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Sample records for ground ant diversity

  1. The effects of forest conversion to oil palm on ground-foraging ant communities depend on beta diversity and sampling grain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Wendy Y; Foster, William A

    2015-08-01

    Beta diversity - the variation in species composition among spatially discrete communities - and sampling grain - the size of samples being compared - may alter our perspectives of diversity within and between landscapes before and after agricultural conversion. Such assumptions are usually based on point comparisons, which do not accurately capture actual differences in total diversity. Beta diversity is often not rigorously examined. We investigated the beta diversity of ground-foraging ant communities in fragmented oil palm and forest landscapes in Sabah, Malaysia, using diversity metrics transformed from Hill number equivalents to remove dependences on alpha diversity. We compared the beta diversities of oil palm and forest, across three hierarchically nested sampling grains. We found that oil palm and forest communities had a greater percentage of total shared species when larger samples were compared. Across all grains and disregarding relative abundances, there was higher beta diversity of all species among forest communities. However, there were higher beta diversities of common and very abundant (dominant) species in oil palm as compared to forests. Differences in beta diversities between oil palm and forest were greatest at the largest sampling grain. Larger sampling grains in oil palm may generate bigger species pools, increasing the probability of shared species with forest samples. Greater beta diversity of all species in forest may be attributed to rare species. Oil palm communities may be more heterogeneous in common and dominant species because of variable community assembly events. Rare and also common species are better captured at larger grains, boosting differences in beta diversity between larger samples of forest and oil palm communities. Although agricultural landscapes support a lower total diversity than natural forests, diversity especially of abundant species is still important for maintaining ecosystem stability. Diversity in

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Species diversity and distribution patterns of the ants of Amazonian Ecuador.

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    Kari T Ryder Wilkie

    Full Text Available Ants are among the most diverse, abundant and ecologically significant organisms on earth. Although their species richness appears to be greatest in the New World tropics, global patterns of ant diversity and distribution are not well understood. We comprehensively surveyed ant diversity in a lowland primary rainforest in Western Amazonia, Ecuador using canopy fogging, pitfall traps, baits, hand collecting, mini-Winkler devices and subterranean probes to sample ants. A total of 489 ant species comprising 64 genera in nine subfamilies were identified from samples collected in only 0.16 square kilometers. The most species-rich genera were Camponotus, Pheidole, Pseudomyrmex, Pachycondyla, Brachymyrmex, and Crematogaster. Camponotus and Pseudomyrmex were most diverse in the canopy, while Pheidole was most diverse on the ground. The three most abundant ground-dwelling ant genera were Pheidole, Solenopsis and Pyramica. Crematogaster carinata was the most abundant ant species in the canopy; Wasmannia auropunctata was most abundant on the ground, and the army ant Labidus coecus was the most abundant subterranean species. Ant species composition among strata was significantly different: 80% of species were found in only one stratum, 17% in two strata, and 3% in all three strata. Elevation and the number of logs and twigs available as nest sites were significant predictors of ground-dwelling ant species richness. Canopy species richness was not correlated with any ecological variable measured. Subterranean species richness was negatively correlated with depth in the soil. When ant species were categorized using a functional group matrix based on diet, nest-site preference and foraging ecology, the greatest diversity was found in Omnivorous Canopy Nesters. Our study indicates ant species richness is exceptionally high at Tiputini. We project 647-736 ant species in this global hotspot of biodiversity. Considering the relatively small area surveyed, this

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

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    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.

  7. 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...

  8. Tracing the rise of ants - out of the ground.

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    Andrea Lucky

    Full Text Available The evolution of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae is increasingly well-understood due to recent phylogenetic analyses, along with estimates of divergence times and diversification rates. Yet, leading hypotheses regarding the ancestral habitat of ants conflict with new findings that early ant lineages are cryptic and subterranean. Where the ants evolved, in respect to habitat, and how habitat shifts took place over time have not been formally tested. Here, we reconstruct the habitat transitions of crown-group ants through time, focusing on where they nest and forage (in the canopy, litter, or soil. Based on ancestral character reconstructions, we show that in contrast to the current consensus based on verbal arguments that ants evolved in tropical leaf litter, the soil is supported as the ancestral stratum of all ants. We also find subsequent movements up into the litter and, in some cases, into the canopy. Given the global importance of ants, because of their diversity, ecological influence and status as the most successful eusocial lineage on Earth, understanding the early evolution of this lineage provides insight into the factors that made this group so successful today.

