jaroslav

    2017-05-01

    Like other organisms, ants require suitable microclimatic conditions for their development. Thus, ant species inhabiting colder climates build nest mounds that rise above the soil surface, presumably to obtain heating from solar radiation. Although some ant species construct mounds of organic materials, which generate substantial heat due to microbial metabolism, Lasius flavus mounds consists mostly of soil, not organic material. The use of artificial shading in the current study demonstrated that L. flavus depends on direct solar radiation to regulate the temperature in its mound-like nests. Temperatures were much lower in shaded mounds than in unshaded mounds and were likely low enough in shaded mounds to reduce ant development and reproduction. In areas where L. flavus and similar ants are undesirable, they might be managed by shading.

  10. Uncovering the complexity of ant foraging trails.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Czaczkes, Tomer J; Grüter, Christoph; Jones, Sam M; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2012-01-01

    The common garden ant Lasius niger use both trail pheromones and memory of past visits to navigate to and from food sources. In a recent paper we demonstrated a synergistic effect between route memory and trail pheromones: the presence of trail pheromones results in experienced ants walking straighter and faster. We also found that experienced ants leaving a pheromone trail deposit less pheromone. Here we focus on another finding of the experiment: the presence of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs), which are used as home range markers by ants, also affects pheromone deposition behavior. When walking on a trail on which CHCs are present but trail pheromones are not, experienced foragers deposit less pheromone on the outward journey than on the return journey. The regulatory mechanisms ants use during foraging and recruitment behavior is subtle and complex, affected by multiple interacting factors such as route memory, travel direction and the presence trail pheromone and home-range markings.

  11. Spatiotemporal chemotactic model for ant foraging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramakrishnan, Subramanian; Laurent, Thomas; Kumar, Manish; Bertozzi, Andrea L.

    2014-12-01

    In this paper, we present a generic theoretical chemotactic model that accounts for certain emergent behaviors observed in ant foraging. The model does not have many of the constraints and limitations of existing models for ants colony dynamics and takes into account the distinctly different behaviors exhibited in nature by ant foragers in search of food and food ferrying ants. Numerical simulations based on the model show trail formation in foraging ant colonies to be an emergent phenomenon and, in particular, replicate behavior observed in experiments involving the species P. megacephala. The results have broader implications for the study of randomness in chemotactic models. Potential applications include the developments of novel algorithms for stochastic search in engineered complex systems such as robotic swarms.

  12. Microclimatic conditions of Lasius flavus ant mounds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Véle, Adam; Holuša, Jaroslav

    2016-11-01

    Like other organisms, ants require suitable microclimatic conditions for their development. Thus, ant species inhabiting colder climates build nest mounds that rise above the soil surface, presumably to obtain heating from solar radiation. Although some ant species construct mounds of organic materials, which generate substantial heat due to microbial metabolism, Lasius flavus mounds consists mostly of soil, not organic material. The use of artificial shading in the current study demonstrated that L. flavus depends on direct solar radiation to regulate the temperature in its mound-like nests. Temperatures were much lower in shaded mounds than in unshaded mounds and were likely low enough in shaded mounds to reduce ant development and reproduction. In areas where L. flavus and similar ants are undesirable, they might be managed by shading.

  13. Fungal Adaptations to Mutualistic Life with Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kooij, Pepijn Wilhelmus

    . However, in rare occasions fungal symbionts might come into contact with symbionts from other colonies. I showed that in both leaf-cutting ant genera incompatibility reactions between fungal strains can avoid intermixing of different strains, and that these reactions strengthen when genetic distance...... successful. To understand the evolutionary development of domestication of the fungus over the phylogeny of the Attine ants, I compared the average number of nuclei per cell for the fungal symbionts, for each of the different groups of fungus-growing ants. I found that the fungal symbionts of the paleo...... is increased. This pattern, however, becomes distorted when fungal symbionts are contested across ant genera. The most important mechanism in the succession of this mutualism of leaf-cutting ants is the controlled degradation of plant material. I show that in the area of Gamboa, Panama, the two leaf...

  14. Optimal Load Dispatch Using Ant Lion Optimization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Menakshi Mahendru Nischal

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents Ant lion optimization (ALO technique to solve optimal load dispatch problem. Ant lion optimization (ALO is a novel nature inspired algorithm. The ALO algorithm mimics the hunting mechanism of ant lions in nature. Five main steps of hunting prey such as the random walk of ants, building traps, entrapment of ants in traps, catching preys, and re-building traps are implemented. Optimal load dispatch (OLD is a method of determining the most efficient, low-cost and reliable operation of a power system by dispatching available electricity generation resources to supply load on the system. The primary objective of OLD is to minimize total cost of generation while honoring operational constraints of available generation resources. The proposed technique is implemented on 3, 6 & 20 unit test system for solving the OLD. Numerical results shows that the proposed method has good convergence property and better in quality of solution than other algorithms reported in recent literature.

  15. Prevalence of Giardia duodenalis assemblages and sub-assemblages in symptomatic patients from Damascus city and its suburbs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skhal, Dania; Aboualchamat, Ghalia; Al Mariri, Ayman; Al Nahhas, Samar

    2017-01-01

    Giardia duodenalis is one of the most important human enteric parasites worldwide and is endemic throughout the world with a vast range of mammalian hosts. However, there is limited information on the prevalent genetic variability of G. duodenalis in Syria. This study aimed to evaluate the predominance of G. duodenalis assemblages/sub-assemblages causing humans infection in the city of Damascus and its suburbs. 40 symptomatic giardiasis patients were recruited in this study. Fecal samples were genotyped using PCR/RFLP assay targeting the β-giardin and glutamate dehydrogenase (gdh) genes. HaeIII, BspL1 and RsaI restriction enzymes were used to differentiate between G. duodenalis assemblages/sub-assemblages. Our data showed that 65% of isolates were of assemblage A; 45% belonged to sub-assemblage AII and 20% to sub-assemblage AI. Assemblage B was detected in 27.5% of isolates; 12.5% fit in sub-assemblage BIV, 5% fit in sub-assemblage BIII and 10.5% fit in Discordant genotype BIII/BIV. Mixed genotypes (AII+BIII and AI+BIV) were identified in 3 isolates (7.5%). Significant correlation was found between Giardia AII sub-assemblage and weight loss symptom (P-value=0.05) as well as between contact with domestic animals (cats, P-value=0.027). Moreover, a significant correlation was found between sub-assemblage AI and livestock breeding (P-value=0.000). In conclusion genotyping of human Giardia duodenalis isolates suggests anthroponotic transmission for the route of infection in Damascus and its suburbs. Further studies are needed to screen a wide geographic areas in Syria and to estimate the prevalence of G. duodenalis infection in our population.

  16. [The ants: a strategy of population concentration].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zakharov, A A

    2011-01-01

    Ants are provided with a balanced system of reactions either to the original paucity of socia or to their secondary depopulation. This system can be defined as a strategy of population concentration. Both a successful reproduction of workers and queen fertilization are necessary conditions for ant communities' survival and development. Thus, the anthills must be large enough to ensure optimal conditions for reproduction. It is the strategy of population concentration that is directed to an accelerated attainment (or rehabilitation) by a socium of a state of stable development by way of concentrating the existent ant staff in an accessible number of viable nests. This strategy is realized throughout the life of ant communities by way of (a) fusing the starting family cells left by founder females, (b) fusing small anthills during artificial ant migrations, (c) uniting smaller socia or their joining other anthills, (d) reintegrating the secondary anthills (fragmentants) after an exogenous fragmentation of formicaries. Pooling and the attraction of deficient demographic resources from outside form the most efficient and quickest ways of reaching or restoring the threshold density levels. By realizing this strategy, the ants solve their paramount problems of anthill or settlement conservation at any particular time, as well as of providing some prospects for ant existence in the future. These problems are so vital for ant socia that they appear to hold priority over such other characteristics of utmost importance as genetic kinship or even species identity. The priority of social basics over genetic ones is unequivocally supported through mixed formicaries. A necessary condition for the realization of the strategy of population concentration is tolerance of highly developed social systems to the diversity of forms and to deviations from the norm. The use of one and the same mechanism at all stages of the life both of an individual socium and large ant settlements is

  17. Responses of dispersal agents to tree and fruit traits in Virola calophylla (Myristicaceae): implications for selection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Russo, Sabrina E

    2003-06-01

    Variation in traits affecting seed dispersal in plants has been attributed to selection exerted by dispersal agents. The potential for such selection was investigated in Virola calophylla (Myristicaceae) in Manú National Park, Peru, through identification of seed dispersal agents and of tree and fruit traits significantly affecting the quantity of seeds dispersed. Seventeen bird and one primate species (the spider monkey, Ateles paniscus) dispersed its seeds. Spider monkeys dispersed the majority of seeds (a minimum of 83% of all dispersed seeds). Visitation by dispersal agents depended only on the quantity of ripe fruit available during a tree observation. In contrast, seed removal increased with both greater quantity of ripe fruit and aril: seed ratio. When analyzed separately, seed removal by birds increased only with greater aril: seed ratio, whereas seed removal by spider monkeys was affected by the quantity of ripe fruit and phenological stage. The finding that dispersal agents responded differently to some tree and fruit traits indicates not only that dispersal agents can exert selection on traits affecting seed dispersal, but also that the resulting selection pressures are likely to be inconsistent. This conclusion is supported by the result that the proportion of the seed crop that was dispersed from individual trees, which accounted for cumulative dispersal by all agents, was not influenced by any tree or fruit trait evaluated. Comparing these results with those from studies of V. sebifera and V. nobilis in Panama revealed that the disperser assemblages of these three Virola species were congruent in their similar taxonomic representation. In Panama the proportion of V. nobilis seed crop dispersed was related positively to aril: seed ratio and negatively to seed mass, a result not found for V. calophylla in Peru. The greater importance of dispersal by primates versus birds in V. calophylla, relative to V. nobilis, may explain this difference. Thus

  18. Mating Behavior of the African Weaver Ant, Oecophylla longinoda (Latreille) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nene, Wilson; Rwegasira, Gration; Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2015-01-01

    with reference to the closely related species Oecopylla smaragdina (Fabricius) whose mating occur during nuptial flights. Understanding the mating strategy of O. longinoda is of importance for its successful application in biological control programs. We conducted field and screen house experiments during two......Mating in most species of ants occurs during nuptial flights. In the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda Latreille, mating has previously been hypothesized to take place within the nest before the nuptial flight. However, several researchers disagree with this supposition particularly...... mating seasons to determine whether the mating occur prior to the dispersal flight. We examined winged O. longinoda queens on the nest surface before taking flight, immediately after leaving the nest, up to twelve hours (12h) after leaving the nest and after settling naturally following the dispersal...

  19. Principal determinants of species and functional diversity of carabid beetle assemblages during succession at post-industrial sites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sipos, J; Hodecek, J; Kuras, T; Dolny, A

    2017-01-31

    Although ecological succession is one of the principal focuses of recent restoration ecology research, it is still unclear which factors drive this process and positively influence species richness and functional diversity. In this study we sought to elucidate how species traits and functional diversity change during forest succession, and to identify important factors that determine the species in the observed assemblages. We analyzed species richness and functional diversity of ground beetle assemblages in relation to succession on post-industrial localities after habitat deterioration caused by spoil deposition. We selected ground beetles as they are known to be sensitive to landscape changes (with a large range of responses), and their taxonomy and ecology are generally well-known. Ground beetles were sampled on the spoil heaps during the last 30 years when spontaneous succession occurred. To calculate functional diversity, we used traits related to habitat and trophic niche, i.e. food specialization, wing morphology, trophic level, and bio-indication value. Ground beetle species were found to be distributed non-randomly in the assemblages in the late phase of succession. Ordination analyses revealed that the ground beetle assemblage was significantly associated with the proportion of forested area. Environmental heterogeneity generated assemblages that contained over-dispersed species traits. Our findings indicated that environmental conditions at late successional stages supported less mobile carnivorous species. Overall, we conclude that the decline in species richness and functional diversity in the middle of the studied succession gradient indicated that the assemblages of open habitats had been replaced by species typical of forest ecosystems.

  20. Exotic birds increase generalization and compensate for native bird decline in plant-frugivore assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    García, Daniel; Martínez, Daniel; Stouffer, Daniel B; Tylianakis, Jason M

    2014-11-01

    Exotic species are thought to alter the structure of natural communities and disrupt ecosystem functioning through invasion. Nevertheless, exotic species may also provide ecological insurance when they contribute to maintain ecosystem functions after the decline of native species following anthropogenic disturbance. Here, this hypothesis is tested with the assemblage of frugivorous birds and fleshy-fruited plants of New Zealand, which has suffered strong historical declines in native birds while simultaneously gaining new frugivores introduced by European settlers. We studied the plant-frugivore assemblage from measures of fruit and bird abundances and fruit consumption in nine forest patches, and tested how this changed across a gradient of relative abundance of exotic birds. We then examined how each bird species' role in the assemblage (the proportion of fruits and the number of plant species consumed) varied with their relative abundance, body size and native/exotic status. The more abundant and, to a lesser extent, larger birds species consumed a higher proportion of fruits from more plant species. Exotic birds consumed fruits less selectively and more proportionate to the local availability than did native species. Interaction networks in which exotic birds had a stronger role as frugivores had higher generalization, higher nestedness and higher redundancy of plants. Exotic birds maintained frugivory when native birds became rarer, and diversified the local spectrum of frugivores for co-occurring native plants. These effects seemed related to the fact that species abundances, rather than trait-matching constraints, ultimately determined the patterns of interactions between birds and plants. By altering the structure of plant-frugivore assemblages, exotic birds likely enhance the stability of the community-wide seed dispersal in the face of continued anthropogenic impact.

  1. What are the consequences of ant-seed interactions on the abundance of two dry-fruited shrubs in a Mediterranean scrub?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnan, Xavier; Rodrigo, A; Retana, J

    2011-12-01

    Strong interactions between dry-fruited shrubs and seed-harvesting ants are expected in early successional scrubs, where both groups have a major presence. We have analysed the implications of the seed characteristics of two dry-fruited shrub species (Coronilla minima and Dorycnium pentaphyllum) on seed predation and dispersal mediated by harvester ants and the consequences of these processes on spatio-temporal patterns of plant abundance in a heterogeneous environment. We found that large C. minima seeds were collected much more (39%) than small D. pentaphyllum seeds (2%). However, not all of the removed seeds of these plant species were consumed, and 12.8% of the seeds were lost along the trails, which increased dispersal distances compared with abiotic dispersal alone. Seed dropping occurred among all microhabitats of the two plant species, but especially in open microhabitats, which are the most suitable ones for plant establishment. The two plant species increased their presence in the study area during the study period: C. minima in open microhabitats and D. pentaphyllum in high vegetation. The large size of C. minima seeds probably limited the primary seed dispersal of this species, but may have allowed strong interaction with ants. Thus, seed dispersal by ants resulted in C. minima seeds reaching more suitable microhabitats by means of increasing dispersal distance and redistribution among microhabitats. In contrast, the smaller size of D. pentaphyllum seeds arguably allows abiotic seed dispersal over longer distances and colonization of all types of microhabitats, although it probably also limits their interaction with ants and, consequently, their redistribution in suitable microhabitats. We suggest that dyszoochory could contribute to the success of plant species with different seed characteristics in scrub habitats where seeds are abundantly collected by seed-harvesting ants.

  2. Acrobat ants go global--origin, evolution and systematics of the genus Crematogaster (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blaimer, Bonnie B

    2012-11-01

    This study unravels the evolution and biogeographic history of the globally distributed ant genus Crematogaster on the basis of a molecular phylogeny, reconstructed from five nuclear protein-coding genes and a total of 3384 bp of sequence data. A particular emphasis is placed on the evolutionary history of these ants in the Malagasy region. Bayesian and likelihood analyses performed on a dataset of 124 Crematogaster ingroup taxa lend strong support for three deeply diverging phylogenetic lineages within the genus: the Orthocrema clade, the Global Crematogaster clade and the Australo-Asian Crematogaster clade. The 15 previous subgenera within Crematogaster are mostly not monophyletic. Divergence dating analyses and ancestral range reconstructions suggest that Crematogaster evolved in South-East Asia in the mid-Eocene (40-45 ma). The three major lineages also originated in this region in the late Oligocene/early Miocene (~24-30 ma). A first dispersal out of S-E Asia by an Orthocrema lineage is supported for 22-30 ma to the Afrotropical region. Successive dispersal events out of S-E Asia began in the early, and continued throughout the late Miocene. The global distribution of Crematogaster was achieved by subsequent colonizations of all major biogeographic regions by the Orthocrema and the Global Crematogaster clade. Molecular dating estimates and ancestral range evolution are discussed in the light of palaeogeographic changes in the S-E Asian region and an evolving ocean circulation system throughout the Eocene, Oligocene and Miocene. Eight dispersal events to/from Madagascar by Crematogaster are supported, with most events occurring in the late Miocene to Pliocene (5.0-9.5 ma). These results suggest that Crematogaster ants possess exceptional dispersal and colonization abilities, and emphasize the need for detailed investigations of traits that have contributed to the global evolutionary success of these ants. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Individual Recognition in Ant Queens

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Heinze, Jürgen

    2005-01-01

    recognize each other's unique facial color patterns [3] . Individual recognition is advantageous when dominance hierarchies control the partitioning of work and reproduction 2 and 4 . Here, we show that unrelated founding queens of the ant Pachycondyla villosa use chemical cues to recognize each other......Personal relationships are the cornerstone of vertebrate societies, but insect societies are either too large for individual recognition, or their members were assumed to lack the necessary cognitive abilities 1 and 2 . This paradigm has been challenged by the recent discovery that paper wasps...... perception, was prevented and in tests with anaesthetized queens. The cuticular chemical profiles of queens were neither associated with dominance nor fertility and, therefore, do not represent status badges 5 and 6 , and nestmate queens did not share a common odor. Personal recognition facilitates...

  4. Some enzymic activities of two Australian ant venoms: a jumper ant Myrmecia pilosula and a bulldog ant Myrmecia pyriformis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matuszek, M A; Hodgson, W C; King, R G; Sutherland, S K

    1994-12-01

    Venoms from two related Australian ants, a jumper ant (Myrmecia pilosula) and a bulldog ant (Myrmecia pyriformis), were quantitatively analysed for the following enzymic activities: phospholipase A2, phospholipase B, phospholipase C, hyaluronidase, esterase, acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase and phosphodiesterase. Both venoms contained phospholipase A2, phospholipase B, hyaluronidase, acid phosphatase and alkaline phosphatase activities. Myrmecia pyriformis venom had significantly greater phospholipase B, acid phosphatase and alkaline phosphatase activities than Myrmecia pilosula venom. No detectable quantities of phospholipase C, esterase or phosphodiesterase activities were found in either venom.

  5. Ant-lepidopteran associations along African forest edges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dejean, Alain; Azémar, Frédéric; Libert, Michel; Compin, Arthur; Hérault, Bruno; Orivel, Jérôme; Bouyer, Thierry; Corbara, Bruno

    2017-02-01

    Working along forest edges, we aimed to determine how some caterpillars can co-exist with territorially dominant arboreal ants (TDAAs) in tropical Africa. We recorded caterpillars from 22 lepidopteran species living in the presence of five TDAA species. Among the defoliator and/or nectarivorous caterpillars that live on tree foliage, the Pyralidae and Nymphalidae use their silk to protect themselves from ant attacks. The Notodontidae and lycaenid Polyommatinae and Theclinae live in direct contact with ants; the Theclinae even reward ants with abundant secretions from their Newcomer gland. Lichen feeders (lycaenid; Poritiinae), protected by long bristles, also live among ants. Some lycaenid Miletinae caterpillars feed on ant-attended membracids, including in the shelters where the ants attend them; Lachnocnema caterpillars use their forelegs to obtain trophallaxis from their host ants. Caterpillars from other species live inside weaver ant nests. Those of the genus Euliphyra (Miletinae) feed on ant prey and brood and can obtain trophallaxis, while those from an Eberidae species only prey on host ant eggs. Eublemma albifascia (Erebidae) caterpillars use their thoracic legs to obtain trophallaxis and trophic eggs from ants. Through transfer bioassays of last instars, we noted that herbivorous caterpillars living in contact with ants were always accepted by alien conspecific ants; this is likely due to an intrinsic appeasing odor. Yet, caterpillars living in ant shelters or ant nests probably acquire cues from their host colonies because they were considered aliens and killed. We conclude that co-evolution with ants occurred similarly in the Heterocera and Rhopalocera.

  6. Food resource and temporal partitioning amongst a guild of predatory agroecosystem - inhabiting ant species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vivek Mohan AGARWAL, Neelkamal RASTOGI

    2009-10-01

    . The agroecosystem-inhabiting ant species prey on a large number and wide variety of insect herbivores as evident from the differences in the peak foraging times and the proportion of each type of prey hunted. Overall, our results indicate that the structure of agroecosystem-inhabiting ant assemblage may be influenced by a variety of factors including competition, temporal heterogeneities, prey availability and its characteristics such as size and mobility [Current Zoology 55 (5 : –, 2009].

  7. Food resource and temporal partitioning amongst a guild of predatory agroecosystem-inhabiting ant species

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Vivek Mohan AGARWAL; Neelkamal RASTOGI

    2009-01-01

    prey. The agroecosystem-inhabifing ant species prey on a large number and wide variety of insect herbivores as evident from the differences in the peak foraging times and the proportion of each type of prey hunted. Overall, our results indicate that the structure of agroecosystem-inhabiting ant assemblage may be influenced by a variety of factors including competition, temporal heterogeneities, prey availability and its characteristics such as size and mobility [Current Zoology 55 (5) : 366 - 375, 2009].

  8. Imported fire ants near the edge of their range: disturbance and moisture determine prevalence and impact of an invasive social insect.

    Science.gov (United States)

    LeBrun, Edward G; Plowes, Robert M; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2012-07-01

    1. Habitat disturbance and species invasions interact in natural systems, making it difficult to isolate the primary cause of ecosystem degradation. A general understanding requires case studies of how disturbance and invasion interact across a variety of ecosystem - invasive species combinations. 2. Dramatic losses in ant diversity followed the invasion of central Texas by red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). However, recent manipulative studies in Florida revealed no effect on ant diversity following the removal of S. invicta from a disturbed pasture habitat, but moderate loss of diversity associated with their introduction into undisturbed habitat and no invasion occurred without disturbance. Thus, the importance of S. invicta in driving diversity loss and its ability to invade undisturbed systems is unresolved. 3. We examine the distribution and abundance of a large monogyne S. invicta population and its association with the co-occurring ant assemblage at a site in south Texas close to the aridity tolerance limit of S. invicta. 4. We document that moisture modulates S. invicta densities. Further, soil disturbing habitat manipulations greatly increase S. invicta population densities. However, S. invicta penetrates all habitats regardless of soil disturbance history. In contrast, controlled burns depress S. invicta densities. 5. In habitats where S. invicta is prevalent, it completely replaces native fire ants. However, S. invicta impacts native ants as a whole less strongly. Intriguingly, native ants responded distinctly to S. invicta in different environments. In wet, undisturbed environments, high S. invicta abundance disrupts the spatial structure of the ant assemblage by increasing clumping and is associated with reduced species density, while in dry-disturbed habitats, sites with high S. invicta abundance possess high numbers of native species. Analyses of co-occurrence indicate that reduced species density in wet

  9. Differential Recruitment of Camponotus femoratus (Fabricius) Ants in Response to Ant Garden Herbivory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vicente, R E; Dáttilo, W; Izzo, T J

    2014-12-01

    Although several studies have shown that ants can recognize chemical cues from their host plants in ant-plant systems, it is poorly demonstrated in ant gardens (AGs). In this interaction, ant species constantly interact with various epiphyte species. Therefore, it is possible to expect a convergence of chemical signals released by plants that could be acting to ensure that ants are able to recognize and defend epiphyte species frequently associated with AGs. In this study, it was hypothesized that ants recognize and differentiate among chemical stimuli released by AG epiphytes and non-AG epiphytes. We experimentally simulated leaf herbivore damage on three epiphyte species restricted to AGs and a locally abundant understory herb, Piper hispidum, in order to quantify the number of recruited Camponotus femoratus (Fabricius) defenders. When exposed to the AG epiphytes Peperomia macrostachya and Codonanthe uleana leaves, it was observed that the recruitment of C. femoratus workers was, on average, respectively 556% and 246% higher than control. However, the number of ants recruited by the AG epiphyte Markea longiflora or by the non-AG plant did not differ from paper pieces. This indicated that ants could discern between chemicals released by different plants, suggesting that ants can select better plants. These results can be explained by evolutionary process acting on both ants' capability in discerning plants' chemical compounds (innate attraction) or by ants' learning based on the epiphyte frequency in AGs (individual experience). To disentangle an innate behavior, a product of classical coevolutionary process, from an ant's learned behavior, is a complicated but important subject to understand in the evolution of ant-plant mutualisms.