  9. Tracing the rise of ants - out of the ground.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lucky, Andrea; Trautwein, Michelle D; Guénard, Benoit S; Weiser, Michael D; Dunn, Robert R

    2013-01-01

    The evolution of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is increasingly well-understood due to recent phylogenetic analyses, along with estimates of divergence times and diversification rates. Yet, leading hypotheses regarding the ancestral habitat of ants conflict with new findings that early ant lineages are cryptic and subterranean. Where the ants evolved, in respect to habitat, and how habitat shifts took place over time have not been formally tested. Here, we reconstruct the habitat transitions of crown-group ants through time, focusing on where they nest and forage (in the canopy, litter, or soil). Based on ancestral character reconstructions, we show that in contrast to the current consensus based on verbal arguments that ants evolved in tropical leaf litter, the soil is supported as the ancestral stratum of all ants. We also find subsequent movements up into the litter and, in some cases, into the canopy. Given the global importance of ants, because of their diversity, ecological influence and status as the most successful eusocial lineage on Earth, understanding the early evolution of this lineage provides insight into the factors that made this group so successful today.

  10. The diversity of microorganisms associated with Acromyrmex leafcutter ants

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    Boomsma Jacobus J

    2002-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Molecular biological techniques are dramatically changing our view of microbial diversity in almost any environment that has so far been investigated. This study presents a systematic survey of the microbial diversity associated with a population of Acromyrmex leafcutter ants. In contrast to previous studies on social insects, which targeted specific groups of symbionts occurring in the gut (termites, Tetraponera ants or in specialised cells (Camponotus ants the objective of our present study was to do a total screening of all possible micro-organisms that can be found inside the bodies of these leafcutter ants. Results We amplified, cloned and sequenced SSU rRNA encoding gene fragments from 9 microbial groups known to have insect-associated representatives, and show that: (1 representatives of 5 out of 9 tested groups are present, (2 mostly several strains per group are present, adding up to a total of 33 different taxa. We present the microbial taxa associated with Acromymex ants in a phylogenetic context (using sequences from GenBank to assess and illustrate to which known microorganisms they are closely related. The observed microbial diversity is discussed in the light of present knowledge on the evolutionary history of Acromyrmex leafcutter ants and their known mutualistic and parasitic symbionts. Conclusions The major merits of the screening approach documented here is its high sensitivity and specificity, which allowed us to identify several microorganisms that are promising candidates for further study of their interactions with Acromyrmex leafcutter ants or their gardens.

  11. Diversity of peptide toxins from stinging ant venoms.

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    Aili, Samira R; Touchard, Axel; Escoubas, Pierre; Padula, Matthew P; Orivel, Jérôme; Dejean, Alain; Nicholson, Graham M

    2014-12-15

    Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) represent a taxonomically diverse group of arthropods comprising nearly 13,000 extant species. Sixteen ant subfamilies have individuals that possess a stinger and use their venom for purposes such as a defence against predators, competitors and microbial pathogens, for predation, as well as for social communication. They exhibit a range of activities including antimicrobial, haemolytic, cytolytic, paralytic, insecticidal and pain-producing pharmacologies. While ant venoms are known to be rich in alkaloids and hydrocarbons, ant venoms rich in peptides are becoming more common, yet remain understudied. Recent advances in mass spectrometry techniques have begun to reveal the true complexity of ant venom peptide composition. In the few venoms explored thus far, most peptide toxins appear to occur as small polycationic linear toxins, with antibacterial properties and insecticidal activity. Unlike other venomous animals, a number of ant venoms also contain a range of homodimeric and heterodimeric peptides with one or two interchain disulfide bonds possessing pore-forming, allergenic and paralytic actions. However, ant venoms seem to have only a small number of monomeric disulfide-linked peptides. The present review details the structure and pharmacology of known ant venom peptide toxins and their potential as a source of novel bioinsecticides and therapeutic agents. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Dominance in a ground-dwelling ant community of banana agroecosystem.

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    Carval, Dominique; Cotté, Violaine; Resmond, Rémi; Perrin, Benjamin; Tixier, Philippe