  10. Genetic exchange within and between assemblages of Giardia duodenalis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lasek-Nesselquist, Erica; Welch, David Mark; Thompson, Richard Christopher Andrew; Steuart, Robert F; Sogin, Mitchell L

    2009-01-01

    Meiotic sex evolved early in the history of eukaryotes. Giardia duodenalis (syn. Giardia lamblia, Giardia intestinalis), a parasitic protist belonging to an early diverging lineage of eukaryotes, shows no cytological or physiological evidence of meiotic or sexual processes. Recent molecular analyses challenge the idea that G. duodenalis is a strictly clonal organism by providing evidence of recombination between homologous chromosomes within one subgroup (Assemblage A) of this species as well as genetic transfer from one subgroup to another (Assemblage A-B). Because recombination is not well documented and because it is not known whether the observed inter-assemblage transfer represents true reciprocal genetic exchange or a non-sexual process, we analyzed genic sequences from all major subgroups (Assemblages A-G) of this species. For all assemblages, we detected molecular signatures consistent with meiotic sex or genetic exchange, including low levels of heterozygosity, as indicated by allelic sequence divergence within isolates, and intra- and inter-assemblage recombination. The identification of recombination between assemblages suggests a shared gene pool and calls into question whether it is appropriate to divide the genetically distinct assemblages of G. duodenalis into a species complex.

  11. Collective search by ants in microgravity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stefanie M. Countryman

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The problem of collective search is a tradeoff between searching thoroughly and covering as much area as possible. This tradeoff depends on the density of searchers. Solutions to the problem of collective search are currently of much interest in robotics and in the study of distributed algorithms, for example to design ways that without central control robots can use local information to perform search and rescue operations. Ant colonies operate without central control. Because they can perceive only local, mostly chemical and tactile cues, they must search collectively to find resources and to monitor the colony's environment. Examining how ants in diverse environments solve the problem of collective search can elucidate how evolution has led to diverse forms of collective behavior. An experiment on the International Space Station in January 2014 examined how ants (Tetramorium caespitum perform collective search in microgravity. In the ISS experiment, the ants explored a small arena in which a barrier was lowered to increase the area and thus lower ant density. In microgravity, relative to ground controls, ants explored the area less thoroughly and took more convoluted paths. It appears that the difficulty of holding on to the surface interfered with the ants’ ability to search collectively. Ants frequently lost contact with the surface, but showed a remarkable ability to regain contact with the surface.

  12. Seed dispersal in fens

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Middleton, Beth; van Diggelen, Rudy; Jensen, Kai

    2006-01-01

    Question: How does seed dispersal reduce fen isolation and contribute to biodiversity? Location: European and North American fens. Methods: This paper reviews the literature on seed dispersal to fens. Results: Landscape fragmentation may reduce dispersal opportunities thereby isolating fens and

  13. RNA assemblages orchestrate complex cellular processes

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nielsen, Finn Cilius; Hansen, Heidi Theil; Christiansen, Jan

    2016-01-01

    Eukaryotic mRNAs are monocistronic, and therefore mechanisms exist that coordinate the synthesis of multiprotein complexes in order to obtain proper stoichiometry at the appropriate intracellular locations. RNA-binding proteins containing low-complexity sequences are prone to generate liquid...... droplets via liquid-liquid phase separation, and in this way create cytoplasmic assemblages of functionally related mRNAs. In a recent iCLIP study, we showed that the Drosophila RNA-binding protein Imp, which exhibits a C-terminal low-complexity sequence, increases the formation of F-actin by binding to 3......' untranslated regions of mRNAs encoding components participating in F-actin biogenesis. We hypothesize that phase transition is a mechanism the cell employs to increase the local mRNA concentration considerably, and in this way synchronize protein production in cytoplasmic territories, as discussed...

  14. Phylogenetic and functional diversity in large carnivore assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalerum, F

    2013-06-07

    Large terrestrial carnivores are important ecological components and prominent flagship species, but are often extinction prone owing to a combination of biological traits and high levels of human persecution. This study combines phylogenetic and functional diversity evaluations of global and continental large carnivore assemblages to provide a framework for conservation prioritization both between and within assemblages. Species-rich assemblages of large carnivores simultaneously had high phylogenetic and functional diversity, but species contributions to phylogenetic and functional diversity components were not positively correlated. The results further provide ecological justification for the largest carnivore species as a focus for conservation action, and suggests that range contraction is a likely cause of diminishing carnivore ecosystem function. This study highlights that preserving species-rich carnivore assemblages will capture both high phylogenetic and functional diversity, but that prioritizing species within assemblages will involve trade-offs between optimizing contemporary ecosystem function versus the evolutionary potential for future ecosystem performance.

  15. Meiofaunal assemblages associated with native and non-indigenous macroalgae

    Science.gov (United States)

    Veiga, Puri; Sousa-Pinto, Isabel; Rubal, Marcos

    2016-07-01

    Meiofauna is a useful tool to detect effects of different disturbances; however, its relevance in the frame of biological invasions has been almost fully neglected. Meiofaunal assemblages associated with the invasive macroalga Sargassum muticum were studied and compared with those associated with two native macroalgae (Bifurcaria bifurcata and Chondrus crispus). We used a linear mixed model to determine the influence of habitat size (i.e. macroalgal biomass) in shaping meiofaunal assemblages. Results showed that habitat size (i.e. macroalgal biomass) shaped meiofaunal assemblages influencing its abundance, richness and structure. However, the identity of macroalga (i.e. species) appears also to play a significant role, particularly the differences of complexity among the studied species may shape their meiofaunal assemblages. Finally, the invasive macroalga appears to influence positively species richness. Our results highlight the need of including different faunal components to achieve a comprehensive knowledge on effects of invasive macroalgae and that meiofaunal assemblages may be a valuable tool to examine them.

  16. Ant colonies for the travelling salesman problem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorigo, M; Gambardella, L M

    1997-01-01

    We describe an artificial ant colony capable of solving the travelling salesman problem (TSP). Ants of the artificial colony are able to generate successively shorter feasible tours by using information accumulated in the form of a pheromone trail deposited on the edges of the TSP graph. Computer simulations demonstrate that the artificial ant colony is capable of generating good solutions to both symmetric and asymmetric instances of the TSP. The method is an example, like simulated annealing, neural networks and evolutionary computation, of the successful use of a natural metaphor to design an optimization algorithm.

  17. Faster-is-slower effect in escaping ants revisited: Ants do not behave like humans

    CERN Document Server

    Parisi, Daniel R; Josens, Roxana

    2014-01-01

    In this work we studied the trajectories, velocities and densities of ants when egressing under controlled levels of stress produced by a chemical repellent at different concentrations. We found that, unlike other animals escaping under life-and-death conditions and pedestrian simulations, ants do not produce a higher density zone near the exit door. Instead, ants are uniformly distributed over the available space allowing for efficient evacuations. Consequently, the faster-is-slower effect observed in ants (Soria et al., 2012) is clearly of a different nature to that predicted by de social force model. In the case of ants, the minimum evacuation time is correlated with the lower probability of taking backward steps. Thus, as biological model ants have important differences that make their use inadvisable for the design of human facilities.

  18. Stealthy invaders: the biology of Cardiocondyla tramp ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Heinze, J.; Cremer, Sylvia; Eckl, N.

    2006-01-01

    Many invasive ant species, such as the Argentine ant or the red imported fire ant, have huge colonies with thousands of mass-foraging workers, which quickly monopolise resources and therefore represent a considerable threat to the native ant fauna. Cardiocondyla obscurior and several other species...

  19. 9 CFR 354.121 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Ante-mortem inspection. 354.121 Section 354.121 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE... Procedures; Ante-Mortem Inspections § 354.121 Ante-mortem inspection. An ante-mortem inspection of...

  20. Dispersal in microbes: fungi in indoor air are dominated by outdoor air and show dispersal limitation at short distances

    OpenAIRE

    2013-01-01

    The indoor microbiome is a complex system that is thought to depend on dispersal from the outdoor biome and the occupants' microbiome combined with selective pressures imposed by the occupants' behaviors and the building itself. We set out to determine the pattern of fungal diversity and composition in indoor air on a local scale and to identify processes behind that pattern. We surveyed airborne fungal assemblages within 1-month time periods at two seasons, with high replication, indoors and...

  1. Faster-is-slower effect in escaping ants revisited: Ants do not behave like humans

    OpenAIRE

    Parisi, Daniel R.; Soria, Sabrina A; Josens, Roxana

    2014-01-01

    In this work we studied the trajectories, velocities and densities of ants when egressing under controlled levels of stress produced by a chemical repellent at different concentrations. We found that, unlike other animals escaping under life-and-death conditions and pedestrian simulations, ants do not produce a higher density zone near the exit door. Instead, ants are uniformly distributed over the available space allowing for efficient evacuations. Consequently, the faster-is-slower effect o...

  2. Multitasking in a plant-ant interaction: how does Acacia myrtifolia manage both ants and pollinators?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martínez-Bauer, Angélica E; Martínez, Gerardo Cerón; Murphy, Daniel J; Burd, Martin

    2015-06-01

    Plant associations with protective ants are widespread among angiosperms, but carry the risk that ants will deter pollinators as well as herbivores. Such conflict, and adaptations to ameliorate or prevent the conflict, have been documented in African and neotropical acacias. Ant-acacia associations occur in Australia, but little is known of their ecology. Moreover, recent phylogenetic evidence indicates that Australian acacias are only distantly related to African and American acacias, providing an intercontinental natural experiment in the management of ant-pollinator conflict. We examined four populations of Acacia myrtifolia over a 400-km environmental gradient in southeastern Australia using ant and pollinator exclusion as well as direct observation of ants and pollinators to assess the potential for ant-pollinator conflict to affect seed set. Native bees were the only group of floral visitors whose visitation rates were a significant predictor of fruiting success, although beetles and wasps may play an important role as "insurance" pollinators. We found no increase in pollinator visitation or fruiting success following ant exclusion, even with large sample sizes and effective exclusion. Because ants are facultative visitors to A. myrtifolia plants, their presence may be insufficient to interfere greatly with floral visitors. It is also likely that the morphological location of extrafloral nectaries tends to draw ants away from reproductive parts, although we commonly observed ants on inflorescences, so the spatial separation is not strict. A. myrtifolia appears to maintain a generalized mutualism over a wide geographic range without the need for elaborate adaptations to resolve ant-pollinator conflict.

  3. Antarctic birds (Neornithes during the Cretaceous-Eocene times Aves antàrticas (Neornithes durante el lapso cretácico - eoceno

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Tambussi

    2007-12-01

    Full Text Available Antarctic fossil birds can be confidently assigned to modern orders and families, such as a goose-like anseriform, two loon-like and a seriema-like, all recorded before the K/T boundary at the López de Bertodano Fomation. Also, the discovery of a ratite and a phororhacids from the uppermost levels of the Submeseta Allomember (Late Eocene, suggests that West Antarctica was functional to dispersal routes obligate terrestrial birds. Representatives of Falconiformes Polyborinae, Ciconiiformes, Phoenicoteriformes, Charadriiformes, Pelagornitidae and Diomedeidae constitute the non-penguin avian assemblages of the Eocene of La Meseta Formation. Fifthteen Antarctic species of penguins have been described including the oldest penguin of West Antarctica, Croswallia unienwillia. The Anthropornis nordenskjoeldi Biozone (36.13 and 34.2 Ma, Late Eocene is characterized by bearing one of the highest frequencies of penguin bones and the phospatic brachiopod Lingula., together with remains of Gadiforms, sharks and primitive mysticete whales. Anthropornis nordenskjoeldi, Delphinornis gracilis, D. arctowski, Archaeospheniscus lopdelli, and Palaeeudyptes antarcticus are exclusively of the La Meseta Formation. Anthropornis nordenskjoeldi was evidently the largest penguin recorded at the James Ross Basin, whereas Delphinornis arctowski is the smallest, and include one of the worldwide highest morphological and taxonomic penguin diversity living sympatrically. The progressive climate cooling of the Eocene could have affected the penguin populations, because of climatic changes linked with habitat availability and food web processes. However, there is not available evidence about Antarctic penguins' evolution after the end of the Eocene.Las aves fósiles antárticas pueden ser asignadas a órdenes y familias vivientes, incluyendo restos de un Anseriformes que recuerda al ganso overo, dos colimbos y una supuesta seriema, todos registrados en sedimentos cretácicos de

  4. Deterministic ants in labirynth -- information gained by map sharing

    CERN Document Server

    Malinowski, Janusz

    2014-01-01

    A few of ant robots are dropped to a labirynth, formed by a square lattice with a small number of nodes removed. Ants move according to a deterministic algorithm designed to explore all corridors. Each ant remembers the shape of corridors which she has visited. Once two ants met, they share the information acquired. We evaluate how the time of getting a complete information by an ant depends on the number of ants, and how the length known by an ant depends on time. Numerical results are presented in the form of scaling relations.

  5. Fire disturbance disrupts an acacia ant-plant mutualism in favor of a subordinate ant species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sensenig, Ryan L; Kimuyu, Duncan K; Ruiz Guajardo, Juan C; Veblen, Kari E; Riginos, Corinna; Young, Truman P

    2017-05-01

    Although disturbance theory has been recognized as a useful framework in examining the stability of ant-plant mutualisms, very few studies have examined the effects of fire disturbance on these mutualisms. In myrmecophyte-dominated savannas, fire and herbivory are key drivers that could influence ant-plant mutualisms by causing complete colony mortality and/or decreasing colony size, which potentially could alter dominance hierarchies if subordinate species are more fire resilient. We used a large-scale, replicated fire experiment to examine long-term effects of fire on acacia-ant community composition. To determine if fire shifted ant occupancy from a competitive dominant to a subordinate ant species, we surveyed the acacia-ant community in 6-7 yr old burn sites and examined how the spatial scale of these burns influenced ant community responses. We then used two short-term fire experiments to explore possible mechanisms for the shifts in community patterns observed. Because survival of ant colonies is largely dependent on their ability to detect and escape an approaching fire, we first tested the evacuation response of all four ant species when exposed to smoke (fire signal). Then to better understand how fire and its interaction with large mammal herbivory affect the density of ants per tree, we quantified ant worker density in small prescribed burns within herbivore exclusion plots. We found clear evidence suggesting that fire disturbance favored the subordinate ant Crematogaster nigriceps more than the dominant and strong mutualist ant C. mimosae, whereby C. nigriceps (1) was the only species to occupy a greater proportion of trees in 6-7 yr old burn sites compared to unburned sites, (2) had higher burn/unburn tree ratios with increasing burn size, and (3) evacuated significantly faster than C. mimosae in the presence of smoke. Fire and herbivory had opposite effects on ant density per meter of branch for both C. nigriceps and C. mimosae, with fire

  6. Mutualism exploitation: predatory drosophilid larvae sugar-trap ants and jeopardize facultative ant-plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vidal, Mayra C; Sendoya, Sebastian F; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2016-07-01

    An open question in the evolutionary ecology of ant-plant facultative mutualism is how other members of the associated community can affect the interaction to a point where reciprocal benefits are disrupted. While visiting Qualea grandiflora shrubs to collect sugary rewards at extrafloral nectaries, tropical savanna ants deter herbivores and reduce leaf damage. Here we show that larvae of the fly Rhinoleucophenga myrmecophaga, which develop on extrafloral nectaries, lure potentially mutualistic, nectar-feeding ants and prey on them. Foraging ants spend less time on fly-infested foliage. Field experiments showed that predation (or the threat of predation) on ants by fly larvae produces cascading effects through three trophic levels, resulting in fewer protective ants on leaves, increased numbers of chewing herbivores, and greater leaf damage. These results reveal an undocumented mode of mutualism exploitation by an opportunistic predator at a plant-provided food source, jeopardizing ant-derived protection services to the plant. Our study documents a rather unusual case of predation of adult ants by a dipteran species and demonstrates a top-down trophic cascade within a generalized ant-plant mutualism. © 2016 by the Ecological Society of America.

  7. KohonAnts: A Self-Organizing Ant Algorithm for Clustering and Pattern Classification

    CERN Document Server

    Fernandes, C; Merelo, J J; Ramos, V; Laredo, J L J

    2008-01-01

    In this paper we introduce a new ant-based method that takes advantage of the cooperative self-organization of Ant Colony Systems to create a naturally inspired clustering and pattern recognition method. The approach considers each data item as an ant, which moves inside a grid changing the cells it goes through, in a fashion similar to Kohonen's Self-Organizing Maps. The resulting algorithm is conceptually more simple, takes less free parameters than other ant-based clustering algorithms, and, after some parameter tuning, yields very good results on some benchmark problems.

  8. The ant, Aphaenogaster picea, benefits from plant elaiosomes when insect prey is scarce.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Robert E; King, Joshua R

    2012-12-01

    Myrmecochory is a facultative, mutualistic interaction in which ants receive a protein-rich food reward (elaiosome) in return for dispersing plant seeds. In North American northeastern hardwood forests, Aphaenogaster ants are the primary genus dispersing myrmecochorous plants. In these forests, myrmecochores occur in plant guilds of understory spring ephemerals or seasonal greens. This mutualism has been demonstrated for Aphaenogaster rudis (Emery) and individual plant species, but it has not been demonstrated for other Aphaenogaster species or guilds of myrmecochores as they naturally occur. Aphaenogaster picea (Wheeler) colonies were fed three treatments over 5 mo: 1) a mixture of only elaiosomes from an entire plant guild, 2) a diet of only insect protein and 3) a combination diet of both elaiosomes and insect protein. This experiment investigated two potential hypotheses through which elaiosomes can benefit ants: 1) elaiosome proteins can substitute for protein nutritional requirements when ants are prey-limited, and 2) elaiosome nutrition can supplement insect protein when prey is ample. First, a mixture of elaiosomes from four myrmecochorous plant species provided to A. picea colonies was sufficient to maintain worker production, larval growth, and fat stores when no other food was available. A. picea colonies consuming elaiosomes as their only protein source could be sustained for a growing season (5 mo). Second, colonies fed both elaiosomes and protein did not yield more productive colonies than a control diet of just insect protein. These results support the hypothesis that myrmecochory is indeed a facultative mutualism in which ants take advantage of the protein content of elaiosomes when it is favorable, but when they are not limited by insect prey they do not gain any additional benefit from elaiosomes.

  9. Fungal enzymes in the attine ant symbiosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    the more basal attine genera use substrates such as flowers, plant debris, small twigs, insect feces and insect carcasses. This diverse array of fungal substrates across the attine lineage implies that the symbiotic fungus needs different enzymes to break down the plant material that the ants provide...... or different efficiencies of enzyme function. Fungal enzymes that degrade plant cell walls may have functionally co-evolved with the ants in this scenario. We explore this hypothesis with direct measurements of enzyme activity in fungus gardens in 12 species across 8 genera spanning the entire phylogeny...... and diversity of life-styles within the attine clade. We find significant differences in enzyme activity between different genera and life-styles of the ants. How these findings relate to attine ant coevolution and crop optimization are discussed....

  10. Discrimination Behavior in the Supercolonial Pharaoh Ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pontieri, Luigi

    an increasing need to understand which factors promote the ecological dominance of these species, and particularly how the discrimination of both conspecifics and heterospecifics (including parasites) might influence structure and ecological success of invasive populations. In this PhD thesis I investigated...... the discrimination behavior of the invasive pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) as a model for other invasive and supercolonial ant species. The pharaoh ant is one of the few ant species that can be reared in the laboratory for many generations. Furthermore, the possibility to do controlled crosses of colonies...... provides the unique opportunity to establish colonies of different genetic composition. These traits make this species a suitable study subject to set up behavioral experiments that aim to investigate which factors, and to which extent, might influence the inter- and intraspecific discrimination abilities...

  11. Rose Atoll - Eradication of Invasive Ants

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — There are at least 9 species of ants introduced to Rose Atoll, including species that tend to scale insects that are devastating the Pisonia grandis trees on the 15...

  12. Discrimination Behavior in the Supercolonial Pharaoh Ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pontieri, Luigi

    an increasing need to understand which factors promote the ecological dominance of these species, and particularly how the discrimination of both conspecifics and heterospecifics (including parasites) might influence structure and ecological success of invasive populations. In this PhD thesis I investigated...... the discrimination behavior of the invasive pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) as a model for other invasive and supercolonial ant species. The pharaoh ant is one of the few ant species that can be reared in the laboratory for many generations. Furthermore, the possibility to do controlled crosses of colonies...... provides the unique opportunity to establish colonies of different genetic composition. These traits make this species a suitable study subject to set up behavioral experiments that aim to investigate which factors, and to which extent, might influence the inter- and intraspecific discrimination abilities...

  13. No correlation between the diversity and productivity of assemblages: evidence from the phytophage and predator assemblages in various cotton agroecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, Feng; Men, XingYuan; Ge, Feng

    2014-09-01

    Biodiversity research has shown that primary productivity increases with plant species number, especially in many experimental grassland systems. Here, we assessed the correlation between productivity and diversity of phytophages and natural enemy assemblages associated with planting date and intercropping in four cotton agroecosystems. Twenty-one pairs of data were used to determine Pearson correlations between species richness, total number of individuals, diversity indices and productivity for each assemblage every five days from 5 June to 15 September 2012. At the same trophic level, the productivity exhibited a significant positive correlation with species richness of the phytophage or predator assemblage. A significant correlation was found between productivity and total number of individuals in most cotton fields. However, no significant correlations were observed between productivity and diversity indices (including indices of energy flow diversity and numerical diversity) in most cotton fields for either the phytophage or the predator assemblages. Species richness of phytophage assemblage and total individual numbers were significantly correlated with primary productivity. Also, species richness of natural enemy assemblage and total number of individuals correlated with phytophage assemblage productivity. A negative but not significant correlation occurred between the indices of numerical diversity and energy flow diversity and lower trophic-level productivity in the cotton-phytophage and phytophage-predator assemblages for most intercropped cotton agroecosystems. Our results clearly showed that there were no correlations between diversity indices and productivity within the same or lower trophic levels within the phytophage and predator assemblages in cotton agroecosystems, and inter-cropped cotton fields had a stronger ability to support the natural enemy assemblage and potentially to reduce phytophages.

  14. Dispersal in microbes: fungi in indoor air are dominated by outdoor air and show dispersal limitation at short distances.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adams, Rachel I; Miletto, Marzia; Taylor, John W; Bruns, Thomas D

    2013-07-01

    The indoor microbiome is a complex system that is thought to depend on dispersal from the outdoor biome and the occupants' microbiome combined with selective pressures imposed by the occupants' behaviors and the building itself. We set out to determine the pattern of fungal diversity and composition in indoor air on a local scale and to identify processes behind that pattern. We surveyed airborne fungal assemblages within 1-month time periods at two seasons, with high replication, indoors and outdoors, within and across standardized residences at a university housing facility. Fungal assemblages indoors were diverse and strongly determined by dispersal from outdoors, and no fungal taxa were found as indicators of indoor air. There was a seasonal effect on the fungi found in both indoor and outdoor air, and quantitatively more fungal biomass was detected outdoors than indoors. A strong signal of isolation by distance existed in both outdoor and indoor airborne fungal assemblages, despite the small geographic scale in which this study was undertaken (effect on the fungi found in indoor air. These results show that at the local level, outdoor air fungi dominate the patterning of indoor air. More broadly, they provide additional support for the growing evidence that dispersal limitation, even on small geographic scales, is a key process in structuring the often-observed distance-decay biogeographic pattern in microbial communities.

  15. Relative effects of disturbance on red imported fire ants and native ant species in a longleaf pine ecosystem

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Stuble, Katharine L.; Kirkman, L. Katherine; Carroll, C. Ronald

    2011-01-01

    , the abundance of native ants increased to levels comparable to those in control plots after 1 year. Our findings suggest that factors other than large reductions in ant abundance and species density (number of species per unit area) may affect the establishment of fire ants and that the response of native ants...

  16. Using pleometrosis (multiple queens) and pupae transplantation to boost weaver ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) colony growth in ant nurseries

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim; Nielsen, Mogens Gissel; Peng, Renkang

    2011-01-01

    Weaver ants (Oecophylla spp.) are increasingly being used for biocontrol and are targeted for future production of insect protein in ant farms. An efficient production of live ant colonies may facilitate the utilization of these ants but the production of mature colonies is hampered by the long t...

  17. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in vineyards that are infested or uninfested with Eurhizococcus brasiliensis (Hemiptera: Margarodidae) in Southeastern Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munhae, Catarina De Bortoli; Morini, Maria Santina De Castro; Bueno, Odair Correa

    2014-10-15

    The association between ants and mealybugs can result in damage to agriculture, including vineyards. In southern Brazil, the ant Linepithema micans F. contributes to the dispersal of Eurhizococcus brasiliensis (Wille) (ground pearl), a root mealybug that can lead to economic losses. In this study, the ant communities in vineyards that were infested or uninfested with ground pearls were evaluated in the primary municipalities that produce the Niágara Rosada variety of grapes in southeastern Brazil. The hypothesis of this study was that the composition of the ant community differs between vineyards with and without E. brasiliensis. The ants were collected using subterranean traps in 10 vineyards infested with this mealybug and 10 uninfested vineyards. There was no significant association between ground pearls and the composition or richness of the ant species. Solenopsis invicta (Buren) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) was the most frequently observed, and Pheidole aberrans (Mayr), Pheidole subarmata (Mayr), and Brachymyrmex incisus F. were common, especially in the rainy season when ground-pearl nymphs were prevalent in the state of São Paulo. Species from preserved or specialized environments were recorded in the vineyards, even with the use of conventional management techniques. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Entomological Society of America.

  18. An Improved Heuristic Ant-Clustering Algorithm

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Yunfei Chen; Yushu Liu; Jihai Zhao

    2004-01-01

    An improved heuristic ant-clustering algorithm(HAC)is presented in this paper. A device of 'memory bank' is proposed,which can bring forth heuristic knowledge guiding ant to move in the bi-dimension grid space.The device experiments on real data sets and synthetic data sets.The results demonstrate that HAC has superiority in misclassification error rate and runtime over the classical algorithm.

  19. The surrounding landscape influences the diversity of leaf-litter ants in riparian cloud forest remnants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valenzuela-González, Jorge E.; Escobar-Sarria, Federico; López-Barrera, Fabiola; Castaño-Meneses, Gabriela

    2017-01-01

    Riparian vegetation is a distinctive and ecologically important element of landscapes worldwide. However, the relative influence of the surrounding landscape on the conservation of the biodiversity of riparian remnants in human-modified tropical landscapes is poorly understood. We studied the surrounding landscape to evaluate its influence on leaf-litter-ant alpha and beta diversity in riparian remnants in the tropical montane cloud forest region of central Veracruz, Mexico. Sampling was carried out in 12 sites with riparian vegetation during both rainy (2011) and dry (2012) seasons. Ten leaf-litter samples were collected along a 100-m transect per site and processed with Berlese-Tullgren funnels and Winkler sacks. Using remotely-sensed and ground-collected data, we characterized the landscape around each site according to nine land cover types and computed metrics of landscape composition and configuration. We collected a total of 8,684 ant individuals belonging to 53 species, 22 genera, 11 tribes, and 7 subfamilies. Species richness and the diversity of Shannon and Simpson increased significantly in remnants immersed in landscapes with a high percentage of riparian land cover and a low percentage of land covers with areas reforested with Pinus, cattle pastures, and human settlements and infrastructure. The composition of ant assemblages was a function of the percentage of riparian land cover in the landscape. This study found evidence that leaf-litter ants, a highly specialized guild of arthropods, are mainly impacted by landscape composition and the configuration of the focal remnant. Maintaining or improving the surrounding landscape quality of riparian vegetation remnants can stimulate the movement of biodiversity among forest and riparian remnants and foster the provision of ecosystem services by these ecosystems. Effective outcomes may be achieved by considering scientific knowledge during the early stages of riparian policy formulation, in addition to

  20. Dispersal mechanisms in some representatives of the genus Moehringia L. (Caryophyllaceae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casazza, Gabriele; Borghesi, Barbara; Roccotiello, Enrica; Minuto, Luigi

    2008-03-01

    The function of diaspores in Moehringia genus was investigated and field observations pointed out the elaiosome role in seed predation and dispersal by ants. Histochemical stainings underlined the presence of lipid in the strophiole. Our results are congruent with the hypothesis that some representatives of the genus Moehringia adopt myrmecochory, especially those species that prefer rocky habitats. Strophiole dimensions and oil content volume seem to influence seed predation in plants by ants. However, the interaction of further abiotic dispersal agents (wind, water) may increase and make more efficient the dissemination strategies.

  1. Ants (Formicidae): models for social complexity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Chris R; Dolezal, Adam; Eliyahu, Dorit; Holbrook, C Tate; Gadau, Jürgen

    2009-07-01

    The family Formicidae (ants) is composed of more than 12,000 described species that vary greatly in size, morphology, behavior, life history, ecology, and social organization. Ants occur in most terrestrial habitats and are the dominant animals in many of them. They have been used as models to address fundamental questions in ecology, evolution, behavior, and development. The literature on ants is extensive, and the natural history of many species is known in detail. Phylogenetic relationships for the family, as well as within many subfamilies, are known, enabling comparative studies. Their ease of sampling and ecological variation makes them attractive for studying populations and questions relating to communities. Their sociality and variation in social organization have contributed greatly to an understanding of complex systems, division of labor, and chemical communication. Ants occur in colonies composed of tens to millions of individuals that vary greatly in morphology, physiology, and behavior; this variation has been used to address proximate and ultimate mechanisms generating phenotypic plasticity. Relatedness asymmetries within colonies have been fundamental to the formulation and empirical testing of kin and group selection theories. Genomic resources have been developed for some species, and a whole-genome sequence for several species is likely to follow in the near future; comparative genomics in ants should provide new insights into the evolution of complexity and sociogenomics. Future studies using ants should help establish a more comprehensive understanding of social life, from molecules to colonies.

  2. Visual scene perception in navigating wood ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lent, David D; Graham, Paul; Collett, Thomas S

    2013-04-22

    Ants, like honeybees, can set their travel direction along foraging routes using just the surrounding visual panorama. This ability gives us a way to explore how visual scenes are perceived. By training wood ants to follow a path in an artificial scene and then examining their path within transformed scenes, we identify several perceptual operations that contribute to the ants' choice of direction. The first is a novel extension to the known ability of insects to compute the "center of mass" of large shapes: ants learn a desired heading toward a point on a distant shape as the proportion of the shape that lies to the left and right of the aiming point--the 'fractional position of mass' (FPM). The second operation, the extraction of local visual features like oriented edges, is familiar from studies of shape perception. Ants may use such features for guidance by keeping them in desired retinal locations. Third, ants exhibit segmentation. They compute the learned FPM over the whole of a simple scene, but over a segmented region of a complex scene. We suggest how the three operations may combine to provide efficient directional guidance. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Toxic industrial deposit remediation by ant activity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jilkova, Veronika; Frouz, Jan

    2016-04-01

    Toxic industrial deposits are often contaminated by heavy metals and the substrates have low pH values. In such systems, soil development is thus slowed down by high toxicity and acidic conditions which are unfavourable to soil fauna. Ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) are considered tolerant to heavy metal pollution and are known to increase organic matter content and microbial activity in their nests. Here, we focused on soil remediation caused by three ant species (Formica sanguinea, Lasius niger, and Tetramorium sp.) in an ore-washery sedimentation basin near Chvaletice (Czech Republic). Soil samples were taken from the centre of ant nests and from the nest surroundings (>3 m from nests). Samples were then analyzed for microbial activity and biomass and contents of organic matter and nutrients. As a result, ant species that most influenced soil properties was F. sanguinea as there were higher microbial activity and total nitrogen and ammonia contents in ant nests than in the surrounding soil. We expected such a result because F. sanguinea builds conspicuous large nests and is a carnivorous species that brings substantial amounts of nitrogen in insect prey to their nests. Effects of the other two ant species might be lower because of smaller nests and different feeding habits as they rely mainly on honeydew from aphids or on plant seeds that do not contain much nutrients.

  4. Congestion and communication in confined ant traffic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gravish, Nick; Gold, Gregory; Zangwill, Andrew; Goodisman, Michael A. D.; Goldman, Daniel I.

    2014-03-01

    Many social animals move and communicate within confined spaces. In subterranean fire ants Solenopsis invicta, mobility within crowded nest tunnels is important for resource and information transport. Within confined tunnels, communication and traffic flow are at odds: trafficking ants communicate through tactile interactions while stopped, yet ants that stop to communicate impose physical obstacles on the traffic. We monitor the bi-directional flow of fire ant workers in laboratory tunnels of varied diameter D. The persistence time of communicating ant aggregations, τ, increases approximately linearly with the number of participating ants, n. The sensitivity of traffic flow increases as D decreases and diverges at a minimum diameter, Dc. A cellular automata model incorporating minimal traffic features--excluded volume and communication duration--reproduces features of the experiment. From the model we identify a competition between information transfer and the need to maintain jam-free traffic flow. We show that by balancing information transfer and traffic flow demands, an optimum group strategy exists which maximizes information throughput. We acknowledge funding from NSF PoLS #0957659 and #PHY-1205878.

  5. Fire ants perpetually rebuild sinking towers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Phonekeo, Sulisay; Mlot, Nathan; Monaenkova, Daria; Hu, David L.; Tovey, Craig

    2017-07-01

    In the aftermath of a flood, fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, cluster into temporary encampments. The encampments can contain hundreds of thousands of ants and reach over 30 ants high. How do ants build such tall structures without being crushed? In this combined experimental and theoretical study, we investigate the shape and rate of construction of ant towers around a central support. The towers are bell shaped, consistent with towers of constant strength such as the Eiffel tower, where each element bears an equal load. However, unlike the Eiffel tower, the ant tower is built through a process of trial and error, whereby failed portions avalanche until the final shape emerges. High-speed and novel X-ray videography reveal that the tower constantly sinks and is rebuilt, reminiscent of large multicellular systems such as human skin. We combine the behavioural rules that produce rafts on water with measurements of adhesion and attachment strength to model the rate of growth of the tower. The model correctly predicts that the growth rate decreases as the support diameter increases. This work may inspire the design of synthetic swarms capable of building in vertical layers.

  6. Entangled active matter: From cells to ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, D. L.; Phonekeo, S.; Altshuler, E.; Brochard-Wyart, F.

    2016-07-01

    Both cells and ants belong to the broad field of active matter, a novel class of non-equilibrium materials composed of many interacting units that individually consume energy and collectively generate motion or mechanical stresses. However cells and ants differ from fish and birds in that they can support static loads. This is because cells and ants can be entangled, so that individual units are bound by transient links. Entanglement gives cells and ants a set of remarkable properties usually not found together, such as the ability to flow like a fluid, spring back like an elastic solid, and self-heal. In this review, we present the biology, mechanics and dynamics of both entangled cells and ants. We apply concepts from soft matter physics and wetting to characterize these systems as well as to point out their differences, which arise from their differences in size. We hope that our viewpoints will spur further investigations into cells and ants as active materials, and inspire the fabrication of synthetic active matter.

  7. Biodiversity patterns of crustacean suprabenthic assemblages along an oligotrophic gradient in the bathyal Mediterranean Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Almeida, Mariana; Frutos, Inmaculada; Tecchio, Samuele; Lampadariou, Nikolaos; Company, Joan B.; Ramirez-Llodra, Eva; Cunha, Marina R.

    2017-03-01

    Crustacean suprabenthic abundance, community structure, α-diversity (both taxonomic and trophic) and β-diversity were studied along a West-East gradient of oligotrophy in the deep Mediterranean Sea. The assemblages were sampled with a suprabenthic sledge in three regions (western, central and eastern basins) at three water depths (1200, 2000 and 3000 m) in May-June 2009. Environmental data were obtained at each sampling location including sediment properties, oceanographic variables near the seafloor and in the water column, and proxies of epipelagic productivity at the surface. Our results, concerning the crustacean component of the suprabenthos, showed complex trends in community structure and biodiversity across different spatial scales (longitudinal, bathymetric, and near-bottom distribution). A decrease in the number of species and abundance, accompanied by changes in the trophic structure of the assemblages were observed from West to East. In the eastern region the assemblages were impoverished in number of trophic guilds and trophic diversity. The West-East oligotrophic gradient was identified as the main driver in community structure as shown by the significant correlation with trophic environmental variables. Differences in community structure across regions were more marked at greater depths, while at the shallower sites assemblages were more similar. Within each basin, abundance, number of species and number of trophic groups decreased with depth, showing high turnover rates between 1200 and 2000 m depths. The small-scale (0-150 cm) vertical distribution of the suprabenthos was interpreted in relation to the species' functional traits (e.g. swimming activity, migratory behaviour, bottom dependence, feeding habits). Bottom-dependent and more mobile components of the suprabenthos were apparently responding differently to the various environmental challenges imposed by the large-scale longitudinal and bathymetric gradients. We propose that the bathyal

  8. Isolation of compounds attractive to the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa forel (hymenoptera: Formicidae from Mabea fistulifera elaiosome

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ethel Fernandes de O. Peternelli

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available Mabea fistulifera (Euphorbiaceaeis a pioneer plant species with seeds dispersed by the ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa. Since the ants are attracted to the seeds to use its elaiosome as a source of energy, we investigated its composition. The elaiosomes from 13,000 seeds were extracted with a methanol:chloroform mixture (2:1 v/v and yielded 22% of a residue. This residue was fractionated by column chromatography and its composition determined by infrared spectroscopy and chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS. The elaiosome lipids are constituted mainly by free fatty acids, triacylglycerols and minor quantities of monoacylglycerols or diacylglycerols.

  9. Bacterial associates of arboreal ants and their putative functions in an obligate ant-plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eilmus, Sascha; Heil, Martin

    2009-07-01

    Bacterial communities are highly diverse and have great ecological importance. In the present study, we used an in silico analysis of terminal restriction fragments (tRF) to characterize the bacterial community of the plant ant Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus. This species is an obligate inhabitant of Acacia myrmecophytes and feeds exclusively on plant-derived food sources. Ants are the dominant insect group in tropical rain forests. Associations of ants with microbes, which contribute particularly to the ants' nitrogen nutrition, could allow these insects to live on mostly or entirely plant-based diets and could thus contribute to the explanation of the high abundances that are reached by tropical ants. We found tRF patterns representing at least 30 prokaryotic taxa, of which the Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Planctomycetes, Proteobacteria, and Spirochaetes comprised 93%. Because most bacterial taxa were found in all ant-derived samples studied and because the bacteria detected on the ants' host plant revealed little overlap with this community, we regard our results as reliably representing the bacterial community that is associated with P. ferrugineus. Genera with a likely function as ant symbionts were Burkholderia, Pantoea, Weissella, and several members of the Enterobacteriaceae. The presence of these and various other groups was confirmed via independent PCR and cultivation approaches. Many of the bacteria that we detected belong to purportedly N-fixing taxa. Bacteria may represent important further partners in ant-plant mutualisms, and their influences on ant nutrition can contribute to the extraordinary abundance and evolutionary success of tropical arboreal ants.

  10. Etude expérimentale et comparative de la myrmécochorie :le cas des fourmis dispersatrices Lasius niger et Myrmica rubra / Experimental and comparative study of myrmecochory: the case of seed-disperser ants Lasius niger and Myrmica rubra

    OpenAIRE

    Servigne, Pablo

    2008-01-01

    Ce travail porte sur la dispersion des graines par les fourmis et se divise en deux parties :l’une expérimentale (Chapitres 1, 2 & 3) et l’autre synthétique (Chapitres 4 & 5). L’approche expérimentale a consisté en une exploration en conditions de laboratoire des comportements des fourmis à deux étapes du processus de myrmécochorie: à la source de graines et dans le nid. Des graines des plantes myrmécochores Viola odorata et Chelidonium majus ont été présentées aux fourmis Lasius niger et Myr...

  11. Faceless sex: glory holes and sexual assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holmes, Dave; O'Byrne, Patrick; Murray, Stuart J

    2010-10-01

    According to our previous research, the use of glory holes in public venues such as saunas and bathhouses is very popular. The popularity of glory holes is due in part to the anonymous sex that these architectural elements allow. This post-structuralist theoretical reflection seeks to understand the specific nature of anonymous public sex among bathhouse patrons, focusing on the links between desire-architecture-place-sexual practices. Drawing on interviews with glory hole users gathered during an ethnographic research project in bathhouses, this essay goes beyond traditional public health discourse to offer an original perspective on anonymous public sex. Utilizing the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari's concepts of assemblages and machines, we re-theorize glory hole sex--what we call 'faceless sex'--and rethink the ways that desire is imbricated with our understanding of architecture, place, and public. Finally, we reflect upon the particular ethical challenges that are posed by these particular sexual practices, and ask whether a post-structuralist ethic might be possible.

  12. Climatic influence on a marine fish assemblage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Attrill, Martin J; Power, Michael

    2002-05-16

    Understanding the fluctuations in marine fish stocks is important for the management of fisheries, and attempts have been made to demonstrate links with oceanographic and climatic variability, including the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The NAO has been correlated with a range of long-term ecological measures, including certain fish stocks. Such environmental influences are most likely to affect susceptible juveniles during estuarine residency, as estuaries are critical juvenile nursery or over-wintering habitats. Here we show that, during a 16-year period, climatic forcing (by means of the NAO) is consistently the most important parameter explaining variation in assemblage composition, abundance and growth of juvenile marine fish during estuarine residency. A possible mechanism for the effect of the NAO is a temperature differential between estuarine and marine waters that allows fish to facultatively exploit optimal thermal habitats. The connection has potentially important implications for the size and numbers of individuals recruited to the fishery, for understanding and predicting the composition of juvenile fish stocks using estuaries, and for the appropriate conservation of estuarine systems in relation to fish stocks.

  13. Species richness matters for the quality of ecosystem services: a test using seed dispersal by frugivorous birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    García, Daniel; Martínez, Daniel

    2012-08-07

    The positive link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is a current paradigm in ecological science. However, little is known of how different attributes of species assemblages condition the quality of many services in real ecosystems affected by human impact. We explore the links between the attributes of a frugivore assemblage and the quantitative and qualitative components of its derived ecosystem service, seed dispersal, along a landscape-scale gradient of anthropogenic forest loss. Both the number and the richness of seeds being dispersed were positively related to frugivore abundance and richness. Seed dispersal quality, determined by the fine-scale spatial patterns of seed deposition, mostly depended on frugivore richness. In fact, richness was the only attribute of the frugivore assemblage affecting the probability of seed dispersal into deforested areas of the landscape. The positive relationships between frugivore richness per se (i.e. independent of frugivore abundance and composition) and all components of seed dispersal suggest the existence of functional complementarity and/or facilitation between frugivores. These links also point to the whole assemblage of frugivores as a conservation target, if we aim to preserve a complete seed dispersal service and, hence, the potential for vegetation regeneration and recovery, in human-impacted landscapes.

  14. Solution to the problem of ant being stuck by ant colony routing algorithm

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHAO Jing; TONG Wei-ming

    2009-01-01

    Many ant colony routing (ACR) algorithms have been presented in recent years, but few have studied the problem that ants will get stuck with probability in any terminal host when they are searching paths to route packets around a network. The problem has to be faced when designing and implementing the ACR algorithm. This article analyzes in detail the differences between the ACR and the ant colony optimization (ACO). Besides, particular restrictions on the ACR are pointed out and the three causes of ant being-stuck problem are obtained. Furthermore, this article proposes a new ant searching mechanism through dual path-checking and online routing loop removing by every intermediate node an ant visited and the destination host respectively, to solve the problem of ant being stuck and routing loop simultaneously. The result of numerical simulation is abstracted from one real network. Compared with existing two typical ACR algorithms, it shows that the proposed algorithm can settle the problem of ant being stuck and achieve more effective searching outcome for optimization path.

  15. Applied Ecology and Control of Imported Fire Ants and Argentine Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, and Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), are invasive species that are major pests in urban, natural, and agricultural habitats. The goal of this dissertation was to study aspects the chemical sensitivity, behavior, and ecology of each specie...

  16. Taxonomic and functional ecology of montane ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom Rhys Bishop

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Why is biological diversity distributed in the way that it is? This question has been central to ecology and biogeography for centuries and is of great importance for pure and applied reasons. I use a functional trait view of ecology to complement standard sampling protocols to better understand the distribution and structure of ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae diversity across mountains. I use a long-term dataset of ant diversity and abundance, combined with a recently collected morphological trait dataset to examine how the alpha and beta diversity of ants responds to changes in temperature along an extensive elevational gradient in southern Africa. In addition, I link morphological thermoregulatory traits to each other and to the environment with a new database of ant elevational abundances from across the globe. Finally, I analyse how physiological thermal tolerances vary and constrain foraging patterns in montane ants. I find that temperature is a strong driver of both alpha and beta diversity patterns. In addition, morphological traits such as colour and body size are found to have a significant relationship to ambient temperatures. This relationship also implies that the relative abundances of different ant species change depending on their thermoregulatory traits (colour and body size and the surrounding thermal environment. Furthermore, the critical thermal minimum (CTmin of the ant species investigated and the lowest environmental temperatures are found to be key in constraining foraging activity patterns. The data presented here strengthen and link existing ideas about how thermoregulation can influence ecological communities and also suggests important ways in which diversity patterns may change in the future.

  17. Hierarchical mechanisms of spatially contagious seed dispersal in complex seed-disperser networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fedriani, José M; Wiegand, Thorsten

    2014-02-01

    Intra- and interspecific spatially contagious seed dispersal has far-reaching implications for plant recruitment, distribution, and community assemblage. However, logistical and analytical limitations have curtailed our understanding concerning the mechanisms and resulting spatial patterns of contagious seed dispersal in most systems and, especially, in complex seed-disperser networks. We investigated mechanisms of seed aggregation using techniques of spatial point pattern analysis and extensive data sets on mutispecific endozoochorous seed rain generated by five frugivorous mammals in three Mediterranean shrublands over two seasons. Our novel analytical approach revealed three hierarchical and complementary mechanisms of seed aggregation acting at different levels (fecal samples, seeds, pairs of seed species) and spatial scales. First, the three local guilds of frugivores tended to deliver their feces highly aggregated at small and intermediate spatial scales, and the overall pattern of fecal delivery could be described well by a nested double-cluster Thomas process. Second, once the strong observed fecal aggregation was accounted for, the distribution of mammal feces containing seeds was clustered within the pattern of all feces (i.e., with and without seeds), and the density of fecal samples containing seeds was higher than expected around other feces containing seeds in two out of the three studied seed-disperser networks. Finally, at a finer level, mark correlation analyses revealed that for some plant species pairs, the number of dispersed seeds was positively associated either at small or large spatial scales. Despite the relatively invariant patterning of nested double-clustering, some attributes of endozoochorous seed rain (e.g., intensity, scales of aggregation) were variable among study sites due to changes in the ecological context in which seeds and their dispersers interact. Our investigation disentangles for the first time the hierarchy of synergic

  18. Oecophylla smaragdina food conversion efficiency: prospects for ant farming

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2011-01-01

    Oecophylla ants are sold at high prices on several commercial markets as a human delicacy, as pet food or as traditional medicine. Currently markets are supplied by ants collected from the wild; however, an increasing interest in ant farming exists as all harvest is easily sold and as ant farming...... can be combined with the use of the ants in biological control programmes in tropical plantations where pest insects are converted into ant biomass. To assess the cost-benefits of ant farming based on artificial feeding, food consumption and food conversion efficiency (ECI) of Oecophylla smaragdina...... (Fabricius) was tested under laboratory conditions. Of the two types of food offered, the ants ingested 76% pure sucrose and 24% insect prey (dry weights) leading to ECI’s of 29% and 39% including brood only or brood plus imago gain, respectively. Based on Thai sugar and protein food costs and ant brood...