    2016-12-01

    In tropical ecosystems, ants represent a substantial portion of the animal biomass and contribute to various ecosystem services, including pest regulation and pollination. Dominant ant species are known to determine the structure of ant communities by interfering in the foraging of other ant species. Using bait and pitfall trapping experiments, we performed a pattern analysis at a fine spatial scale of an ant community in a very simplified and homogeneous agroecosystem, that is, a single-crop banana field in Martinique (French West Indies). We found that the community structure was driven by three dominant species (Solenopsis geminata, Nylanderia guatemalensis, and Monomorium ebeninum) and two subdominant species (Pheidole fallax and Brachymyrmex patagonicus). Our results showed that dominant and subdominant species generally maintained numerical dominance at baits across time, although S. geminata, M. ebeninum, and B. patagonicus displayed better abilities to maintain dominance than P. fallax and N. guatemalensis. Almost all interspecific correlations between species abundances, except those between B. patagonicus and N. guatemalensis, were symmetrically negative, suggesting that interference competition prevails in this ground-dwelling ant community. However, we observed variations in the diurnal and nocturnal foraging activity and in the daily occurrence at baits, which may mitigate the effect of interference competition through the induction of spatial and temporal niche partitioning. This may explain the coexistence of dominant, subdominant, and subordinate species in this very simplified agroecosystem, limited in habitat structure and diversity.

  13. Ant distribution in relation to ground water in north Florida pine flatwoods.

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    Tschinkel, Walter R; Murdock, Tyler; King, Joshua R; Kwapich, Christina

    2012-01-01

    Longleaf pine savannas are one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world, yet are understudied. Ants are a functionally important and diverse group of insects in these ecosystems. It is largely unknown how local patterns of species diversity and composition are determined through the interaction of this dominant animal group with abiotic features of longleaf pine ecosystems. Here we describe how an important abiotic variable, depth to water table, relates to ant species distributions at local scales. Pitfall trapping studies across habitat gradients in the Florida coastal plains longleaf pine flatwoods showed that the ant community changed with mild differences in habitat. In this undulating landscape, elevation differences were less than 2 m, and the depth to the water table ranged from plant species composing the ground cover were zoned in response to depth to water, and shading by canopy trees increased over deeper water tables. Of the 27 ant species that were analyzed, depending on the statistical test, seven or eight were significantly more abundant over a deep water table, eight to ten over a shallow one, and nine to eleven were not significantly patterned with respect to depth to water. Ant species preferring sites with shallow groundwater also preferred the shadier parts of the sites, while those preferring sites with deeper groundwater preferred the sunnier parts of the sites. This suggests that one group of species prefers hot-dry conditions, and the other cooler-moist. Factor analysis and abundance-weighted mean site characteristics generally confirmed these results. These results show that ant communities in this region respond to subtle differences in habitat, but whether these differences arise from founding preferences, survival, competition, or some combination of these is not known.

  14. Are Tree Species Diversity and Genotypic Diversity Effects on Insect Herbivores Mediated by Ants?

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    Campos-Navarrete, María José; Abdala-Roberts, Luis; Munguía-Rosas, Miguel A.; Parra-Tabla, Víctor

    2015-01-01

    Plant diversity can influence predators and omnivores and such effects may in turn influence herbivores and plants. However, evidence for these ecological feedbacks is rare. We evaluated if the effects of tree species (SD) and genotypic diversity (GD) on the abundance of different guilds of insect herbivores associated with big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) were contingent upon the protective effects of ants tending extra-floral nectaries of this species. This study was conducted within a larger experiment consisting of mahogany monocultures and species polycultures of four species and –within each of these two plot types– mahogany was represented by either one or four maternal families. We selected 24 plots spanning these treatment combinations, 10 mahogany plants/plot, and within each plot experimentally reduced ant abundance on half of the selected plants, and surveyed ant and herbivore abundance. There were positive effects of SD on generalist leaf-chewers and sap-feeders, but for the latter group this effect depended on the ant reduction treatment: SD positively influenced sap-feeders under ambient ant abundance but had no effect when ant abundance was reduced; at the same time, ants had negative effects on sap feeders in monoculture but no effect in polyculture. In contrast, SD did not influence specialist stem-borers or leaf-miners and this effect was not contingent upon ant reduction. Finally, GD did not influence any of the herbivore guilds studied, and such effects did not depend on the ant treatment. Overall, we show that tree species diversity influenced interactions between a focal plant species (mahogany) and ants, and that such effects in turn mediated plant diversity effects on some (sap-feeders) but not all the herbivores guilds studied. Our results suggest that the observed patterns are dependent on the combined effects of herbivore identity, diet breadth, and the source of plant diversity. PMID:26241962

  15. Are Tree Species Diversity and Genotypic Diversity Effects on Insect Herbivores Mediated by Ants?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campos-Navarrete, María José; Abdala-Roberts, Luis; Munguía-Rosas, Miguel A; Parra-Tabla, Víctor