  19. The use of weaver ants (Oecophylla spp.) in tropical agriculture

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2011-01-01

    Canopy dwelling weaver ants are widely distributed throughout the Old World Tropics where they build up high densities on their host trees. If managed properly the high number of ants will control a range of pest insects and benefit crop production. Simultaneously the ant larvae production, fuelled...... by the consumed pest insects, can be harvested and utilised for nutrition as they are tasty and high in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Thus, plantations may function as ant farms and in addition to plant production also hosts the production of edible animal protein. In this setup harmful pest insects are turned...... farming as a way forward to solve an increasing future demand for protein. Weaver ant farming may build on natural food collected by the ants or alternatively be boosted by feeding the ant colonies actively with protein and sugar. In both cases, when ant biocontrol is combined with ant farming...

  20. Oecophylla smaragdina food conversion efficiency: prospects for ant farming

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2011-01-01

    (Fabricius) was tested under laboratory conditions. Of the two types of food offered, the ants ingested 76% pure sucrose and 24% insect prey (dry weights) leading to ECI’s of 29% and 39% including brood only or brood plus imago gain, respectively. Based on Thai sugar and protein food costs and ant brood......Oecophylla ants are sold at high prices on several commercial markets as a human delicacy, as pet food or as traditional medicine. Currently markets are supplied by ants collected from the wild; however, an increasing interest in ant farming exists as all harvest is easily sold and as ant farming...... can be combined with the use of the ants in biological control programmes in tropical plantations where pest insects are converted into ant biomass. To assess the cost-benefits of ant farming based on artificial feeding, food consumption and food conversion efficiency (ECI) of Oecophylla smaragdina...

  1. The descent of ant: field-measured performance of gliding ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munk, Yonatan; Yanoviak, Stephen P; Koehl, M A R; Dudley, Robert

    2015-05-01

    Gliding ants avoid predatory attacks and potentially mortal consequences of dislodgement from rainforest canopy substrates by directing their aerial descent towards nearby tree trunks. The ecologically relevant measure of performance for gliding ants is the ratio of net horizontal to vertical distance traveled over the course of a gliding trajectory, or glide index. To study variation in glide index, we measured three-dimensional trajectories of Cephalotes atratus ants gliding in natural rainforest habitats. We determined that righting phase duration, glide angle, and path directness all significantly influence variation in glide index. Unsuccessful landing attempts result in the ant bouncing off its target and being forced to make a second landing attempt. Our results indicate that ants are not passive gliders and that they exert active control over the aerodynamic forces they experience during their descent, despite their apparent lack of specialized control surfaces. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  2. Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains based on position distribution model of ant colony foraging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Liqiang; Dai, Yuntao; Gao, Jinyu

    2014-01-01

    Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains is a major research direction for ant colony optimization algorithm. In this paper, we propose a distribution model of ant colony foraging, through analysis of the relationship between the position distribution and food source in the process of ant colony foraging. We design a continuous domain optimization algorithm based on the model and give the form of solution for the algorithm, the distribution model of pheromone, the update rules of ant colony position, and the processing method of constraint condition. Algorithm performance against a set of test trials was unconstrained optimization test functions and a set of optimization test functions, and test results of other algorithms are compared and analyzed to verify the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.

  3. Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm for Continuous Domains Based on Position Distribution Model of Ant Colony Foraging

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Liqiang Liu

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains is a major research direction for ant colony optimization algorithm. In this paper, we propose a distribution model of ant colony foraging, through analysis of the relationship between the position distribution and food source in the process of ant colony foraging. We design a continuous domain optimization algorithm based on the model and give the form of solution for the algorithm, the distribution model of pheromone, the update rules of ant colony position, and the processing method of constraint condition. Algorithm performance against a set of test trials was unconstrained optimization test functions and a set of optimization test functions, and test results of other algorithms are compared and analyzed to verify the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.

  4. Ants as shell collectors: notes on land snail shells found around ant nests

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Barna Páll-Gergely

    2009-03-01

    Full Text Available We investigated the shell collecting activities of harvester ants (Messor spp. in semi-arid grasslands and shrubs in Turkey. We found eleven species of snails in the area, two of them were not collected by ants. Eight – mainly small sized – snail species were found on ant nests in a habitat characterized by shrubs, three in rocky grassland and four in a grassland habitat. Some shells (e.g. Chondrus zebrula tantalus, Multidentula ovularis might be taken into the nests, and we hypothesise that some of these snail species are consumed by ants (Monacha spp.. From a fauna inventory perspective, shell collecting activities of harvester ant may help malacologists to find snail species which are normally hidden for a specialist (e.g. Oxychilus hydatinus, Cecilioides spp. due to their special habits.

  5. Coralligenous habitat: patterns of vertical distribution of macroalgal assemblages

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luigi Piazzi

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available The present study investigates patterns of distribution of macroalgal coralligenous assemblages in relation to depth and evaluates the role of different environmental conditions on these patterns. Two depths (30 and 40 m were investigated off small islands and off continental coasts in order to select two different environmental conditions. Results showed differences between depths in the structure of assemblages around islands, while along the continental coasts these patterns were not evident. Moreover, differences between assemblages related to different environmental conditions were more evident in the shallower zone of distribution of the coralligenous habitat. This correlative study did not allow us to identify any cause-effect relationship, but patterns we detected agree with those of other studies, suggesting that alterations in the environmental conditions may be the cause of the decrease in differences among assemblages developing at different depths and may lead to a higher spatial homogenization and an impoverishment of the whole subtidal system.

  6. Large River Monitoring Forum Fish Assemblage Database 2016

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior — The Large River Monitoring Forum compiled fish assemblage data for five large rivers in the U.S. as a part of a coordinated effort to compare and contract river...

  7. Global assemblages and structural models of International Relations

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Corry, Olaf

    2014-01-01

    Rather than consigning assemblages to the micro-politics of international relations, the chapter argues that assemblages can also be seen to play a role in the ‘grand’ structures of international relations. Structural IR theory normally only considers how subjects are ordered – hierarchically......, anarchically, in core-periphery relations or in terms of networks. However, not only subjects but also assemblages – the bringing together of previously unconnected elements into novel constellations – play a critical role in structuring international relations. More specifically, one sub......-category of assemblages – those constructed as malleable and governable which I call ‘governance-objects’ – is central to structure in international relations. The chapter begins with standard definitions of what structures are – patterns of interaction between elements – and briefly covers the range of models currently...

  8. The distribution of weaver ant pheromones on host trees

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2007-01-01

    The visible anal spots deposited by Oecophylla smaragdina ants have been suggested to deter ant prey, affect interspecific competition and facilitate mutualists and parasites in tracking down Oecophylla ants. I measured the density of anal spots on host trees with and without ants and tested for ...... to leaves. Also there was a positive correlation between spot density and the likelihood of being detected by ants. Anal spots may thus function as reliable cues to interacting species and be an important factor in shaping the community around Oecophylla colonies.......The visible anal spots deposited by Oecophylla smaragdina ants have been suggested to deter ant prey, affect interspecific competition and facilitate mutualists and parasites in tracking down Oecophylla ants. I measured the density of anal spots on host trees with and without ants and tested...... for correlations between spot density, ant activity and the likelihood of being detected by an ant. Spots were only found on trees with ants. On ant-trees, spots were distributed throughout the trees but with higher densities in areas with high ant activity and pheromone densities were higher on twigs compared...

  9. Impacts of residual insecticide barriers on perimeter-invading ants, with particular reference to the odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scharf, Michael E; Ratliff, Catina R; Bennett, Gary W

    2004-04-01

    Three liquid insecticide formulations were evaluated as barrier treatments against perimeter-invading ants at a multifamily housing complex in West Lafayette, IN. Several ant species were present at the study site, including (in order of abundance) pavement ant, Tetramorium caespitum (L.); honey ant, Prenolepis imparis (Say); odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile (Say); thief ant, Solenopsis molesta (Say); acrobat ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi (Mayr); crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latrielle), field ants, Formica spp.; and carpenter ant Camponotus pennsylvanicus (DeGeer). Studies began in May 2001 and concluded 8 wk later in July. Individual replicate treatments were placed 0.61 in (2 feet) up and 0.92 m (3 feet) out from the ends of 46.1 by 10.1-m (151 by 33-foot) apartment buildings. Ant sampling was performed with 10 placements of moist cat food for 1 h within treatment zones, followed by capture and removal of recruited ants for later counting. All treatments led to substantial reductions in ant numbers relative to untreated controls. The most effective treatment was fipronil, where 2% of before-treatment ant numbers were present at 8 wk after treatment. Both imidacloprid and cyfluthrin barrier treatments had efficacy comparative with fipronil, but to 4 and 2 wk, respectively. Odorous house ants were not sampled before treatment. Comparisons of ant species composition between treatments and controls revealed an increase in odorous house ant frequencies at 1-8 wk after treatment in treated locations only. These results demonstrate efficacy for both nonrepellent and repellent liquid insecticides as perimeter treatments for pest ants. In addition, our findings with odorous house ant highlight an apparent invasive-like characteristic of this species that may contribute to its dramatic increase in structural infestation rates in many areas of the United States.

  10. Benthic foraminiferal assemblages help to understand carbonate mound evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rüggeberg, A.; Dorschel, B.; Dullo, C.; Hebbeln, D.; Freiwald, A.

    2003-04-01

    On- and off-mound sediment cores from Propeller Mound (Porcupine Seabight) were analysed for their benthic foraminiferal assemblages. Benthic foraminifera from the off-mound position show three different assemblages describing the Holocene, Oxygen Isotope Stage (OIS) 2 and late OIS 3. The Holocene assemblage is dominated by Uvigerina mediterranea, Trifarina angulosa, Melonis barleeanum, Hyalinea balthica, Bulimina marginata. These species are related to a higher supply of organic material. The glacial assemblage shows high abundances of Cassidulina teretis, C. reniforme, Globocassidulina subglobosa, and Cibicidoides kullenbergi, implying cold bottom waters and a reduced productivity. The lower part of late OIS 3 is dominated by Elphidium excavatum, which is displaced continuously by very high abundances of C. teretis towards the transition of OIS3/2. E. excavatum, a shallow shelf species generally reported from above 200 m water depth, and high amounts of sediment supplied to the core site points to shelf erosion related to sea level lowering (approx. 50 m). Towards OIS 2 the system returns to normal background sedimentation pattern. We transferred the established off-mound assemblages onto the on-mound core, in which the sediment sequence is incomplete characterised by numerous hiatuses. The Holocene assemblage describes almost the complete core with relative abundances of >20%, interrupted only by three sections with slightly higher amounts of the glacial assemblage, which are not comparable to abundances of >70% of the glacial assemblage found in the off-mound core. These results are in conjunction with stable oxygen isotope data indicating only interstadial values, assuming peak glacial and interglacial sediments to be removed from the mound. Another assemblage described for the on-mound core is dominated by Discanomalina coronata, Gavelinopsis translucens, Planulina ariminensis, Cibicides lobatulus and to a lower degree by Hyrrokkin sarcophaga. These species

  11. Quantifying Assemblage Turnover and Species Contributions at Ecologic Boundaries

    OpenAIRE

    Hayek,Lee-Ann C.; Brent Wilson

    2013-01-01

    Not all boundaries, whether stratigraphical or geographical, are marked by species-level changes in community composition. For example, paleodata for some sites do not show readily discernible glacial-interglacial contrasts. Rather, the proportional abundances of species can vary subtly between glacials and interglacials. This paper presents a simple quantitative measure of assemblage turnover (assemblage turnover index, ATI) that uses changes in species' proportional abundances to identify i...

  12. Privatization by Other Means: Social Power, Tankers and Techno-Assemblages of Water Supply in Amman, Jordan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mustafa, D.

    2016-12-01

    Combined piped and tanker based water supply systems have become a ubiquitous feature of urban waterscapes in the global South. Jordanian water sector, and Amman in particular has been a recipient of considerable international financial and technical assistance over the past decades. The international assistance has coupled with the Jordanian state's own pro-market ideological stance, and its political compulsions to spawn a techno-social assemblage of water supply that represents a hybrid state and commercial water supply system. I present the results of a field study in Amman, Jordan on water tankers and water users to understand the techno-political underpinnings of the hybrid system and its impact on differential access to water. I explore how Actor Network Theory (ANT) based analysis of tankers, suction pumps and piped water system and their materiality may explain differential access to water. But that exploration is inflected by a larger political ecological concern with questions of power and discourses about citizenship and claim making on the state. I find that ANT based focus on water technologies, while ontologically fertile, and epistemologically innovative, is nevertheless politically barren. Much richer political insights are to be gained from structural and post-structurally based investigations of the discursive and material drivers of the techno-social assemblages of water supply. The technologies don't just neutrally impact water access, but seem to almost intentionally favour the powerful over the powerless. Surely the political agency must not reside in inanimate technologies but in the social actors and structures that fashion those technologies, and configure them such to reinforce geographies of power. I call for a renewed focus on social power and how its impact on lived geographies is mediated by technology.

  13. Maintaining animal assemblages through single-species management: the case of threatened caribou in boreal forest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bichet, Orphé; Dupuch, Angélique; Hébert, Christian; Le Borgne, Hélène Le; Fortin, Daniel

    2016-03-01

    With the intensification of human activities, preserving animal populations is a contemporary challenge of critical importance. In this context, the umbrella species concept is appealing because preserving a single species should result in the protection of multiple co-occurring species. Practitioners, though, face the task of having to find suitable umbrellas to develop single-species management guidelines. In North America, boreal forests must be managed to facilitate the recovery of the threatened boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus). Yet, the effect of caribou conservation on co-occurring animal species remains poorly documented. We tested if boreal caribou can constitute an effective umbrella for boreal fauna. Birds, small mammals, and insects were sampled along gradients of post-harvest and post-fire forest succession. Predictive models of occupancy were developed from the responses of 95 species to characteristics of forest stands and their surroundings. We then assessed the similarity of species occupancy expected between simulated harvested landscapes and a 90 000-km2 uncut landscape. Managed landscapes were simulated based on three levels of disturbance, two timber-harvest rotation cycles, and dispersed or aggregated cut-blocks. We found that management guidelines that were more likely to maintain caribou populations should also better preserve animal assemblages. Relative to fragmentation or harvest cycle, we detected a stronger effect of habitat loss on species assemblages. Disturbing 22%, 35%, and 45% of the landscape should result, respectively, in 80%, 60%, and 40% probability for caribou populations to be sustainable; in turn, this should result in regional species assemblages with Jaccard similarity indices of 0.86, 0.79, and 0.74, respectively, relative to the uncut landscape. Our study thus demonstrates the value of single-species management for animal conservation. Our quantitative approach allows for the evaluation of management guidelines prior

  14. Taxonomic and Phylogenetic Determinants of Functional Composition of Bolivian Bat Assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aguirre, Luis F.; Montaño-Centellas, Flavia A.; Gavilanez, M. Mercedes; Stevens, Richard D.

    2016-01-01

    Understanding diversity patterns and the potential mechanisms driving them is a fundamental goal in ecology. Examination of different dimensions of biodiversity can provide insights into the relative importance of different processes acting upon biotas to shape communities. Unfortunately, patterns of diversity are still poorly understood in hyper-diverse tropical countries. Here, we assess spatial variation of taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity of bat assemblages in one of the least studied Neotropical countries, Bolivia, and determine whether changes in biodiversity are explained by the replacement of species or functional groups, or by differences in richness (i.e., gain or loss of species or functional groups). Further, we evaluate the contribution of phylogenetic and taxonomic changes in the resulting patterns of functional diversity of bats. Using well-sampled assemblages from published studies we examine noctilionoid bats at ten study sites across five ecoregions in Bolivia. Bat assemblages differed from each other in all dimensions of biodiversity considered; however, diversity patterns for each dimension were likely structured by different mechanisms. Within ecoregions, differences were largely explained by species richness, suggesting that the gain or loss of species or functional groups (as opposed to replacement) was driving dissimilarity patterns. Overall, our results suggest that whereas evolutionary processes (i.e., historical connection and dispersal routes across Bolivia) create a template of diversity patterns across the country, ecological mechanisms modify these templates, decoupling the observed patterns of functional, taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity in Bolivian bats. Our results suggests that elevation represents an important source of variability among diversity patterns for each dimension of diversity considered. Further, we found that neither phylogenetic nor taxonomic diversity can fully account for patterns of functional

  15. Taxonomic and Phylogenetic Determinants of Functional Composition of Bolivian Bat Assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luis F Aguirre

    Full Text Available Understanding diversity patterns and the potential mechanisms driving them is a fundamental goal in ecology. Examination of different dimensions of biodiversity can provide insights into the relative importance of different processes acting upon biotas to shape communities. Unfortunately, patterns of diversity are still poorly understood in hyper-diverse tropical countries. Here, we assess spatial variation of taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity of bat assemblages in one of the least studied Neotropical countries, Bolivia, and determine whether changes in biodiversity are explained by the replacement of species or functional groups, or by differences in richness (i.e., gain or loss of species or functional groups. Further, we evaluate the contribution of phylogenetic and taxonomic changes in the resulting patterns of functional diversity of bats. Using well-sampled assemblages from published studies we examine noctilionoid bats at ten study sites across five ecoregions in Bolivia. Bat assemblages differed from each other in all dimensions of biodiversity considered; however, diversity patterns for each dimension were likely structured by different mechanisms. Within ecoregions, differences were largely explained by species richness, suggesting that the gain or loss of species or functional groups (as opposed to replacement was driving dissimilarity patterns. Overall, our results suggest that whereas evolutionary processes (i.e., historical connection and dispersal routes across Bolivia create a template of diversity patterns across the country, ecological mechanisms modify these templates, decoupling the observed patterns of functional, taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity in Bolivian bats. Our results suggests that elevation represents an important source of variability among diversity patterns for each dimension of diversity considered. Further, we found that neither phylogenetic nor taxonomic diversity can fully account for

  16. Characterization of silicifid fossil assemblage from upper Carnian “Amphiclina beds” at Crngrob (central Slovenia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luka Gale

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available The village of Crngrob (central Slovenia is known to geologists for the silicifid fossils found in the thick soil covering the “Amphiclina beds”, a Carnian lithostratigraphic unit of the Mesozoic Slovenian Basin. Due to silicifiation, the assemblage may provide an important insight into Carnian marine life; however, the nature of the fossil assemblage, as well as the timing and mode of silicifiation are unknown. A detailed sedimentological section, which covers the uppermost part of the “Amphiclina beds” and their transition to the “Bača Dolomite”, was recorded at one of the fossil-bearing localities. The section consists of limestone (including bioturbated fiament and radiolaria-fiament wackestones, laminated fiament packstone, bioclast wackestone, peloid packstone, flatstone with intraclasts and bioclasts, and intraclast flatstone and rudstone, marlstone and dolomite. Chert is locally present in nodules or as dispersed silicifid patches, giving a speckled appearance to the host rock. According to our interpretation, the deposition of the limestone occurred via hemipelagic settling, turbidite currents and debris flws in a slope-to-basin or outer ramp setting. The composition of the grains (which include green algae fragments, thick-shelled bivalves, corals and solenoporacean algae clearly points to the allochthonous nature of the material, which was largely derived from shallow-water environments. Fossils, as well as the intraclasts and sometimes the matrix, are locally replaced by chalcedony and granular megaquartz. This type of silicifiation does not appear to be selective to particular microfacies. As the silicifiation occurred after the down-slope transport of shells and the deposition of the sediment, the Crngrob fossil assemblage represents a thanatocoenosis or even a taphocoenosis, and it is not representative of autochthonous Carnian associations.

  17. Mating with stressed males increases the fitness of ant queens.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexandra Schrempf

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: According to sexual conflict theory, males can increase their own fitness by transferring substances during copulation that increase the short-term fecundity of their mating partners at the cost of the future life expectancy and re-mating capability of the latter. In contrast, sexual cooperation is expected in social insects. Mating indeed positively affects life span and fecundity of young queens of the male-polymorphic ant Cardiocondyla obscurior, even though males neither provide nuptial gifts nor any other care but leave their mates immediately after copulation and die shortly thereafter. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, we show that mating with winged disperser males has a significantly stronger impact on life span and reproductive success of young queens of C. obscurior than mating with wingless fighter males. CONCLUSIONS: Winged males are reared mostly under stressful environmental conditions, which force young queens to disperse and found their own societies independently. In contrast, queens that mate with wingless males under favourable conditions usually start reproducing in the safety of the established maternal nest. Our study suggests that males of C. obscurior have evolved mechanisms to posthumously assist young queens during colony founding under adverse ecological conditions.

  18. Copepod assemblages in a highly complex hydrographic region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berasategui, A. D.; Menu Marque, S.; Gómez-Erache, M.; Ramírez, F. C.; Mianzan, H. W.; Acha, E. M.

    2006-02-01

    Community structure and diversity patterns of planktonic copepods were investigated for the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean between 34 and 41°S. Our objectives were (1) to define copepod assemblages, (2) to accurately identify their association to different water masses/hydrodynamic regimes, (3) to characterize the assemblages in terms of their community structure, and (4) to test if frontal boundaries between water masses separate copepod assemblages. Biogeographic patterns were investigated using multivariate analysis (cluster and ANOSIM analyses). Biodiversity patterns were examined using different univariate indexes (point species richness and taxonomic distinctness). Five regions of similar copepod assemblages were defined for our study area each one corresponding to different environments (freshwater, estuarine, continental shelf, Malvinas and Brazil current assemblages). These assemblages have major community structure differences. In spite of the complex oceanographic scenario of our study area, that can lead us to expect a pattern of copepod communities with diffuse boundaries, we found a strong spatial correspondence between these limits and the presence of permanent frontal structures.

  19. Cenozoic terrestrial palynological assemblages in the glacial erratics from the Grove Mountains, east Antarctica

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Aimin Fang; Xiaohan Liu; Weiming Wang; Feixin Huang; Lianjun Yu

    2009-01-01

    Fossiliferous glacial erratics have been found in moraines of the Grove Mountains, east Antarctica since 1998 by Chinese National Antarctic Research Expedition (CHNARE) teams. These erratics were derived from a suite of glaciogene strata hidden beneath the Ant-arctic Ice Sheet in the Lambert glacier drainage system, and thus provide a record of Cenozoic paleoenvironmental conditions and fossil biotas that are so far unknown from outcrops and drill cores in this region. By microfossil analysis, sparse Neogene spores and pollen grains are revealed, including: Toroisporis (Lygodiaceae), Granulatisporites (Pteridaceae?), Osmunda (Osmundaceae), Polypodiaceae, Magnastriatites (Parkeriaceae), Deltoidospora, Araucariaceae, Taxodiaceae, Podocarpus (Podocarpaceae), Dacrydium (Podocarpaceae), Pinus (Pinaceae), Keteleeria (Pinaceae), Picea (Pinaceae), Tsuga (Pinaceae), Chenopodiaceae, Artemisia (Asteraceae), Asteraceae, Grami-neae, Fraxinoipollenites (Oleaceae), Oleoidearumpollenites (Oleaceae), Oleaceae, Operculumpollis, Nothofagidites (Nothofagus), Rhus, Quercus (Fagaceae), Juglans (Juglandaceae), Pterocarya (Juglandaceae), Liquidambar (Hamamelidaceae), Ulmus (Ulmaceae), Ulmoidep-ites (Ulmaceae), Tilia, Proteacidites (Proteaceae) and Tricolpopollenites; but without any marine diatoms. Most of the spores and pollen grains in the erratics are considered to originate from local sources except for some older exotic components that might be recycled from the basement sedimentary rocks by the ice sheet, so they are in situ sporo-palynological assemblages. Furthermore, since the source areas of the glaciogenic sedimentary rocks are assumed to be local or in the up glacier areas, the palynological assemblages in these erratics represent an inland terrestrial flora during a warmer period of the ice-sheet evolutionary history. The ages of these erratics are also dis-cussed based on the occurrence of some diagnostic pollens such as the Artemisia, Chenopodiaceae and Nothofagus, which

  20. Fossil evidence for the early ant evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perrichot, Vincent; Lacau, Sébastien; Néraudeau, Didier; Nel, André

    2008-02-01

    Ants are one of the most studied insects in the world; and the literature devoted to their origin and evolution, systematics, ecology, or interactions with plants, fungi and other organisms is prolific. However, no consensus yet exists on the age estimate of the first Formicidae or on the origin of their eusociality. We review the fossil and biogeographical record of all known Cretaceous ants. We discuss the possible origin of the Formicidae with emphasis on the most primitive subfamily Sphecomyrminae according to its distribution and the Early Cretaceous palaeogeography. And we review the evidence of true castes and eusociality of the early ants regarding their morphological features and their manner of preservation in amber. The mid-Cretaceous amber forest from south-western France where some of the oldest known ants lived, corresponded to a moist tropical forest close to the shore with a dominance of gymnosperm trees but where angiosperms (flowering plants) were already diversified. This palaeoenvironmental reconstruction supports an initial radiation of ants in forest ground litter coincident with the rise of angiosperms, as recently proposed as an ecological explanation for their origin and successful evolution.

  1. Lycaenid Caterpillar Secretions Manipulate Attendant Ant Behavior.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hojo, Masaru K; Pierce, Naomi E; Tsuji, Kazuki

    2015-08-31

    Mutualistic interactions typically involve the exchange of different commodities between species. Nutritious secretions are produced by a number of insects and plants in exchange for services such as defense. These rewards are valuable metabolically and can be used to reinforce the behavior of symbiotic partners that can learn and remember them effectively. We show here novel effects of insect exocrine secretions produced by caterpillars in modulating the behavior of attendant ants in the food-for-defense interaction between lycaenid butterflies and ants. Reward secretions from the dorsal nectary organ (DNO) of Narathura japonica caterpillars function to reduce the locomotory activities of their attendant ants, Pristomyrmex punctatus workers. Moreover, workers that feed from caterpillar secretions are significantly more likely to show aggressive responses to eversion of the tentacle organs of the caterpillars. Analysis of the neurogenic amines in the brains of workers that consumed caterpillar secretions showed a significant decrease in levels of dopamine compared with controls. Experimental treatments in which reserpine, a known inhibitor of dopamine in Drosophila, was fed to workers similarly reduced their locomotory activity. We conclude that DNO secretions of lycaenid caterpillars can manipulate attendant ant behavior by altering dopaminergic regulation and increasing partner fidelity. Unless manipulated ants also receive a net nutritional benefit from DNO secretions, this suggests that similar reward-for-defense interactions that have been traditionally considered to be mutualisms may in fact be parasitic in nature. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Fuzzy Rules for Ant Based Clustering Algorithm

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amira Hamdi

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper provides a new intelligent technique for semisupervised data clustering problem that combines the Ant System (AS algorithm with the fuzzy c-means (FCM clustering algorithm. Our proposed approach, called F-ASClass algorithm, is a distributed algorithm inspired by foraging behavior observed in ant colonyT. The ability of ants to find the shortest path forms the basis of our proposed approach. In the first step, several colonies of cooperating entities, called artificial ants, are used to find shortest paths in a complete graph that we called graph-data. The number of colonies used in F-ASClass is equal to the number of clusters in dataset. Hence, the partition matrix of dataset founded by artificial ants is given in the second step, to the fuzzy c-means technique in order to assign unclassified objects generated in the first step. The proposed approach is tested on artificial and real datasets, and its performance is compared with those of K-means, K-medoid, and FCM algorithms. Experimental section shows that F-ASClass performs better according to the error rate classification, accuracy, and separation index.

  3. DETECTION AND COMPARISON OF GIARDIAVIRUS (GLV) FROM DIFFERENT ASSEMBLAGES OF GIARDIA DUODENALIS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Five assemblages of Giardia were identified from cysts in cattle, dog, cat, sheep, and reindeer feces using ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequencing. Assemblage A was present in cattle and reindeer feces, Assemblages C and D were present in dog feces, Assemblage E was present in cattle and sheep feces, and ...

  4. Seed removal in a tropical North American desert: an evaluation of pre- and post-dispersal seed removal in Stenocereus stellatus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Álvarez-Espino, R; Ríos-Casanova, L; Godínez-Álvarez, H

    2016-12-31

    To determine seed removal influence on seed populations, we need to quantify pre- and post-dispersal seed removal. Several studies have quantified seed removal in temperate American deserts, but few studies have been performed in tropical deserts. These studies have only quantified pre- or post-dispersal seed removal, thus underestimating the influence of seed removal. We evaluated pre- and post-dispersal seed removal in the columnar cactus Stenocereus stellatus in a Mexican tropical desert. We performed selective exclosure experiments to estimate percentage of seeds removed by ants, birds and rodents during the pre- and post-dispersal phases. We also conducted field samplings to estimate abundance of the most common seed removers. Birds (10-28%) removed a higher percentage of seeds than ants (2%) and rodents (1-4%) during pre-dispersal seed removal. Melanerpes hypopolius was probably the main bird removing seeds from fruits. Ants (62-64%) removed a higher percentage of seeds than birds (34-38%) and rodents (16-30%) during post-dispersal seed removal. Pogonomyrmex barbatus was probably the main ant removing seeds from soil. Birds and ants are the main pre- and post-dispersal seed removers in S. stellatus, respectively. Further studies in other S. stellatus populations and plants with different life forms and fruit types will contribute to evaluate seed removal in tropical American deserts.

  5. Synchrony between fruit maturation and effective dispersers' foraging activity increases seed protection against seed predators.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boulay, Raphaël; Carro, Francisco; Soriguer, Ramón C; Cerdá, Xim

    2007-10-22

    The evolution of pollination and seed dispersal mutualisms is conditioned by the spatial and temporal co-occurrence of animals and plants. In the present study we explore the timing of seed release of a myrmecochorous plant (Helleborus foetidus) and ant activity in two populations in southern Spain during 2 consecutive years. The results indicate that fruit dehiscence and seed shedding occur mostly in the morning and correspond to the period of maximum foraging activity of the most effective ant dispersers. By contrast, ant species that do not transport seeds and/or that do not abound near the plants are active either before or after H. foetidus diaspores are released. Experimental analysis of diet preference for three kinds of food shows that effective ant dispersers are mostly scavengers that readily feed on insect corpses and sugars. Artificial seed depots suggest that seeds deposited on the ground out of the natural daily time window of diaspore releasing are not removed by ants and suffer strong predation by nocturnal rodents Apodemus sylvaticus. Nevertheless, important inter-annual variations in rodent populations cast doubts on their real importance as selection agents. We argue that traits allowing synchrony between seed presentation and effective partners may constitute a crucial pre-adaptation for the evolution of plant-animal mutualisms involving numerous animal partners.

  6. The Miocene carnivore assemblage of Greece

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Koufos, G. D.

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available The Miocene carnivore assemblage of Greece includes a great number of taxa, described in numerous articles since the first decades of the 19th Century. The present article is a revision of all these taxa, providing information about their history, localities, age, as well as their stratigraphic distribution and palaeoenvironment. The Early/Middle Miocene carnivore record of Greece is poor as the available fossiliferous sites and material are rare. However, the Late Miocene one is quite rich, including numerous taxa. The Miocene localities with carnivores and their age are given in a stratigraphic table covering the European Mammal zones from MN 4 to MN 13. The type locality, holotype, and some historical and morphological remarks are given for each taxon. Several carnivore taxa were erected from Greek material and new photos of their holotypes are given. The stratigraphic distribution of the Greek carnivore taxa indicates that they are covering the time span from ~19.0-5.3Ma. The majority of the Miocene taxa (Adcrocuta, Hyaenictitherium, Plioviverrops, Protictitherium, Ictitherium, Indarctos, Dinocrocuta, Promephitis disappeared at the end of Miocene. The composition of the Early/Middle Miocene carnivore assemblage of Greece includes mainly viverrids (Lophocyon, Euboictis, while the hyaenids, percrocutids, felids and mustelids are very few. On the contrary the Late Miocene assemblage is richer, including more subfamilies and species; the hyaenids and mustelids dominate, while the viverrids are absent. The Late Miocene carnivore guild structure is similar to that of the modern Serengeti, indicating a relatively open, savannah-like environment.

    La asociación de carnívoros miocenos de Grecia incluye un gran número de taxones, descritos en numerosos artículos desde las primeras décadas del siglo XIX. El presente artículo supone un esfuerzo de síntesis de todos estos taxones, suministrando información sobre su

  7. Factors influencing riverine fish assemblages in Massachusetts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Armstrong, David S.; Richards, Todd A.; Levin, Sara B.

    2011-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, conducted an investigation of fish assemblages in small- to medium-sized Massachusetts streams. The objective of this study was to determine relations between fish-assemblage characteristics and anthropogenic factors, including impervious cover and estimated flow alteration, relative to the effects of environmental factors, including physical-basin characteristics and land use. The results of this investigation supersede those of a preliminary analysis published in 2010. Fish data were obtained for 669 fish-sampling sites from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife fish-community database. A review of the literature was used to select fish metrics - species richness, abundance of individual species, and abundances of species grouped on life history traits - responsive to flow alteration. The contributing areas to the fish-sampling sites were delineated and used with a geographic information system to determine a set of environmental and anthropogenic factors that were tested for use as explanatory variables in regression models. Reported and estimated withdrawals and return flows were used together with simulated unaltered streamflows to estimate altered streamflows and indicators of flow alteration for each fish-sampling site. Altered streamflows and indicators of flow alteration were calculated on the basis of methods developed in a previous U.S. Geological Survey study in which unaltered daily streamflows were simulated for a 44-year period (water years 1961-2004), and streamflow alterations were estimated by use of water-withdrawal and wastewater-return data previously reported to the State for the 2000-04 period and estimated domestic-well withdrawals and septic-system discharges. A variable selection process, conducted using principal

  8. A genetic evolving ant direction DE for OPF with non-smooth cost functions and statistical analysis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vaisakh, K. [Department of Electrical Engineering, AU College of Engineering, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam-530003, AP (India); Srinivas, L.R. [Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, S.R.K.R. Engineering College, Bhimavaram-534204, AP (India)

    2010-08-15

    This paper proposes an evolving ant direction differential evolution (EADDE) algorithm for solving the optimal power flow problem with non-smooth and non-convex generator fuel cost characteristics. The EADDE employs ant colony search to find a suitable mutation operator for differential evolution (DE) whereas the ant colony parameters are evolved using genetic algorithm approach. The Newton-Raphson method solves the power flow problem. The feasibility of the proposed approach was tested on IEEE 30-bus system with three different cost characteristics. Several cases were investigated to test and validate the robustness of the proposed method in finding the optimal solution. Simulation results demonstrate that the EADDE provides superior results compared to a classical DE and other methods recently reported in the literature. An innovative statistical analysis based on central tendency measures and dispersion measures was carried out on the bus voltage profiles and voltage stability indices. (author)

  9. Detection of mitochondrial COII DNA sequences in ant guts as a method for assessing termite predation by ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fayle, Tom M; Scholtz, Olivia; Dumbrell, Alex J; Russell, Stephen; Segar, Simon T; Eggleton, Paul

    2015-01-01

    Termites and ants contribute more to animal biomass in tropical rain forests than any other single group and perform vital ecosystem functions. Although ants prey on termites, at the community level the linkage between these groups is poorly understood. Thus, assessing the distribution and specificity of ant termitophagy is of considerable interest. We describe an approach for quantifying ant-termite food webs by sequencing termite DNA (cytochrome c oxidase subunit II, COII) from ant guts and apply this to a soil-dwelling ant community from tropical rain forest in Gabon. We extracted DNA from 215 ants from 15 species. Of these, 17.2 % of individuals had termite DNA in their guts, with BLAST analysis confirming the identity of 34.1 % of these termites to family level or better. Although ant species varied in detection of termite DNA, ranging from 63 % (5/7; Camponotus sp. 1) to 0 % (0/7; Ponera sp. 1), there was no evidence (with small sample sizes) for heterogeneity in termite consumption across ant taxa, and no evidence for species-specific ant-termite predation. In all three ant species with identifiable termite DNA in multiple individuals, multiple termite species were represented. Furthermore, the two termite species that were detected on multiple occasions in ant guts were in both cases found in multiple ant species, suggesting that ant-termite food webs are not strongly compartmentalised. However, two ant species were found to consume only Anoplotermes-group termites, indicating possible predatory specialisation at a higher taxonomic level. Using a laboratory feeding test, we were able to detect termite COII sequences in ant guts up to 2 h after feeding, indicating that our method only detects recent feeding events. Our data provide tentative support for the hypothesis that unspecialised termite predation by ants is widespread and highlight the use of molecular approaches for future studies of ant-termite food webs.

  10. Detection of mitochondrial COII DNA sequences in ant guts as a method for assessing termite predation by ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom M Fayle

    Full Text Available Termites and ants contribute more to animal biomass in tropical rain forests than any other single group and perform vital ecosystem functions. Although ants prey on termites, at the community level the linkage between these groups is poorly understood. Thus, assessing the distribution and specificity of ant termitophagy is of considerable interest. We describe an approach for quantifying ant-termite food webs by sequencing termite DNA (cytochrome c oxidase subunit II, COII from ant guts and apply this to a soil-dwelling ant community from tropical rain forest in Gabon. We extracted DNA from 215 ants from 15 species. Of these, 17.2 % of individuals had termite DNA in their guts, with BLAST analysis confirming the identity of 34.1 % of these termites to family level or better. Although ant species varied in detection of termite DNA, ranging from 63 % (5/7; Camponotus sp. 1 to 0 % (0/7; Ponera sp. 1, there was no evidence (with small sample sizes for heterogeneity in termite consumption across ant taxa, and no evidence for species-specific ant-termite predation. In all three ant species with identifiable termite DNA in multiple individuals, multiple termite species were represented. Furthermore, the two termite species that were detected on multiple occasions in ant guts were in both cases found in multiple ant species, suggesting that ant-termite food webs are not strongly compartmentalised. However, two ant species were found to consume only Anoplotermes-group termites, indicating possible predatory specialisation at a higher taxonomic level. Using a laboratory feeding test, we were able to detect termite COII sequences in ant guts up to 2 h after feeding, indicating that our method only detects recent feeding events. Our data provide tentative support for the hypothesis that unspecialised termite predation by ants is widespread and highlight the use of molecular approaches for future studies of ant-termite food webs.

  11. Characteristics of the production of underground fruits and seed dispersal of Crocus alatavicus, a geophytic-geocarpic species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ziyan Fu

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available Geophytic-geocarpy is a special type of fruit production in angiosperms, whereby flowers with a long tubular perianth arise from underground buds and bloom above ground with the ovary and subsequent fruit remaining below ground. Crocus alatavicus, a geophytic-geocarpic species, is a perennial early-spring ephemeral that grows in subalpine areas of the western Tianshan Mountains. Based on field observations and controlled experiments, development of the underground ovaries and young fruits and seed dispersal were investigated for C. alatavicus and their adaptive significance analyzed. The results showed that developmental time from flowering to emergence of the underground capsules above the soil was about 35 days, and emergence of the underground capsules results from elongation of the peduncles, and then capsules dehisce and seeds are dispersed. Seeds of C. alatavicus have an elaiosome, which is typical of myrmecochores. Ants make a significant contribution to seed dispersal, and three ant species, Formica pressilabris, F. gagates and F. fusca, were recorded near newly-dispersed seeds of C. alatavicus. The visiting frequency of F. pressilabris was the highest, but F. fusca removed seeds faster and to a greater distance than the other two species. The average dispersal distance of the three ant species was 62.4±1.7 cm. Formica pressilabris, the major ant species taking seeds, ate the elaiosome after it moved the seeds into its nest and then stored more than 50% of the transported seeds in the nest. Rodents and birds had no effect on seed dispersal of C. alatavicus, but hydrophily and anemophily played a minor role in short-distance dispersal. Formation of seeds underground and their dispersal by ants help ensure that seeds escape damage from herbivores and fire and that they are dispersed in a manner that reduces sib-competition and competition between mother plant and offspring, thereby ensuring seed germination and seedling establishment in

  12. Climate change and body size shift in Mediterranean bivalve assemblages: unexpected role of biological invasions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nawrot, Rafał; Albano, Paolo G; Chattopadhyay, Devapriya; Zuschin, Martin

    2017-08-16

    Body size is a synthetic functional trait determining many key ecosystem properties. Reduction in average body size has been suggested as one of the universal responses to global warming in aquatic ecosystems. Climate change, however, coincides with human-enhanced dispersal of alien species and can facilitate their establishment. We address effects of species introductions on the size structure of recipient communities using data on Red Sea bivalves entering the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal. We show that the invasion leads to increase in median body size of the Mediterranean assemblage. Alien species are significantly larger than native Mediterranean bivalves, even though they represent a random subset of the Red Sea species with respect to body size. The observed patterns result primarily from the differences in the taxonomic composition and body-size distributions of the source and recipient species pools. In contrast to the expectations based on the general temperature-size relationships in marine ectotherms, continued warming of the Mediterranean Sea indirectly leads to an increase in the proportion of large-bodied species in bivalve assemblages by accelerating the entry and spread of tropical aliens. These results underscore complex interactions between changing climate and species invasions in driving functional shifts in marine ecosystems. © 2017 The Author(s).

  13. Spatial distribution of fish assemblages along environmental gradients in the temporary ponds of Northern Pantanal, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karina K. Tondato

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available Ten temporary ponds in northern Pantanal were studied in July 2006 to explore whether a spatial distribution pattern existed in the composition of fish assemblages, and to identify which environmental variables determined their distribution. The existence of any spatial pattern was tested using the multivariate Mantel correlogram, while the influence of environmental variables was quantified by a Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA. A total of 8735 individuals was sampled from 29 species, predominantly represented by Hyphessobrycon elachys and Serrapinnus calliurus. Composition of fish assemblages varied among ponds, but this variation had no significant spatial pattern for any of the distance classes considered, thus indicating that the species composition varied independently of the distance between ponds. This suggests that stochastic dispersal processes did not influence the spatial structure of species, as predicted by the neutral theory. Conversely, species composition in the ponds was determined by variables that included depth, macrophyte richness and cover. Species such as Markiana nigripinnis, Crenicichla vittata and Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae occurred in deeper waters, while Parauchenipterus striatulus, Eigenmannia trilineata and Psellogrammus kennedyi were mainly associated with greater richness and macrophyte cover, as already demonstrated by the niche theory applied in ponds which tended to have similar characteristics and a similar fish composition.

  14. Mass effects meet species sorting: transformations of microbial assemblages in epiphreatic subsurface karst water pools.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shabarova, Tanja; Widmer, Franco; Pernthaler, Jakob

    2013-09-01

    We investigated the transformations of the microbial communities in epiphreatic karst cave pools with different flooding frequencies. Fingerprinting of 16S rRNA genes was combined with microscopic and sequence analysis to examine if source water would transport comparable microbial inocula into the pools at consecutive flood events, and to assess possible effects of residence time on the microbial assemblages during stagnant periods. Variability in the concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and conductivity indicated differences between floods and changes of pool water over time. High numbers of Betaproteobacteria affiliated with Methylophilaceae and Comamonadaceae were introduced into the pools during floodings. While the former persisted in the pools, the latter exhibited considerable microdiversification. These Betaproteobacteria might thus represent core microbial groups in karst water. A decrease in the estimated total diversity of the remaining bacterial taxa was apparent after a few weeks of residence: Some were favoured by stagnant conditions, whereas the majority was rapidly outcompeted. Thus, the microbial communities consisted of different components governed by complementary assembly mechanisms (dispersal versus environmental filtering) upon introduction into the pools. High overlap of temporary and persistent community members between samplings from two winters, moreover, reflected the seasonal recurrence of the studied microbial assemblages. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for Applied Microbiology.

  15. Desert ants learn vibration and magnetic landmarks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cornelia Buehlmann

    Full Text Available The desert ants Cataglyphis navigate not only by path integration but also by using visual and olfactory landmarks to pinpoint the nest entrance. Here we show that Cataglyphis noda can additionally use magnetic and vibrational landmarks as nest-defining cues. The magnetic field may typically provide directional rather than positional information, and vibrational signals so far have been shown to be involved in social behavior. Thus it remains questionable if magnetic and vibration landmarks are usually provided by the ants' habitat as nest-defining cues. However, our results point to the flexibility of the ants' navigational system, which even makes use of cues that are probably most often sensed in a different context.

  16. Kin-informative recognition cues in ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nehring, Volker; Evison, Sophie E F; Santorelli, Lorenzo A

    2011-01-01

    behaviour is thought to be rare in one of the classic examples of cooperation--social insect colonies--because the colony-level costs of individual selfishness select against cues that would allow workers to recognize their closest relatives. In accord with this, previous studies of wasps and ants have...... found little or no kin information in recognition cues. Here, we test the hypothesis that social insects do not have kin-informative recognition cues by investigating the recognition cues and relatedness of workers from four colonies of the ant Acromyrmex octospinosus. Contrary to the theoretical...... prediction, we show that the cuticular hydrocarbons of ant workers in all four colonies are informative enough to allow full-sisters to be distinguished from half-sisters with a high accuracy. These results contradict the hypothesis of non-heritable recognition cues and suggest that there is more potential...

  17. Moribund Ants Do Not Call for Help.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Krzysztof Miler

    Full Text Available When an antlion captures a foraging ant, the victim's nestmates may display rescue behaviour. This study tested the hypothesis that the expression of rescue behaviour depends on the life expectancy of the captured ant. This hypothesis predicts that the expression of rescue behaviour will be less frequent when the captured ant has a lower life expectancy than when it has a higher life expectancy because such a response would be adaptive at the colony level. Indeed, significant differences were found in the frequency of rescue behaviours in response to antlion victims with differing life expectancies. In agreement with prediction, victims with lower life expectancies were rescued less frequently, and those rescues had a longer latency and shorter duration. There was also a qualitative difference in the behaviour of rescuers to victims from the low and high life expectancy groups. Several explanations for these findings are proposed.

  18. Hopfield neural network based on ant system

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    洪炳镕; 金飞虎; 郭琦

    2004-01-01

    Hopfield neural network is a single layer feedforward neural network. Hopfield network requires some control parameters to be carefully selected, else the network is apt to converge to local minimum. An ant system is a nature inspired meta heuristic algorithm. It has been applied to several combinatorial optimization problems such as Traveling Salesman Problem, Scheduling Problems, etc. This paper will show an ant system may be used in tuning the network control parameters by a group of cooperated ants. The major advantage of this network is to adjust the network parameters automatically, avoiding a blind search for the set of control parameters.This network was tested on two TSP problems, 5 cities and 10 cities. The results have shown an obvious improvement.