    2015-01-01

    Plant diversity can influence predators and omnivores and such effects may in turn influence herbivores and plants. However, evidence for these ecological feedbacks is rare. We evaluated if the effects of tree species (SD) and genotypic diversity (GD) on the abundance of different guilds of insect herbivores associated with big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) were contingent upon the protective effects of ants tending extra-floral nectaries of this species. This study was conducted within a larger experiment consisting of mahogany monocultures and species polycultures of four species and -within each of these two plot types- mahogany was represented by either one or four maternal families. We selected 24 plots spanning these treatment combinations, 10 mahogany plants/plot, and within each plot experimentally reduced ant abundance on half of the selected plants, and surveyed ant and herbivore abundance. There were positive effects of SD on generalist leaf-chewers and sap-feeders, but for the latter group this effect depended on the ant reduction treatment: SD positively influenced sap-feeders under ambient ant abundance but had no effect when ant abundance was reduced; at the same time, ants had negative effects on sap feeders in monoculture but no effect in polyculture. In contrast, SD did not influence specialist stem-borers or leaf-miners and this effect was not contingent upon ant reduction. Finally, GD did not influence any of the herbivore guilds studied, and such effects did not depend on the ant treatment. Overall, we show that tree species diversity influenced interactions between a focal plant species (mahogany) and ants, and that such effects in turn mediated plant diversity effects on some (sap-feeders) but not all the herbivores guilds studied. Our results suggest that the observed patterns are dependent on the combined effects of herbivore identity, diet breadth, and the source of plant diversity.

  16. Are Tree Species Diversity and Genotypic Diversity Effects on Insect Herbivores Mediated by Ants?

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    María José Campos-Navarrete

    Full Text Available Plant diversity can influence predators and omnivores and such effects may in turn influence herbivores and plants. However, evidence for these ecological feedbacks is rare. We evaluated if the effects of tree species (SD and genotypic diversity (GD on the abundance of different guilds of insect herbivores associated with big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla were contingent upon the protective effects of ants tending extra-floral nectaries of this species. This study was conducted within a larger experiment consisting of mahogany monocultures and species polycultures of four species and -within each of these two plot types- mahogany was represented by either one or four maternal families. We selected 24 plots spanning these treatment combinations, 10 mahogany plants/plot, and within each plot experimentally reduced ant abundance on half of the selected plants, and surveyed ant and herbivore abundance. There were positive effects of SD on generalist leaf-chewers and sap-feeders, but for the latter group this effect depended on the ant reduction treatment: SD positively influenced sap-feeders under ambient ant abundance but had no effect when ant abundance was reduced; at the same time, ants had negative effects on sap feeders in monoculture but no effect in polyculture. In contrast, SD did not influence specialist stem-borers or leaf-miners and this effect was not contingent upon ant reduction. Finally, GD did not influence any of the herbivore guilds studied, and such effects did not depend on the ant treatment. Overall, we show that tree species diversity influenced interactions between a focal plant species (mahogany and ants, and that such effects in turn mediated plant diversity effects on some (sap-feeders but not all the herbivores guilds studied. Our results suggest that the observed patterns are dependent on the combined effects of herbivore identity, diet breadth, and the source of plant diversity.

  17. 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.

  18. Diversity of Eastern North American ant communities along environmental gradients.

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    Israel Del Toro

    Full Text Available Studies of species diversity patterns across regional environmental gradients seldom consider the impact of habitat type on within-site (alpha and between-site (beta diversity. This study is designed to identify the influence of habitat type across geographic and environmental space, on local patterns of species richness and regional turnover patterns of ant diversity in the northeastern United States. Specifically, I aim to 1 compare local species richness in paired open and forested transects and identify the environmental variables that best correlate with richness; and 2 document patterns of beta diversity throughout the region in both open and forested habitat. I systematically sampled ants at 67 sites from May to August 2010, spanning 10 degrees of latitude, and 1000 meters of elevation. Patterns of alpha and beta diversity across the region and along environmental gradients differed between forested and open habitats. Local species richness was higher in the low elevation and warmest sites and was always higher in open habitat than in forest habitat transects. Richness decreased as temperature decreased or elevation increased. Forested transects show strong patterns of decreasing dissimilarity in species composition between sites along the temperature gradient but open habitat transects did not. Maximum temperature of the warmest month better predicted species richness than either latitude or elevation. I find that using environmental variables as key predictors of richness yields more biologically relevant results, and produces simpler macroecological models than commonly used models which use only latitude and elevation as predictors of richness and diversity patterns. This study contributes to the understanding of mechanisms that structure the communities of important terrestrial arthropods which are likely to be influenced by climatic change.