  19. Ant-plants and fungi: a new threeway symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Defossez, Emmanuel; Selosse, Marc-André; Dubois, Marie-Pierre; Mondolot, Laurence; Faccio, Antonella; Djieto-Lordon, Champlain; McKey, Doyle; Blatrix, Rumsaïs

    2009-06-01

    Symbioses between plants and fungi, fungi and ants, and ants and plants all play important roles in ecosystems. Symbioses involving all three partners appear to be rare. Here, we describe a novel tripartite symbiosis in which ants and a fungus inhabit domatia of an ant-plant, and present evidence that such interactions are widespread. We investigated 139 individuals of the African ant-plant Leonardoxa africana for occurrence of fungus. Behaviour of mutualist ants toward the fungus within domatia was observed using a video camera fitted with an endoscope. Fungi were identified by sequencing a fragment of their ribosomal DNA. Fungi were always present in domatia occupied by mutualist ants but never in domatia occupied by opportunistic or parasitic ants. Ants appear to favour the propagation, removal and maintenance of the fungus. Similar fungi were associated with other ant-plants in Cameroon. All belong to the ascomycete order Chaetothyriales; those from L. africana formed a monophyletic clade. These new plant-ant-fungus associations seem to be specific, as demonstrated within Leonardoxa and as suggested by fungal phyletic identities. Such tripartite associations are widespread in African ant-plants but have long been overlooked. Taking fungal partners into account will greatly enhance our understanding of symbiotic ant-plant mutualisms.

  20. A Brazilian Population of the Asexual Fungus-Growing Ant Mycocepurus smithii (Formicidae, Myrmicinae, Attini) Cultivates Fungal Symbionts with Gongylidia-Like Structures

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Masiulionis, Virginia E.; Rabeling, Christian; de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard

    2014-01-01

    Attine ants cultivate fungi as their most important food source and in turn the fungus is nourished, protected against harmful microorganisms, and dispersed by the ants. This symbiosis evolved approximately 50–60 million years ago in the late Paleocene or early Eocene, and since its origin attine...... gongylophorus. Higher agriculture fungal cultivars are characterized by specialized hyphal tip swellings, so-called gongylidia, which are considered a unique, derived morphological adaptation of higher attine fungi thought to be absent in lower attine fungi. Rare reports of gongylidia-like structures in fungus...... lower attine ant Mycocepurus smithii. To test whether M. smithii cultivates leafcutter ant fungi or whether lower attine cultivars produce gongylidia, we identified the M. smithii fungus utilizing molecular and morphological methods. Results shows that the gongylidia-like structures of M. smithii...

  1. Dispersing powders in liquids

    CERN Document Server

    Nelson, RD

    1988-01-01

    This book provides powder technologists with laboratory procedures for selecting dispersing agents and preparing stable dispersions that can then be used in particle size characterization instruments. Its broader goal is to introduce industrial chemists and engineers to the phenomena, terminology, physical principles, and chemical considerations involved in preparing and handling dispersions on a commercial scale. The book introduces novices to: - industrial problems due to improper degree of dispersion; - the nomenclature used in describing particles; - the basic physica

  2. The worldwide expansion of the Argentine ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Vogel, Valerie; Pedersen, Jes Søe; Giraud, Tatiana

    2010-01-01

    DNA haplotypes also suggests that supercolonies in the introduced range each derive from a single source supercolony and that one of these source supercolonies has been particularly successful, being the basis of many introduced populations spread across the world. Comparison of the genetic diversity......Aim The aim of this study was to determine the number of successful establishments of the invasive Argentine ant outside native range and to see whether introduced supercolonies have resulted from single or multiple introductions. We also compared the genetic diversity of native versus introduced...... to possible strategies to be used to control invasive ants....

  3. The ejaculatory biology of leafcutter ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    den Boer, Susanne; Stürup, Marlene; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2015-01-01

    The eusocial ants are unique in that females (queens) acquire and store sperm on a single mating flight early in adult life. This event largely determines the size (possibly millions of workers), longevity (possibly decades) and genetic variation of the colonies that queens found, but our...... understanding of the fundamental biology of ejaculate production, transfer and physiological function remains extremely limited. We studied the ejaculation process in the leafcutter ant Atta colombica and found that it starts with the appearance of a clear pre-ejaculatory fluid (PEF) at the tip...

  4. Chaotic ant swarm optimization to economic dispatch

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cai, Jiejin; Ma, Xiaoqian [Electric Power College, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640 (China); Li, Lixiang; Yang, Yixian [Information Security Center, Department of Information Engineering, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing 100876 (China); State Key Laboratory of Networking and Switching, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing 100876 (China); Peng, Haipeng [Information Security Center, Department of Information Engineering, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing 100876 (China); State Key Laboratory of Networking and Switching, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing 100876 (China); School of Information Science and Engineering, Shenyang University of Technology, Shenyang 110023 (China); Wang, Xiangdong [School of Information Science and Engineering, Shenyang University of Technology, Shenyang 110023 (China)

    2007-08-15

    This paper developed a novel algorithm named chaotic ant swarm optimization (CASO) for solving the economic dispatch (ED) problems of thermal generators in power systems. This algorithm combines with the chaotic and self-organization behavior of ants in the foraging process. It includes both effects of chaotic dynamics and swarm-based search. The algorithm was employed to solve the ED problems of thermal generators. The proposed method was applied to three examples of power systems. Simulation results demonstrated that the method can obtain feasible and effective solutions, and it is a promising alternative approach for solving the ED problems in practical power systems. (author)

  5. Ant functional responses along environmental gradients.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnan, Xavier; Cerdá, Xim; Retana, Javier

    2014-11-01

    Understanding species distributions and diversity gradients is a central challenge in ecology and requires prior knowledge of the functional traits mediating species' survival under particular environmental conditions. While the functional ecology of plants has been reasonably well explored, much less is known about that of animals. Ants are among the most diverse, abundant and ecologically significant organisms on earth, and they perform a great variety of ecological functions. In this study, we analyse how the functional species traits present in ant communities vary along broad gradients in climate, productivity and vegetation type in the south-western Mediterranean. To this end, we compiled one of the largest animal databases to date: it contains information on 211 local ant communities (including eight climate variables, productivity, and vegetation type) and 124 ant species, for which 10 functional traits are described. We used traits that characterize different dimensions of the ant functional niche with respect to morphology, life history and behaviour at both individual and colony level. We calculated two complementary functional trait community indices ('trait average' and 'trait dissimilarity') for each trait, and we analysed how they varied along the three different gradients using generalized least squares models that accounted for spatial autocorrelation. Our results show that productivity, vegetation type and, to a lesser extent, each climate variable per se might play an important role in shaping the occurrence of functional species traits in ant communities. Among the climate variables, temperature and precipitation seasonality had a much higher influence on functional responses than their mean values, whose effects were almost lacking. Our results suggest that strong relationships might exist between the abiotic environment and the distribution of functional traits among south-western Mediterranean ant communities. This finding indicates that

  6. Ant parasite queens revert to mating singly

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sumner, Seirian; Hughes, William Owen Hamar; Pedersen, Jes Søe

    2004-01-01

    A parasitic ant has abandoned the multiple mating habit of the queens of its related host. Multiple mating (polyandry) is widespread among animal groups, particularly insects 1 . But the factors that maintain it and underlie its evolution are hard to verify because benefits and costs are not easily...... quantified and they tend to be similar in related species. Here we compare the mating strategies of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior and its recently derived social parasite Acromyrmex insinuator, which is also its closest relative 2 (see Fig. 1 ). We find that although the host queens mate with up...

  7. Dispersion y dinamica poblacional

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dispersal behavior of fruit flies is appetitive. Measures of dispersion involve two different parameter: the maximum distance and the standard distance. Standard distance is a parameter that describes the probalility of dispersion and is mathematically equivalent to the standard deviation around ...

  8. Seed dispersal in fens

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Middleton, Beth; van Diggelen, Rudy; Jensen, Kai

    2006-01-01

    Question: How does seed dispersal reduce fen isolation and contribute to biodiversity? Location: European and North American fens. Methods: This paper reviews the literature on seed dispersal to fens. Results: Landscape fragmentation may reduce dispersal opportunities thereby isolating fens and redu

  9. Insecticide sprays, natural enemy assemblages and predation on Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Psyllidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Monzo, C; Qureshi, J A; Stansly, P A

    2014-10-01

    The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri Kuwayama is considered a key citrus pest due to its role as vector of 'huanglongbing' (HLB) or citrus greening, probably the most economically damaging disease of citrus. Insecticidal control of the vector is still considered a cornerstone of HLB management to prevent infection and to reduce reinoculation of infected trees. The severity of HLB has driven implementation of intensive insecticide programs against ACP with unknown side effects on beneficial arthropod fauna in citrus agroecosystems. We evaluated effects of calendar sprays directed against this pest on natural enemy assemblages and used exclusion to estimate mortality they imposed on ACP populations in citrus groves. Predator exclusion techniques were used on nascent colonies of D. citri in replicated large untreated and sprayed plots of citrus during the four major flushing periods over 2 years. Population of spiders, arboreal ants and ladybeetles were independently assessed. Monthly sprays of recommended insecticides for control of ACP, adversely affected natural enemy populations resulting in reduced predation on ACP immature stages, especially during the critical late winter/early spring flush. Consequently, projected growth rates of the ACP population were greatest where natural enemies had been adversely affected by insecticides. Whereas, this result does not obviate the need for insecticidal control of ACP, it does indicate that even a selective regimen of sprays can impose as yet undetermined costs in terms of reduced biological control of this and probably other citrus pests.

  10. [Diversity and stability of arthropod assemblage in tea orchard].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Yigen; Xiong, Jinjun; Huang, Mingdu; Gu, Dejiu

    2004-05-01

    Two tea orchards, simplex tea orchard with weeds removed manually or by herbicides (STO) and complex tea orchard with the weed Hedyotis uncinella (CTO), each with an area of 0. 4 hm2, were established in 1995 in Yingde Hongxing Tea Plantation, Guangdong Province. The primary eigenvalues, species richness index (R), assemblage diversity index (H'), evenness index (J) and species concentration index (C) of arthropod assemblage were employed and compared to assess the efficacy of STO and CTO on the diversity and stabilityof arthropod assemblage. Stability indexes Ss/Si and Sn/Sp and variation coefficient of diversity index ds/dm were utilized as well. The results demonstrated that the R of arthropod assemblage in CTO ranged from 4 to 8, with the highest of 7.7403, while that in STO varied mainly between 4 to 6. The average R of arthropod assemblage in CTO was 5.4672 +/- 0.3483, higher than that in STO (4.8809 +/- 0.3175). The H' of arthropod in CTO (3.8535 +/- 0.1232) was higher, in contrast to the value in STO (3.4654 +/- 0.1856). The J in CTO was higher, while the species concentration index (C) was lower, in comparison to STO. The stability indexes Ss/Si and Sn/Sp of CTO were greater than those of STO, while the ds/dm in CTO (0.1107) was lower than that in STO (0.1855). All these indicated that the diversity of arthropod assemblage was better preserved in CTO, and the assemblage in CTO was more stable.

  11. Evolution of Fungal enzymes in the attine ant symbiosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    The attine ant symbiosis is characterized by ancient but varying degrees of diffuse co-evolution between the ants and their fungal cultivars. Domesticated fungi became dependent on vertical transmission by queens and the ant colonies came to rely on their symbiotic fungus for food and thus......, indirectly, on fungal enzymes to break down the plant material brought in by the ants as fungal substrate. The more than 210 extant fungus-growing ant species differ considerably in colony size, social complexity and substrate-use. Only the derived leaf-cutting ants are specialized on using fresh leaves...... enzyme activity across ant genera could indeed be partially explained by substrate differences. This implies that fungal enzyme activity has likely coevolved with the genus- or species-specific substrates that the ants use to manure their fungus garden. Plant decomposing enzymes are thus not only...

  12. Variation in Extrafloral Nectary Productivity Influences the Ant Foraging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange, Denise; Calixto, Eduardo Soares; Del-Claro, Kleber

    2017-01-01

    Extrafloral nectar is the main food source offered by plants to predatory ants in most land environments. Although many studies have demonstrated the importance of extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) to plant defense against herbivores, the influence of EFNs secretory activity pattern on predatory ants remains yet not fully understood. Here, we verified the relation between the extrafloral nectar production of a plant community in Cerrado in different times of the day, and its attractiveness to ants. The extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) of seven plant species showed higher productivity overnight. Ant abundance was higher in times of large extrafloral nectar production, however, there was no positive relation between ant richness on plants and EFNs productivity. There was temporal resource partitioning among ant species, and it indicates strong resource competition. The nectar productivity varied among plant species and time of the day, and it influenced the visitation patterns of ants. Therefore, EFNs are a key ant-plant interaction driver in the studied system.

  13. Variation in Extrafloral Nectary Productivity Influences the Ant Foraging

    Science.gov (United States)

    2017-01-01

    Extrafloral nectar is the main food source offered by plants to predatory ants in most land environments. Although many studies have demonstrated the importance of extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) to plant defense against herbivores, the influence of EFNs secretory activity pattern on predatory ants remains yet not fully understood. Here, we verified the relation between the extrafloral nectar production of a plant community in Cerrado in different times of the day, and its attractiveness to ants. The extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) of seven plant species showed higher productivity overnight. Ant abundance was higher in times of large extrafloral nectar production, however, there was no positive relation between ant richness on plants and EFNs productivity. There was temporal resource partitioning among ant species, and it indicates strong resource competition. The nectar productivity varied among plant species and time of the day, and it influenced the visitation patterns of ants. Therefore, EFNs are a key ant-plant interaction driver in the studied system. PMID:28046069

  14. A home away from home: a meiobenthic assemblage in a ship's ballast water tank sediment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joanna Rokicka-Praxmajer

    2006-06-01

    Full Text Available The world-wide research on ship-aided dispersal of marineorganisms and invasions of non-indigenous species focuses primarilyon the plankters, which show the greatest potential for invadingnew areas and establishing viable populations in them, eitherin the water column (holoplankton or on the bottom (meroplanktoniclarvae of benthic species settling on the sea floor. As meiobenthicanimals usually lack a pelagic larval stage in their life cycle,no biological invasion study has, to our knowledge, ever specificallytargeted marine transport as a means of meiofaunal dispersal. Here we present a set of data showing that the sedimentdeposited in a ship's ballast water tank does support a viablemeiobenthic assemblage. We examined 0.015-dm3 aliquotsof a 1 dm3 sample from a c. 1.5-cm thick layerof sediment residue in the ballast tank of MS Donnington, broughtto the "Gryfia" Repair Shipyard in Szczecin (Poland. The sampleswere found to contain representatives of calcareous Foraminifera,hydrozoans, nematodes, turbellarians, harpacticoid copepods andtheir nauplii, and cladocerans, as well as meiobenthic-sizedbivalves and gastropods. Nematodes proved to be the most constantand most numerous component of the assemblage. The sediment portionsexamined revealed the presence of 1-11 individuals representing11 marine nematode genera. The viability of the meiobenthic assemblagewas evidenced by the presence of ovigerous females of both nematodesand harpacticoids. Survival of the meiobenthos in shipborne ballast tank sedimentresidues may provide at least a partial explanation for the cosmopolitandistribution of meiobenthic taxa and may underlie the successfulcolonisation of new habitats by invasive meiofaunal species.

  15. Research on the Perceptual Law of Artificial Ants

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHENG Zhaobao

    2005-01-01

    Beginning with the analysis of the behavior of natural ants, this paper illuminates the principle and method that, by adopting image texture energy as pheromone and finding their way on the track of the pheromone, artificial ants have the ability to identify and remember through similar measurement of pheromone. Based on the quantity of experiments, this paper analyzes some factors that influence the ability of artificial ants and draws some conclusions about the law of ant perception.

  16. Evolutionary Relationships and Biogeography of the Ant-Epiphytic Genus Squamellaria (Rubiaceae: Psychotrieae) and Their Taxonomic Implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chomicki, Guillaume; Renner, Susanne S.

    2016-01-01

    Ecological research on ant/plant symbioses in Fiji, combined with molecular phylogenetics, has brought to light four new species of Squamellaria in the subtribe Hydnophytinae of the Rubiaceae tribe Psychotrieae and revealed that four other species, previously in Hydnophytum, need to be transferred to Squamellaria. The diagnoses of the new species are based on morphological and DNA traits, with further insights from microCT scanning of flowers and leaf δ13C ratios (associated with Crassulacean acid metabolism). Our field and phylogenetic work results in a new circumscription of the genus Squamellaria, which now contains 12 species (to which we also provide a taxonomic key), not 3 as in the last revision. A clock-dated phylogeny and a model-testing biogeographic framework were used to infer the broader geographic history of rubiaceous ant plants in the Pacific, specifically the successive expansion of Squamellaria to Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and Fiji. The colonization of Vanuatu may have occurred from Fiji, when these islands were still in the same insular arc, while the colonization of the Solomon islands may have occurred after the separation of this island from the Fiji/Vanuatu arc. Some of these ant-housing epiphytes must have dispersed with their specialized ants, for instance attached to floating timber. Others acquired new ant symbionts on different islands. PMID:27028599

  17. Evolutionary Relationships and Biogeography of the Ant-Epiphytic Genus Squamellaria (Rubiaceae: Psychotrieae and Their Taxonomic Implications.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guillaume Chomicki

    Full Text Available Ecological research on ant/plant symbioses in Fiji, combined with molecular phylogenetics, has brought to light four new species of Squamellaria in the subtribe Hydnophytinae of the Rubiaceae tribe Psychotrieae and revealed that four other species, previously in Hydnophytum, need to be transferred to Squamellaria. The diagnoses of the new species are based on morphological and DNA traits, with further insights from microCT scanning of flowers and leaf δ(13C ratios (associated with Crassulacean acid metabolism. Our field and phylogenetic work results in a new circumscription of the genus Squamellaria, which now contains 12 species (to which we also provide a taxonomic key, not 3 as in the last revision. A clock-dated phylogeny and a model-testing biogeographic framework were used to infer the broader geographic history of rubiaceous ant plants in the Pacific, specifically the successive expansion of Squamellaria to Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and Fiji. The colonization of Vanuatu may have occurred from Fiji, when these islands were still in the same insular arc, while the colonization of the Solomon islands may have occurred after the separation of this island from the Fiji/Vanuatu arc. Some of these ant-housing epiphytes must have dispersed with their specialized ants, for instance attached to floating timber. Others acquired new ant symbionts on different islands.

  18. Dealing with water deficit in Atta ant colonies: large ants scout for water while small ants transport it

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Antonio Carlos Da-Silva

    2012-07-01

    Leafcutter ants (Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Forel 1908 have an elaborate social organization, complete with caste divisions. Activities carried out by specialist groups contribute to the overall success and survival of the colony when it is confronted with environmental challenges such as dehydration. Ants detect variations in humidity inside the nest and react by activating several types of behavior that enhance water uptake and decrease water loss, but it is not clear whether or not a single caste collects water regardless of the cost of bringing this resource back to the colony. Accordingly, we investigated water collection activities in three colonies of Atta sexdens rubropilosa experimentally exposed to water stress. Specifically, we analyzed whether or not the same ant caste foraged for water, regardless of the absolute energetic cost (distance of transporting this resource back to the colony. Our experimental design offered water sources at 0 m, 1 m and 10 m from the nest. We studied the body size of ants near the water sources from the initial offer of water (time  =  0 to 120 min, and tested for specialization. We observed a reduction in the average size and variance of ants that corroborated the specialization hypothesis. Although the temporal course of specialization changed with distance, the final outcome was similar among distances. Thus, we conclude that, for this species, a specialist (our use of the word “specialist” does not mean exclusive task force is responsible for collecting water, regardless of the cost of transporting water back to the colony.

  19. Local host specialization, host-switching, and dispersal shape the regional distributions of avian haemosporidian parasites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ellis, Vincenzo A; Collins, Michael D; Medeiros, Matthew C I; Sari, Eloisa H R; Coffey, Elyse D; Dickerson, Rebecca C; Lugarini, Camile; Stratford, Jeffrey A; Henry, Donata R; Merrill, Loren; Matthews, Alix E; Hanson, Alison A; Roberts, Jackson R; Joyce, Michael; Kunkel, Melanie R; Ricklefs, Robert E

    2015-09-08

    The drivers of regional parasite distributions are poorly understood, especially in comparison with those of free-living species. For vector-transmitted parasites, in particular, distributions might be influenced by host-switching and by parasite dispersal with primary hosts and vectors. We surveyed haemosporidian blood parasites (Plasmodium and Haemoproteus) of small land birds in eastern North America to characterize a regional parasite community. Distributions of parasite populations generally reflected distributions of their hosts across the region. However, when the interdependence between hosts and parasites was controlled statistically, local host assemblages were related to regional climatic gradients, but parasite assemblages were not. Moreover, because parasite assemblage similarity does not decrease with distance when controlling for host assemblages and climate, parasites evidently disperse readily within the distributions of their hosts. The degree of specialization on hosts varied in some parasite lineages over short periods and small geographic distances independently of the diversity of available hosts and potentially competing parasite lineages. Nonrandom spatial turnover was apparent in parasite lineages infecting one host species that was well-sampled within a single year across its range, plausibly reflecting localized adaptations of hosts and parasites. Overall, populations of avian hosts generally determine the geographic distributions of haemosporidian parasites. However, parasites are not dispersal-limited within their host distributions, and they may switch hosts readily.

  20. Ants Orasest ja Anne Lange monograafiast / Jüri Talvet

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Talvet, Jüri, 1945-

    2005-01-01

    Arvustus: Oras, Ants. Luulekool. I, Apoloogia / koostajad Hando Runnel ja Jaak Rähesoo. Tartu : Ilmamaa, 2003 ; Oras, Ants. Luulekool II, Meistriklass. Tartu : Ilmamaa, 2004 ; Lange, Anne. Ants Oras : [kirjandusteadlane, -kriitik ja tõlkija (1900-1982)]. Tartu : Ilmamaa, 2004

  1. Eavesdropping on cooperative communication within an ant-butterfly mutualism

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Elgar, Mark A.; Nash, David Richard; Pierce, Naomi E.

    2016-01-01

    of the Australian lycaenid butterfly, Jalmenus evagoras, form an obligate association with several species of attendant ants, including Iridomyrmex mayri. Ants protect the caterpillars and pupae, and in return are rewarded with nutritious secretions. Female and male adult butterflies use ants as signals...

  2. Ant-egg cataract. An electron microscopic study

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schrøder, H D; Nissen, S H

    1979-01-01

    The ultrastructure of the ant-egg cataractous lens has been studied. Comparison of tissue demineralized by means of EDTA with untreated tissue showed the calcium salts in the ant-eggs to be mostly crystalline. A laminar appearance of the ant-egg seen in EDTA treated material suggested an intermit...

  3. Dynamics of an ant-plant-pollinator model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yuanshi; DeAngelis, Donald L.; Nathaniel Holland, J.

    2015-03-01

    In this paper, we consider plant-pollinator-ant systems in which plant-pollinator interaction and plant-ant interaction are both mutualistic, but there also exists interference of pollinators by ants. The plant-pollinator interaction can be described by a Beddington-DeAngelis formula, so we extend the formula to characterize plant-pollinator mutualisms, including the interference by ants, and form a plant-pollinator-ant model. Using dynamical systems theory, we show uniform persistence of the model. Moreover, we demonstrate conditions under which boundary equilibria are globally asymptotically stable. The dynamics exhibit mechanisms by which the three species could coexist when ants interfere with pollinators. We define a threshold in ant interference. When ant interference is strong, it can drive plant-pollinator mutualisms to extinction. Furthermore, if the ants depend on pollination mutualism for their persistence, then sufficiently strong ant interference could lead to their own extinction as well. Yet, when ant interference is weak, plant-ant and plant-pollinator mutualisms can promote the persistence of one another.

  4. Mutualistic ants as an indirect defence against leaf pathogens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    González-Teuber, Marcia; Kaltenpoth, Martin; Boland, Wilhelm

    2014-04-01

    Mutualistic ants are commonly considered as an efficient indirect defence against herbivores. Nevertheless, their indirect protective role against plant pathogens has been scarcely investigated. We compared the protective role against pathogens of two different ant partners, a mutualistic and a parasitic ant, on the host plant Acacia hindsii (Fabaceae). The epiphytic bacterial community on leaves was evaluated in the presence and absence of both ant partners by cultivation and by 454 pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Pathogen-inflicted leaf damage, epiphytic bacterial abundance (colony-forming units) and number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were significantly higher in plants inhabited by parasitic ants than in plants inhabited by mutualistic ants. Unifrac unweighted and weighted principal component analyses showed that the bacterial community composition on leaves changed significantly when mutualistic ants were removed from plants or when plants were inhabited by parasitic ants. Direct mechanisms provided by ant-associated bacteria would contribute to the protective role against pathogens. The results suggest that the indirect defence of mutualistic ants also covers the protection from bacterial plant pathogens. Our findings highlight the importance of considering bacterial partners in ant-plant defensive mutualisms, which can contribute significantly to ant-mediated protection from plant pathogens. © 2014 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.

  5. Ants Orasest ja Anne Lange monograafiast / Jüri Talvet

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Talvet, Jüri, 1945-

    2005-01-01

    Arvustus: Oras, Ants. Luulekool. I, Apoloogia / koostajad Hando Runnel ja Jaak Rähesoo. Tartu : Ilmamaa, 2003 ; Oras, Ants. Luulekool II, Meistriklass. Tartu : Ilmamaa, 2004 ; Lange, Anne. Ants Oras : [kirjandusteadlane, -kriitik ja tõlkija (1900-1982)]. Tartu : Ilmamaa, 2004

  6. Are ant feces nutrients for plants? A metabolomics approach to elucidate the nutritional effects on plants hosting weaver ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Vidkjær, Nanna Hjort; Wollenweber, Bernd; Gislum, René

    2015-01-01

    interactions involving other ant species that have demonstrated the transfer of nutrients from ants to plants. In this 7-months study, a GC–MS-based metabolomics approach along with an analysis of total nitrogen and carbon levels was used to study metabolic changes in ant-hosting Coffea arabica plants compared......Weaver ants (genus Oecophylla) are tropical carnivorous ant species living in high numbers in the canopies of trees. The ants excrete copious amounts of fecal matter on leaf surfaces, and these feces may provide nutrients to host trees. This hypothesis is supported by studies of ant-plant...... with control plants. The results showed elevated levels of total nitrogen, amino acids, fatty acids, caffeine, and secondary metabolites of the phenylpropanoid pathway in leaves from ant-hosting plants. Minor effects were observed for sugars, whereas little or no effect was observed for organic acids, despite...

  7. Public sphere as assemblage: the cultural politics of roadside memorialization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campbell, Elaine

    2013-09-01

    This paper investigates contemporary academic accounts of the public sphere. In particular, it takes stock of post-Habermasian public sphere scholarship, and acknowledges a lively and variegated debate concerning the multiple ways in which individuals engage in contemporary political affairs. A critical eye is cast over a range of key insights which have come to establish the parameters of what 'counts' as a/the public sphere, who can be involved, and where and how communicative networks are established. This opens up the conceptual space for re-imagining a/the public sphere as an assemblage. Making use of recent developments in Deleuzian-inspired assemblage theory - most especially drawn from DeLanda's (2006) 'new philosophy of society' - the paper sets out an alternative perspective on the notion of the public sphere, and regards it as a space of connectivity brought into being through a contingent and heterogeneous assemblage of discursive, visual and performative practices. This is mapped out with reference to the cultural politics of roadside memorialization. However, a/the public sphere as an assemblage is not simply a 'social construction' brought into being through a logic of connectivity, but is an emergent and ephemeral space which reflexively nurtures and assembles the cultural politics (and political cultures) of which it is an integral part. The discussion concludes, then, with a consideration of the contribution of assemblage theory to public sphere studies. (Also see Campbell 2009a). © London School of Economics and Political Science 2013.

  8. Quantifying assemblage turnover and species contributions at ecologic boundaries.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hayek, Lee-Ann C; Wilson, Brent

    2013-01-01

    Not all boundaries, whether stratigraphical or geographical, are marked by species-level changes in community composition. For example, paleodata for some sites do not show readily discernible glacial-interglacial contrasts. Rather, the proportional abundances of species can vary subtly between glacials and interglacials. This paper presents a simple quantitative measure of assemblage turnover (assemblage turnover index, ATI) that uses changes in species' proportional abundances to identify intervals of community change. A second, functionally-related index (conditioned-on-boundary index, CoBI) identifies species contributions to the total assemblage turnover. With these measures we examine benthonic foraminiferal assemblages to assess glacial/interglacial contrasts at abyssal depths. Our results indicate that these measures, ATI and CoBI, have potential as sequence stratigraphic tools in abyssal depth deposits. Many peaks in the set of values of ATI coincide with terminations at the end of glaciations and delineate peak-bounded ATI intervals (PATIs) separated by boundaries that approximate to glacial terminations and to transgressions at neritic depths. These measures, however, can be used to evaluate the assemblage turnover and composition at any defined ecological or paleoecological boundary. The section used is from Ocean Drilling Program (OPD) Hole 994C, drilled on the Blake Ridge, offshore SE USA.

  9. Quantifying assemblage turnover and species contributions at ecologic boundaries.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lee-Ann C Hayek

    Full Text Available Not all boundaries, whether stratigraphical or geographical, are marked by species-level changes in community composition. For example, paleodata for some sites do not show readily discernible glacial-interglacial contrasts. Rather, the proportional abundances of species can vary subtly between glacials and interglacials. This paper presents a simple quantitative measure of assemblage turnover (assemblage turnover index, ATI that uses changes in species' proportional abundances to identify intervals of community change. A second, functionally-related index (conditioned-on-boundary index, CoBI identifies species contributions to the total assemblage turnover. With these measures we examine benthonic foraminiferal assemblages to assess glacial/interglacial contrasts at abyssal depths. Our results indicate that these measures, ATI and CoBI, have potential as sequence stratigraphic tools in abyssal depth deposits. Many peaks in the set of values of ATI coincide with terminations at the end of glaciations and delineate peak-bounded ATI intervals (PATIs separated by boundaries that approximate to glacial terminations and to transgressions at neritic depths. These measures, however, can be used to evaluate the assemblage turnover and composition at any defined ecological or paleoecological boundary. The section used is from Ocean Drilling Program (OPD Hole 994C, drilled on the Blake Ridge, offshore SE USA.

  10. Crab death assemblages from Laguna Madre and vicinity, Texas

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Plotnick, R.E.; McCarroll, S. (Univ. of Illinois, Chicago (USA)); Powell, E. (Texas A M Univ., College Station (USA))

    1990-02-01

    Crabs are a major component of modern marine ecosystems, but are only rarely described in fossil assemblages. Studies of brachyuran taphonomy have examined either the fossil end-products of the taphonomic process or the very earliest stages of decay and decomposition. The next logical step is the analysis of modern crab death assemblages; i.e., studies that examine taphonomic loss in areas where the composition of the living assemblage is known. The authors studied crab death assemblages in shallow water sediments at several localities in an near Laguna Madre, Texas. Nearly every sample examined contained some crab remains, most commonly in the form of isolated claws (dactyl and propodus). A crab fauna associated with a buried grass bed contained abundant remains of the xanthid crab Dyspanopeus texanus, including carapaces, chelipeds, and thoraxes, as well as fragments of the portunid Callinectes sapidus and the majiid Libinia dubia. Crab remains may be an overlooked portion of many preserved benthic assemblages, both in recent and modern sediments.

  11. Quantifying Assemblage Turnover and Species Contributions at Ecologic Boundaries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hayek, Lee-Ann C.; Wilson, Brent

    2013-01-01

    Not all boundaries, whether stratigraphical or geographical, are marked by species-level changes in community composition. For example, paleodata for some sites do not show readily discernible glacial-interglacial contrasts. Rather, the proportional abundances of species can vary subtly between glacials and interglacials. This paper presents a simple quantitative measure of assemblage turnover (assemblage turnover index, ATI) that uses changes in species' proportional abundances to identify intervals of community change. A second, functionally-related index (conditioned-on-boundary index, CoBI) identifies species contributions to the total assemblage turnover. With these measures we examine benthonic foraminiferal assemblages to assess glacial/interglacial contrasts at abyssal depths. Our results indicate that these measures, ATI and CoBI, have potential as sequence stratigraphic tools in abyssal depth deposits. Many peaks in the set of values of ATI coincide with terminations at the end of glaciations and delineate peak-bounded ATI intervals (PATIs) separated by boundaries that approximate to glacial terminations and to transgressions at neritic depths. These measures, however, can be used to evaluate the assemblage turnover and composition at any defined ecological or paleoecological boundary. The section used is from Ocean Drilling Program (OPD) Hole 994C, drilled on the Blake Ridge, offshore SE USA. PMID:24130679

  12. Impacts of Intensive Logging on the Trophic Organisation of Ant Communities in a Biodiversity Hotspot

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodcock, Paul; Edwards, David P.; Newton, Rob J.; Vun Khen, Chey; Bottrell, Simon H.; Hamer, Keith C.

    2013-01-01

    Trophic organisation defines the flow of energy through ecosystems and is a key component of community structure. Widespread and intensifying anthropogenic disturbance threatens to disrupt trophic organisation by altering species composition and relative abundances and by driving shifts in the trophic ecology of species that persist in disturbed ecosystems. We examined how intensive disturbance caused by selective logging affects trophic organisation in the biodiversity hotspot of Sabah, Borneo. Using stable nitrogen isotopes, we quantified the positions in the food web of 159 leaf-litter ant species in unlogged and logged rainforest and tested four predictions: (i) there is a negative relationship between the trophic position of a species in unlogged forest and its change in abundance following logging, (ii) the trophic positions of species are altered by logging, (iii) disturbance alters the frequency distribution of trophic positions within the ant assemblage, and (iv) disturbance reduces food chain length. We found that ant abundance was 30% lower in logged forest than in unlogged forest but changes in abundance of individual species were not related to trophic position, providing no support for prediction (i). However, trophic positions of individual species were significantly higher in logged forest, supporting prediction (ii). Consequently, the frequency distribution of trophic positions differed significantly between unlogged and logged forest, supporting prediction (iii), and food chains were 0.2 trophic levels longer in logged forest, the opposite of prediction (iv). Our results demonstrate that disturbance can alter trophic organisation even without trophically-biased changes in community composition. Nonetheless, the absence of any reduction in food chain length in logged forest suggests that species-rich arthropod food webs do not experience trophic downgrading or a related collapse in trophic organisation despite the disturbance caused by logging

  13. Biodiversity assessment in incomplete inventories: leaf litter ant communities in several types of Bornean rain forest.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martin Pfeiffer

    Full Text Available Biodiversity assessment of tropical taxa is hampered by their tremendous richness, which leads to large numbers of singletons and incomplete inventories in survey studies. Species estimators can be used for assessment of alpha diversity, but calculation of beta diversity is hampered by pseudo-turnover of species in undersampled plots. To assess the impact of unseen species, we investigated different methods, including an unbiased estimator of Shannon beta diversity that was compared to biased calculations. We studied alpha and beta diversity of a diverse ground ant assemblage from the Southeast Asian island of Borneo in different types of tropical forest: diperocarp forest, alluvial forest, limestone forest and heath forests. Forests varied in plant composition, geology, flooding regimes and other environmental parameters. We tested whether forest types differed in species composition and if species turnover was a function of the distance between plots at different spatial scales. As pseudo-turnover may bias beta diversity we hypothesized a large effect of unseen species reducing beta diversity. We sampled 206 ant species (25% singletons from ten subfamilies and 55 genera. Diversity partitioning among the four forest types revealed that whereas alpha species richness and alpha Shannon diversity were significantly smaller than expected, beta-diversity for both measurements was significantly higher than expected by chance. This result was confirmed when we used the unbiased estimation of Shannon diversity: while alpha diversity was much higher, beta diversity differed only slightly from biased calculations. Beta diversity as measured with the Chao-Sørensen or Morisita-Horn Index correlated with distance between transects and between sample points, indicating a distance decay of similarity between communities. We conclude that habitat heterogeneity has a high influence on ant diversity and species turnover in tropical sites and that unseen species

  14. Impacts of intensive logging on the trophic organisation of ant communities in a biodiversity hotspot.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paul Woodcock

    Full Text Available Trophic organisation defines the flow of energy through ecosystems and is a key component of community structure. Widespread and intensifying anthropogenic disturbance threatens to disrupt trophic organisation by altering species composition and relative abundances and by driving shifts in the trophic ecology of species that persist in disturbed ecosystems. We examined how intensive disturbance caused by selective logging affects trophic organisation in the biodiversity hotspot of Sabah, Borneo. Using stable nitrogen isotopes, we quantified the positions in the food web of 159 leaf-litter ant species in unlogged and logged rainforest and tested four predictions: (i there is a negative relationship between the trophic position of a species in unlogged forest and its change in abundance following logging, (ii the trophic positions of species are altered by logging, (iii disturbance alters the frequency distribution of trophic positions within the ant assemblage, and (iv disturbance reduces food chain length. We found that ant abundance was 30% lower in logged forest than in unlogged forest but changes in abundance of individual species were not related to trophic position, providing no support for prediction (i. However, trophic positions of individual species were significantly higher in logged forest, supporting prediction (ii. Consequently, the frequency distribution of trophic positions differed significantly between unlogged and logged forest, supporting prediction (iii, and food chains were 0.2 trophic levels longer in logged forest, the opposite of prediction (iv. Our results demonstrate that disturbance can alter trophic organisation even without trophically-biased changes in community composition. Nonetheless, the absence of any reduction in food chain length in logged forest suggests that species-rich arthropod food webs do not experience trophic downgrading or a related collapse in trophic organisation despite the disturbance caused by

  15. Vestlus päevapoliitikast Ants Vahtrasega / Ants Vahtras ; interv. Hillar Padu

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Vahtras, Ants, 1953-

    2001-01-01

    Keskerakonna Hiiumaa osakonna esimees Ants Vahtras keskendub vestluses Keskerakonna kandidaatidele presidendi valimistele, arutleb presidendile vajalike isikuomaduste, haldusreformi, Hiiumaa Suurkogu, erastamiselt laekuva raha kasutamise üle ning annab hinnangu kultuuripoliitikale. Autor: Keskerakond

  16. Nõunik Ants Laansalu - rohkem talupoeg kui sulane / Ants Laansalu ; interv. Heiki Raudla

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Laansalu, Ants, 1938-2011

    2008-01-01

    Intervjuu põllumajandusministeeriumi nõunikuga, kes vastab küsimustele, mis puudutavad Eesti põllumajandusministreid, põllumehe mainet, põllumajanduse tulevikku Eestis ja maailmas. Vt. samas: Ants Laansalu: CV

  17. Ants ja Jaak / Ants Juske, Jaak Juske ; intervjueerinud Margit Tõnson, Maris Sander

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Juske, Ants, 1956-

    2011-01-01

    Kunstiteadlane Ants Juske ja tema poliitikust poeg Jaak Juske räägivad põlvkondade erinevustest ja konfliktidest, oma poliitilisest identiteedist, haridusest, eeskujudest, huvidest, eluviisidest. Nende eluloolisi andmeid

  18. Ants Veetõusme ja tema valikud / Ants Veetõusme ; interv. Imbi E. Kaljuste

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Veetõusme, Ants, 1949-

    2002-01-01

    Eesti Maksumaksjate Liidu juhatuse esimehe Ants Veetõusme varasemast elust ning praegusest tegevusest EML-i juhi, spordijuhi ja FIE-na. Kommenteerivad Tõnu Anton ja Tiit Nuudi. Tartu linnapea 1991-1993

  19. Ground-foraging ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae and rainfall effect on pitfall trapping in a deciduous thorn woodland (Caatinga, Northeastern Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Francyregis A Nunes

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available The semi-arid Caatinga is the fourth largest biome of Brazil, which biota still remains one of the most poorly known, especially with regard to invertebrate groups. In this study, a ground-foraging ant assemblage was surveyed during one year and the effect of rainfall on pitfall trapping was assessed. The study was performed in an area located in the municipality of Pentecoste (3º48’ S - 39º20’ W, in the State of Ceará. A 200m transect with 20 equidistant sampling points was established. Transect sampling was performed once a month during 12 months, over the period August 2008-August 2009. At each sampling point, a pitfall trap partially filled with a mixture of ethanol and monoethylene glycol was placed at the beginning of each month and remained in the field for seven days. 39 species belonging to six subfamilies and 19 genera, plus two unidentified species, were collected, with Pheidole (10 spp. and Camponotus (8 spp. being the taxa with the most species. 23 species were frequent, being found in more than 50% of the 12 transect samplings. Five species had an intermediate frequency (25 to 50%, while 13 were relatively infrequent (less than 25%. Most of the species (22 showed low occurrence, being found in less than 10% of the 240 samples (20 samples each month, during 12 months. Only five species were collected in more than 50% of the samples, those species being also responsible for most of the total abundance (number of captured individuals of all species observed each month. The speciesaccumulation curves (observed and estimated indicated that sampling sufficiency was attained, and that about 92% of the estimated ground-foraging ant fauna had been collected. 40 and 29 species were collected in the dry and rainy season, respectively, with monthly species richness ranging from 13 to 28. The total ant abundance showed a drastic decrease during the rainy season, and a negative linear correlation was found between rainfall and total ant

  20. Ground-foraging ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and rainfall effect on pitfall trapping in a deciduous thorn woodland (caatinga), Northeastern Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nunes, Francyregis A; Segundo, Glauco B Martins; Vasconcelos, Yuri B; Azevedo, Raul; Quinet, Yves

    2011-12-01

    The semi-arid Caatinga is the fourth largest biome of Brazil, which biota still remains one of the most poorly known, especially with regard to invertebrate groups. In this study, a ground-foraging ant assemblage was surveyed during one year and the effect of rainfall on pitfall trapping was assessed. The study was performed in an area located in the municipality of Pentecoste (3 degrees 48' S - 39 degrees 20' W), in the State of Ceará. A 200m transect with 20 equidistant sampling points was established. Transect sampling was performed once a month during 12 months, over the period August 2008-August 2009. At each sampling point, a pitfall trap partially filled with a mixture of ethanol and monoethylene glycol was placed at the beginning of each month and remained in the field for seven days. 39 species belonging to six subfamilies and 19 genera, plus two unidentified species, were collected, with Pheidole (10 spp.) and Camponotus (8 spp.) being the taxa with the most species. 23 species were frequent, being found in more than 50% of the 12 transect samplings. Five species had an intermediate frequency (25 to 50%), while 13 were relatively infrequent (less than 25%). Most of the species (22) showed low occurrence, being found in less than 10% of the 240 samples (20 samples each month, during 12 months). Only five species were collected in more than 50% of the samples, those species being also responsible for most of the total abundance (number of captured individuals of all species) observed each month. The species-accumulation curves (observed and estimated) indicated that sampling sufficiency was attained, and that about 92% of the estimated ground-foraging ant fauna had been collected. 40 and 29 species were collected in the dry and rainy season, respectively, with monthly species richness ranging from 13 to 28. The total ant abundance showed a drastic decrease during the rainy season, and a negative linear correlation was found between rainfall and total ant

  1. The worldwide expansion of the Argentine ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Vogel, Valerie; Pedersen, Jes Søe; Giraud, Tatiana;

    2010-01-01

    ) and secondary introductions (from sites with established invasive supercolonies) were important in the global expansion of the Argentine ant. In combination with the similar social organization of colonies in the native and introduced range, this indicates that invasiveness did not evolve recently as a unique...

  2. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cremer, Sylvia; Ugelvig, Line Vej; Drijfhout, Falko P

    2008-01-01

    It is unclear why some species become successful invaders whilst others fail, and whether invasive success depends on pre-adaptations already present in the native range or on characters evolving de-novo after introduction. Ants are among the worst invasive pests, with Lasius neglectus and its ra...

  3. Recognition of social identity in ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bos, Nick; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2012-01-01

    Recognizing the identity of others, from the individual to the group level, is a hallmark of society. Ants, and other social insects, have evolved advanced societies characterized by efficient social recognition systems. Colony identity is mediated by colony specific signature mixtures, a blend...

  4. Histrionicotoxin alkaloids finally detected in an ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jones, Tappey H.; Adams, Rachelle Martha Marie; Spande, Thomas F.

    2012-01-01

    Workers of the ant Carebarella bicolor collected in Panama were found to have two major poison-frog alkaloids, cis- and trans-fused decahydroquinolines (DHQs) of the 269AB type, four minor 269AB isomers, two minor 269B isomers, and three isomers of DHQ 271D. For the first time in an ant, however......, the DHQs were accompanied by six histrionicotoxins (HTXs), viz., 283A, 285A, 285B, 285C, 287A, and 287D. This co-occurrence of the HTX and DHQ alkaloids is the usual pattern seen in dendrobatid frogs. This finding contrasts with our earlier study, where workers of a Brazilian ant, Solenopsis (Diplorhoptrum......) sp., were found to have a very similar DHQ complex but failed to show HTXs. Several new DHQ alkaloids of MW 271 (named in the frog as 271G) are reported from the above ants that have both m/z 202 and 204 as major fragment ions, unlike the spectrum seen for the poison-frog alkaloid 271D, which has...

  5. Improving Emergency Management by Modeling Ant Colonies

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-03-01

    brood. The brood stages include the egg, the larval, and the pupa.27 The brood is dependent on the colony for nourishment and warmth until fully...night for rest and to relocate the colony. The bivouac is what is created when army ants huddle together in a ball instead of building a physical nest

  6. The ejaculatory biology of leafcutter ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    den Boer, Susanne; Stürup, Marlene; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2015-01-01

    understanding of the fundamental biology of ejaculate production, transfer and physiological function remains extremely limited. We studied the ejaculation process in the leafcutter ant Atta colombica and found that it starts with the appearance of a clear pre-ejaculatory fluid (PEF) at the tip...

  7. La nueva novela hispanoamericana ante Europa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Manuel Zapata Olivella

    1964-01-01

    Full Text Available Hace exactamente medio siglo -1905- Unamuno se burlaba de los escritores hispanoamericanos a quienes consumía el antojo de descubrir a Europa a los europeos en vez de describir lo que tenían ante sus ojos.

  8. Ants recognize foes and not friends.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guerrieri, Fernando J; Nehring, Volker; Jørgensen, Charlotte G; Nielsen, John; Galizia, C Giovanni; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2009-07-01

    Discriminating among individuals and rejecting non-group members is essential for the evolution and stability of animal societies. Ants are good models for studying recognition mechanisms, because they are typically very efficient in discriminating 'friends' (nest-mates) from 'foes' (non-nest-mates). Recognition in ants involves multicomponent cues encoded in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles. Here, we tested whether workers of the carpenter ant Camponotus herculeanus use the presence and/or absence of cuticular hydrocarbons to discriminate between nest-mates and non-nest-mates. We supplemented the cuticular profile with synthetic hydrocarbons mixed to liquid food and then assessed behavioural responses using two different bioassays. Our results show that (i) the presence, but not the absence, of an additional hydrocarbon elicited aggression and that (ii) among the three classes of hydrocarbons tested (unbranched, mono-methylated and dimethylated alkanes; for mono-methylated alkanes, we present a new synthetic pathway), only the dimethylated alkane was effective in eliciting aggression. Our results suggest that carpenter ants use a fundamentally different mechanism for nest-mate recognition than previously thought. They do not specifically recognize nest-mates, but rather recognize and reject non-nest-mates bearing odour cues that are novel to their own colony cuticular hydrocarbon profile. This begs for a reappraisal of the mechanisms underlying recognition systems in social insects.

  9. Caste-specific tyramides from Myrmicine ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    T.H. Jones; H.M. Garrafo; T.F. Spande; N.R. Andriamaharavo; J.S.T. Gorman; A.J. Snyder; A.W. Jeter; J.A. Torres; John W. Daly

    2010-01-01

    Analysis of the extracts of male ants of Monomorium minimum and Monomorium ebeninum by GC-MS and GC-FTIR revealed the presence of tyramides 2 and 4c, for which the structures were established by comparison with synthetic samples. These compounds and their analogues 1 and 3 were also found in males of other Monomorium species, males of Myrmicaria opaciventris, and males...

  10. Ant System Algorithm Research and Its Applications

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2002-01-01

    In this paper, systematic review on Ant System (AS) algorithm research and application is made, and the authors works of introducing As algorithm into continuous space application are summarized. Then the applicability characters of AS in continuous space optimization problems are also discussed.

  11. Enhanced Pest Ant Control with Hydrophobic Bait

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ants occupy every ecological niche in the world where they contribute to the ecosystem, e.g., as scavengers and aerators of the soil. However, when they are transported, usually through human activities, to new locations they have powerful negative impacts on their adopted homeland. Five of the 17 l...

  12. Ants mediate the structure of phytotelm communities in an ant-garden bromeliad

    OpenAIRE

    Céréghino, Régis; Leroy, Céline; Dejean,Alain; Corbara, Bruno

    2010-01-01

    International audience; The main theories explaining the biological diversity of rain forests often confer a limited understanding of the contribution of interspecific interactions to the observed patterns. We show how two-species mutualisms can affect much larger segments of the invertebrate community in tropical rain forests. Aechmea mertensii (Bromeliaceae) is both a phytotelm (plant-held water) and an ant-garden epiphyte. We studied the influence of its associated ant species (Pachycondyl...

  13. Functional diversity among seed dispersal kernels generated by carnivorous mammals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    González-Varo, Juan P; López-Bao, José V; Guitián, José

    2013-05-01

    composition of local disperser assemblages. These findings provide a key starting point for understanding and modelling plant population processes that include mammal-mediated seed dispersal, such as connectivity, range expansion and colonization.

  14. A Brazilian population of the asexual fungus-growing ant Mycocepurus smithii (Formicidae, Myrmicinae, Attini) cultivates fungal symbionts with gongylidia-like structures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Masiulionis, Virginia E; Rabeling, Christian; De Fine Licht, Henrik H; Schultz, Ted; Bacci, Maurício; Bezerra, Cintia M Santos; Pagnocca, Fernando C

    2014-01-01

    Attine ants cultivate fungi as their most important food source and in turn the fungus is nourished, protected against harmful microorganisms, and dispersed by the ants. This symbiosis evolved approximately 50-60 million years ago in the late Paleocene or early Eocene, and since its origin attine ants have acquired a variety of fungal mutualists in the Leucocoprineae and the distantly related Pterulaceae. The most specialized symbiotic interaction is referred to as "higher agriculture" and includes leafcutter ant agriculture in which the ants cultivate the single species Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. Higher agriculture fungal cultivars are characterized by specialized hyphal tip swellings, so-called gongylidia, which are considered a unique, derived morphological adaptation of higher attine fungi thought to be absent in lower attine fungi. Rare reports of gongylidia-like structures in fungus gardens of lower attines exist, but it was never tested whether these represent rare switches of lower attines to L. gonglyphorus cultivars or whether lower attine cultivars occasionally produce gongylidia. Here we describe the occurrence of gongylidia-like structures in fungus gardens of the asexual lower attine ant Mycocepurus smithii. To test whether M. smithii cultivates leafcutter ant fungi or whether lower attine cultivars produce gongylidia, we identified the M. smithii fungus utilizing molecular and morphological methods. Results shows that the gongylidia-like structures of M. smithii gardens are morphologically similar to gongylidia of higher attine fungus gardens and can only be distinguished by their slightly smaller size. A molecular phylogenetic analysis of the fungal ITS sequence indicates that the gongylidia-bearing M. smithii cultivar belongs to the so-called "Clade 1"of lower Attini cultivars. Given that M. smithii is capable of cultivating a morphologically and genetically diverse array of fungal symbionts, we discuss whether asexuality of the ant host maybe

  15. Parameters of ante-mortem delirium

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deksnyte, Aušra

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Objectives. The aim of this study was to investigate the parameters of ante-mortem delirium of the patients in a closed psychiatric institution and to compare them with the ante-mortem psychopathology of the medical patients. Methods. There were 139 medical records of the patients analyzed, who died during the period of 1997-2003 at the in-patient psychiatric institution. The diagnoses were recorded according to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10 criteria. Patients’ data included age, gender, previous psychiatric disorders, current somatic and psychiatric morbidity, and comorbidity. Results. The incidence of delirium was 83,7%. The delirium group included more elder, male persons who were more likely to have dementia and less inclined to depression. Surprisingly the incidence of delirium among non-dementia men was quite high – 76,9%, as compared to non-dementia women – 23,1% (P=0,008. The duration of delirium differed from 1 to 1335 days. Longer delirium was observed among elder than 75 years (87,7, SD 183,9 vs52,6, SD 121,4 days; P=0,019 and dementia (83,6, SD 173,6 vs 13,5, SD 11,6 days; P<0,001 patients, but did not differ in gender groups. Conclusions. Ante-mortem delirium occurred more commonly in more elder and demented patients The duration of ante-mortem delirium was shorter in younger and non-dementia patients. Patients of the psychiatric institution tend to have longer deliriums than medical patients. The patients with depression and the history of alcohol abuse were not likely to get ante-mortem delirium. Before death in many persons hyperactive and mixed delirium transformed into hypoactive.

  16. Interactive effects of soil-dwelling ants, ant mounds and simulated grazing on local plant community composition

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Veen, G.F.; Olff, H.

    2011-01-01

    Interactions between aboveground vertebrate herbivores and subterranean yellow meadow ants (Lasius flavus) can drive plant community patterns in grassland ecosystems. Here, we study the relative importance of the presence of ants (L. flavus) and ant mounds under different simulated grazing regimes

  17. Dead ant walking: a myrmecophilous beetle predator uses parasitoid host location cues to selectively prey on parasitized ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mathis, Kaitlyn A; Tsutsui, Neil D

    2016-08-17

    Myrmecophiles (i.e. organisms that associate with ants) use a variety of ecological niches and employ different strategies to survive encounters with ants. Because ants are typically excellent defenders, myrmecophiles may choose moments of weakness to take advantage of their ant associates. This hypothesis was studied in the rove beetle, Myrmedonota xipe, which associates with Azteca sericeasur ants in the presence of parasitoid flies. A combination of laboratory and field experiments show that M. xipe beetles selectively locate and prey upon parasitized ants. These parasitized ants are less aggressive towards beetles than healthy ants, allowing beetles to eat the parasitized ants alive without interruption. Moreover, behavioural assays and chemical analysis reveal that M. xipe are attracted to the ant's alarm pheromone, the same secretion used by the phorid fly parasitoids in host location. This strategy allows beetles access to an abundant but otherwise inaccessible resource, as A. sericeasur ants are typically highly aggressive. These results are the first, to our knowledge, to demonstrate a predator sharing cues with a parasitoid to gain access to an otherwise unavailable prey item. Furthermore, this work highlights the importance of studying ant-myrmecophile interactions beyond just their pairwise context.

  18. Phytolith assemblages in grasses native to central Argentina.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gallego, Lucrecia; Distel, Roberto A

    2004-12-01

    Phytolith reference collections are a prerequisite for accurate interpretation of soil phytolith assemblages aimed at reconstructing past vegetation. In this study a phytolith reference collection has been developed for several grasses native to central Argentina: Poa ligularis, Piptochaetium napostaense, Stipa clarazii, Stipa tenuis, Stipa tenuissima, Stipa eriostachya, Stipa ambigua, Stipa brachychaeta, Pappophorum subbulbosum, Digitaria californica, Bothriochloa edwardsiana and Aristida subulata. For each species, phytoliths present in the leaf blades were classified into 47 morphotypes, and their relative frequency determined by observing 300-400 phytoliths per sample (n = 5). Data were analyzed by complete linkage cluster analysis, using the Morisita Index as measure of association. The results showed differentiation among phytolith assemblages at species level or at plant functional type level. Cluster analysis separated C3 from C4 species and palatable from non-palatable species. This study highlights the possibility of reconstructing past vegetation in central Argentina grasslands through the analysis of soil phytolith assemblages.

  19. A common tendency for phylogenetic overdispersion in mammalian assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooper, Natalie; Rodríguez, Jesús; Purvis, Andy

    2008-09-07

    Competition has long been proposed as an important force in structuring mammalian communities. Although early work recognized that competition has a phylogenetic dimension, only with recent increases in the availability of phylogenies have true phylogenetic investigations of mammalian community structure become possible. We test whether the phylogenetic structure of 142 assemblages from three mammalian clades (New World monkeys, North American ground squirrels and Australasian possums) shows the imprint of competition. The full set of assemblages display a highly significant tendency for members to be more distantly related than expected by chance (phylogenetic overdispersion). The overdispersion is also significant within two of the clades (monkeys and squirrels) separately. This is the first demonstration of widespread overdispersion in mammal assemblages and implies an important role for either competition between close relatives where traits are conserved, habitat filtering where distant relatives share convergent traits, or both.

  20. Habitat specialization in tropical continental shelf demersal fish assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ben M Fitzpatrick

    Full Text Available The implications of shallow water impacts such as fishing and climate change on fish assemblages are generally considered in isolation from the distribution and abundance of these fish assemblages in adjacent deeper waters. We investigate the abundance and length of demersal fish assemblages across a section of tropical continental shelf at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, to identify fish and fish habitat relationships across steep gradients in depth and in different benthic habitat types. The assemblage composition of demersal fish were assessed from baited remote underwater stereo-video samples (n = 304 collected from 16 depth and habitat combinations. Samples were collected across a depth range poorly represented in the literature from the fringing reef lagoon (1-10 m depth, down the fore reef slope to the reef base (10-30 m depth then across the adjacent continental shelf (30-110 m depth. Multivariate analyses showed that there were distinctive fish assemblages and different sized fish were associated with each habitat/depth category. Species richness, MaxN and diversity declined with depth, while average length and trophic level increased. The assemblage structure, diversity, size and trophic structure of demersal fishes changes from shallow inshore habitats to deeper water habitats. More habitat specialists (unique species per habitat/depth category were associated with the reef slope and reef base than other habitats, but offshore sponge-dominated habitats and inshore coral-dominated reef also supported unique species. This suggests that marine protected areas in shallow coral-dominated reef habitats may not adequately protect those species whose depth distribution extends beyond shallow habitats, or other significant elements of demersal fish biodiversity. The ontogenetic habitat partitioning which is characteristic of many species, suggests that to maintain entire species life histories it is necessary to protect corridors of

  1. Habitat specialization in tropical continental shelf demersal fish assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fitzpatrick, Ben M; Harvey, Euan S; Heyward, Andrew J; Twiggs, Emily J; Colquhoun, Jamie

    2012-01-01

    The implications of shallow water impacts such as fishing and climate change on fish assemblages are generally considered in isolation from the distribution and abundance of these fish assemblages in adjacent deeper waters. We investigate the abundance and length of demersal fish assemblages across a section of tropical continental shelf at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, to identify fish and fish habitat relationships across steep gradients in depth and in different benthic habitat types. The assemblage composition of demersal fish were assessed from baited remote underwater stereo-video samples (n = 304) collected from 16 depth and habitat combinations. Samples were collected across a depth range poorly represented in the literature from the fringing reef lagoon (1-10 m depth), down the fore reef slope to the reef base (10-30 m depth) then across the adjacent continental shelf (30-110 m depth). Multivariate analyses showed that there were distinctive fish assemblages and different sized fish were associated with each habitat/depth category. Species richness, MaxN and diversity declined with depth, while average length and trophic level increased. The assemblage structure, diversity, size and trophic structure of demersal fishes changes from shallow inshore habitats to deeper water habitats. More habitat specialists (unique species per habitat/depth category) were associated with the reef slope and reef base than other habitats, but offshore sponge-dominated habitats and inshore coral-dominated reef also supported unique species. This suggests that marine protected areas in shallow coral-dominated reef habitats may not adequately protect those species whose depth distribution extends beyond shallow habitats, or other significant elements of demersal fish biodiversity. The ontogenetic habitat partitioning which is characteristic of many species, suggests that to maintain entire species life histories it is necessary to protect corridors of connected habitats

  2. Experimental Study of the Dynamics of Foraging Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, J. I.; Fetzner, R. P.; Baxter, G. W.

    2006-03-01

    We study the search paths of foraging ants in order to describe their behavior mathematically. Ants have become popular as simple agents in models of artificial life. Here, the ant is presented the problem of finding food when no food cues are present. In this experiment, individual ants (Formicinae lasius flavus) are allowed to forage on a two-dimensional textured surface in the absence of a food source. The position of the ant as a function of time is determined with a high resolution digital camera. The scaling properties of the resulting foraging paths compare favorably with those of certain types of random walk.

  3. Fighting for a harem of queens: physiology of reproduction in Cardiocondyla male ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heinze, J; Hölldobler, B

    1993-09-15

    Several species of the ant genus Cardiocondyla produce dimorphic males, which exhibit sharply different mating strategies. Winged males typically disperse to mate outside the nest, whereas wingless, ergatoid males stay in the nest and aggressively employ their mandibles against competing ergatoid males to monopolize the virgin queens eclosing in the nest. Such aggressive mating strategy would only be adaptive if the males had unlimited sperm supply. Histological studies showed that, contrary to the rule in the Hymenoptera order, the ergatoid Cardiocondyla males are indeed able to produce sperm during their entire adult life. Winged males, on the other hand, have only a limited sperm supply since spermatogenesis ceases in the late pupal stage.

  4. Mites (Acari Associated with the Desert Seed Harvester Ant, Messor pergandei (Mayr

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kaitlin A. Uppstrom

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Mites (Acari associated with the seed harvester ant Messor pergandei were investigated in the Sonoran desert of Arizona. At least seven representatives of the mite genera Armacarus, Lemanniella, Petalomium, Forcellinia, Histiostoma, Unguidispus, and Cosmoglyphus are phoretically associated with M. pergandei. Most of these morphospecies show preference for specific phoretic attachment sites and primarily use female alates rather than male alates for dispersal. Five mite morphospecies were found in low numbers inhabiting the chaff piles: Tydeidae sp., Procaeculus sp., Anystidae sp., Bakerdania sp., and Tetranychidae sp. The phoretic Petalomium sp. was observed consuming fungus growing on a dead queen, but the roles of the other mite species remain mostly unresolved.

  5. Light-dependant biostabilisation of sediments by stromatolite assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David M Paterson

    Full Text Available For the first time we have investigated the natural ecosystem engineering capacity of stromatolitic microbial assemblages. Stromatolites are laminated sedimentary structures formed by microbial activity and are considered to have dominated the shallows of the Precambrian oceans. Their fossilised remains are the most ancient unambiguous record of early life on earth. Stromatolites can therefore be considered as the first recognisable ecosystems on the planet. However, while many discussions have taken place over their structure and form, we have very little information on their functional ecology and how such assemblages persisted despite strong eternal forcing from wind and waves. The capture and binding of sediment is clearly a critical feature for the formation and persistence of stromatolite assemblages. Here, we investigated the ecosystem engineering capacity of stromatolitic microbial assemblages with respect to their ability to stabilise sediment using material from one of the few remaining living stromatolite systems (Highborne Cay, Bahamas. It was shown that the most effective assemblages could produce a rapid (12-24 h and significant increase in sediment stability that continued in a linear fashion over the period of the experimentation (228 h. Importantly, it was also found that light was required for the assemblages to produce this stabilisation effect and that removal of assemblage into darkness could lead to a partial reversal of the stabilisation. This was attributed to the breakdown of extracellular polymeric substances under anaerobic conditions. These data were supported by microelectrode profiling of oxygen and calcium. The structure of the assemblages as they formed was visualised by low-temperature scanning electron microscopy and confocal laser microscopy. These results have implications for the understanding of early stromatolite development and highlight the potential importance of the evolution of photosynthesis in the

  6. Ant species confer different partner benefits on two neotropical myrmecophytes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frederickson, Megan E

    2005-04-01

    The dynamics of mutualistic interactions involving more than a single pair of species depend on the relative costs and benefits of interaction among alternative partners. The neotropical myrmecophytes Cordia nodosa and Duroia hirsuta associate with several species of obligately symbiotic ants. I compared the ant partners of Cordia and Duroia with respect to two benefits known to be important in ant-myrmecophyte interactions: protection against herbivores provided by ants, and protection against encroaching vegetation provided by ants. Azteca spp., Myrmelachista schumanni, and Allomerus octoarticulatus demerarae ants all provide the leaves of Cordia and Duroia some protection against herbivores. However, Azteca and Allomerus provide more protection than does Myrmelachista to the leaves of their host plants. Although Allomerus protects the leaves of its hosts, plants occupied by Allomerus suffer more attacks by herbivores to their stems than do plants occupied by other ants. Relative to Azteca or Allomerus, Myrmelachista ants provide better protection against encroaching vegetation, increasing canopy openness over their host plants. These differences in benefits among the ant partners of Cordia and Duroia are reflected in the effect of each ant species on host plant size, growth rate, and reproduction. The results of this study show how mutualistic ant partners can differ with respect to both the magnitude and type of benefits they provide to the same species of myrmecophytic host.

  7. The interactions of ants with their biotic environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Renner, Susanne S.

    2017-01-01

    This special feature results from the symposium ‘Ants 2016: ant interactions with their biotic environments’ held in Munich in May 2016 and deals with the interactions between ants and other insects, plants, microbes and fungi, studied at micro- and macroevolutionary levels with a wide range of approaches, from field ecology to next-generation sequencing, chemical ecology and molecular genetics. In this paper, we review key aspects of these biotic interactions to provide background information for the papers of this special feature. After listing the major types of biotic interactions that ants engage in, we present a brief overview of ant/ant communication, ant/plant interactions, ant/fungus symbioses, and recent insights about ants and their endosymbionts. Using a large molecular clock-dated Formicidae phylogeny, we map the evolutionary origins of different ant clades' interactions with plants, fungi and hemiptera. Ants' biotic interactions provide ideal systems to address fundamental ecological and evolutionary questions about mutualism, coevolution, adaptation and animal communication. PMID:28298352

  8. The Pied Piper: A Parasitic Beetle's Melodies Modulate Ant Behaviours.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Di Giulio

    Full Text Available Ants use various communication channels to regulate their social organisation. The main channel that drives almost all the ants' activities and behaviours is the chemical one, but it is long acknowledged that the acoustic channel also plays an important role. However, very little is known regarding exploitation of the acoustical channel by myrmecophile parasites to infiltrate the ant society. Among social parasites, the ant nest beetles (Paussus are obligate myrmecophiles able to move throughout the colony at will and prey on the ants, surprisingly never eliciting aggression from the colonies. It has been recently postulated that stridulatory organs in Paussus might be evolved as an acoustic mechanism to interact with ants. Here, we survey the role of acoustic signals employed in the Paussus beetle-Pheidole ant system. Ants parasitised by Paussus beetles produce caste-specific stridulations. We found that Paussus can "speak" three different "languages", each similar to sounds produced by different ant castes (workers, soldiers, queen. Playback experiments were used to test how host ants respond to the sounds emitted by Paussus. Our data suggest that, by mimicking the stridulations of the queen, Paussus is able to dupe the workers of its host and to be treated as royalty. This is the first report of acoustic mimicry in a beetle parasite of ants.

  9. Fast and flexible: argentine ants recruit from nearby trails.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flanagan, Tatiana P; Pinter-Wollman, Noa M; Moses, Melanie E; Gordon, Deborah M

    2013-01-01

    Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) live in groups of nests connected by trails to each other and to stable food sources. In a field study, we investigated whether some ants recruit directly from established, persistent trails to food sources, thus accelerating food collection. Our results indicate that Argentine ants recruit nestmates to food directly from persistent trails, and that the exponential increase in the arrival rate of ants at baits is faster than would be possible if recruited ants traveled from distant nests. Once ants find a new food source, they walk back and forth between the bait and sometimes share food by trophallaxis with nestmates on the trail. Recruiting ants from nearby persistent trails creates a dynamic circuit, like those found in other distributed systems, which facilitates a quick response to changes in available resources.

  10. Insect navigation: do ants live in the now?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Paul; Mangan, Michael

    2015-03-01

    Visual navigation is a critical behaviour for many animals, and it has been particularly well studied in ants. Decades of ant navigation research have uncovered many ways in which efficient navigation can be implemented in small brains. For example, ants show us how visual information can drive navigation via procedural rather than map-like instructions. Two recent behavioural observations highlight interesting adaptive ways in which ants implement visual guidance. Firstly, it has been shown that the systematic nest searches of ants can be biased by recent experience of familiar scenes. Secondly, ants have been observed to show temporary periods of confusion when asked to repeat a route segment, even if that route segment is very familiar. Taken together, these results indicate that the navigational decisions of ants take into account their recent experiences as well as the currently perceived environment. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  11. Extrafloral nectar content alters foraging preferences of a predatory ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilder, Shawn M; Eubanks, Micky D

    2010-04-23

    We tested whether the carbohydrate and amino acid content of extrafloral nectar affected prey choice by a predatory ant. Fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, were provided with artificial nectar that varied in the presence of carbohydrates and amino acids and were then provided with two prey items that differed in nutritional content, female and male crickets. Colonies of fire ants provided with carbohydrate supplements consumed less of the female crickets and frequently did not consume the high-lipid ovaries of female crickets. Colonies of fire ants provided with amino acid supplements consumed less of the male crickets. While a number of studies have shown that the presence of extrafloral nectar or honeydew can affect ant foraging activity, these results suggest that the nutritional composition of extrafloral nectar is also important and can affect subsequent prey choice by predatory ants. Our results suggest that, by altering the composition of extrafloral nectar, plants could manipulate the prey preferences of ants foraging on them.

  12. Fast and Flexible: Argentine Ants Recruit from Nearby Trails

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flanagan, Tatiana P.; Pinter-Wollman, Noa M.; Moses, Melanie E.; Gordon, Deborah M.

    2013-01-01

    Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) live in groups of nests connected by trails to each other and to stable food sources. In a field study, we investigated whether some ants recruit directly from established, persistent trails to food sources, thus accelerating food collection. Our results indicate that Argentine ants recruit nestmates to food directly from persistent trails, and that the exponential increase in the arrival rate of ants at baits is faster than would be possible if recruited ants traveled from distant nests. Once ants find a new food source, they walk back and forth between the bait and sometimes share food by trophallaxis with nestmates on the trail. Recruiting ants from nearby persistent trails creates a dynamic circuit, like those found in other distributed systems, which facilitates a quick response to changes in available resources. PMID:23967129

  13. Fast and flexible: argentine ants recruit from nearby trails.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tatiana P Flanagan

    Full Text Available Argentine ants (Linepithema humile live in groups of nests connected by trails to each other and to stable food sources. In a field study, we investigated whether some ants recruit directly from established, persistent trails to food sources, thus accelerating food collection. Our results indicate that Argentine ants recruit nestmates to food directly from persistent trails, and that the exponential increase in the arrival rate of ants at baits is faster than would be possible if recruited ants traveled from distant nests. Once ants find a new food source, they walk back and forth between the bait and sometimes share food by trophallaxis with nestmates on the trail. Recruiting ants from nearby persistent trails creates a dynamic circuit, like those found in other distributed systems, which facilitates a quick response to changes in available resources.

  14. Dispersion management with metamaterials

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tassin, Philippe; Koschny, Thomas; Soukoulis, Costas M.

    2017-03-07

    An apparatus, system, and method to counteract group velocity dispersion in fibers, or any other propagation of electromagnetic signals at any wavelength (microwave, terahertz, optical, etc.) in any other medium. A dispersion compensation step or device based on dispersion-engineered metamaterials is included and avoids the need of a long section of specialty fiber or the need for Bragg gratings (which have insertion loss).

  15. Vowel dispersion in Truku

    OpenAIRE

    Chiang, Wen-yu; Chiang, Fang-mei

    2013-01-01

    This study investigates the dispersion