  19. Effects of lac-corn agroforest ecosystem on ground-dwelling ant diversity and functional groups%紫胶玉米混农林模式对地表蚂蚁多样性及功能群的影响

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    卢志兴; 李可力; 张念念; 陈又清

    2016-01-01

    survival and higher biodiversity. Lac insects (Kerria spp.) as well as their excrement are important resource insects widely used in many fields including food, medicine and military industry. Lac-corn agroforestry ecosystem is popular pattern of lac production in mountain areas of Southwest China where lac production accounts for a good fraction of the income of farmers’ households. However, there is less research on the functional groups of arthropods in lac-corn agroforestry. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) are widely distributed in many terrestrial ecosystems. They can be used as indicator for evaluating environmental changes and ecosystem health because they are sensitive to disturbances in important functions of ecosystem. Studies have shown that functional groups constitute a useful method of predicting the response of ant communities to disturbances and environmental changes. This study determined the effects of lac-corn agroforest ecosystem on the diversity and functional groups of ground-dwelling ant communities and the role of lac-corn agroforestry ecosystem in ant diversity and ecosystem function protection. A research was conducted using pitfall traps on ground-dwelling ant communities in lac plantation, lac-corn agroforest ecosystem and cornfield in Lüchun County. A total of 11 781 individual ants were collected, belonging to 78 species, 37 genera and 7 sub-families. Lac-corn agroforest ecosystem had higher species and rare species numbers of ground-dwelling ant communities. In lac-corn agroforest ecosystem, the numbers species and rare species increased by 41% and 85%, respectively, compared with cornfield. Ant abundance in lac-corn agroforest ecosystem was significantly higher than that in lac plantation and cornfield. Ant abundance, ACE of ant in lac-corn agroforest ecosystem and lac plantation were significantly higher those of cornfield. Ant community structure of lac-corn agroforest ecosystem was similar to that of lac plantation, but dissimilar

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

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    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

  1. Monopolization of resources by ground-nesting ants foraging on trees in Mediterranean forests

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    Martinez, Jean-Jacques Itzhak

    2015-05-01

    Ant communities are generally structured by territoriality, dominance and resource monopolization, but in Mediterranean hot grassland thermal tolerance plays a more important role. The main purposes of the present research were to investigate the hypothesis that in cooler Mediterranean forests resource monopolization structures the generalist ground-nesting ant community while foraging on trees, and to learn if tree heterogeneity plays any role in this structure. In Mediterranean forests in Israel, I visually recorded and trapped ants on the forest floor and those climbing on trees of five species. Ants of 27 species were detected, while the Chao2 index indicated an asymptotic richness estimation of 31 ± 8.1 species (mean ± S.D.). The numerically dominant species were Crematogaster lorteti and Tapinoma simrothi followed by Tapinoma israele and Crematogaster scutellaris. In more than 80% of the cases, specimens of only one ant species climbed at the same time on any individual tree, and no tree was occupied by more than three species. The C-score of climbing ants was statistically higher than simulated indexes when resources were individual trees, indicating that the ants strongly monopolized each tree. No difference was detected between observed and simulated C-scores when resources were tree species. The observed index of Pianka's niche overlap indicated no species specific interaction between trees and ants. In conclusion, this study confirms that ant mosaic structure may be formed by ground-nesting ants while foraging on trees. Tree species heterogeneity did not have a selective impact on the ants nor a central role in the ant community structure.

  2. 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.

  3. 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....

  4. Density-Dependent Effects of an Invasive Ant on a Ground-Dwelling Arthropod Community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooling, M; Sim, D A; Lester, P J

    2015-02-01

    It is frequently assumed that an invasive species that is ecologically or economically damaging in one region, will typically be so in other environments. The Argentine ant Linepithema humile (Mayr) is listed among the world's worst invaders. It commonly displaces resident ant species where it occurs at high population densities, and may also reduce densities of other ground-dwelling arthropods. We investigated the effect of varying Argentine ant abundance on resident ant and nonant arthropod species richness and abundance in seven cities across its range in New Zealand. Pitfall traps were used to compare an invaded and uninvaded site in each city. Invaded sites were selected based on natural varying abundance of Argentine ant populations. Argentine ant density had a significant negative effect on epigaeic ant abundance and species richness, but hypogaeic ant abundance and species richness was unaffected. We observed a significant decrease in Diplopoda abundance with increasing Argentine ant abundance, while Coleoptera abundance increased. The effect on Amphipoda and Isopoda depended strongly on climate. The severity of the impact on negatively affected taxa was reduced in areas where Argentine ant densities were low. Surprisingly, Argentine ants had no effect on the abundance of the other arthropod taxa examined. Morphospecies richness for all nonant arthropod taxa was unaffected by Argentine ant abundance. Species that are established as invasive in one location therefore cannot be assumed to be invasive in other locations based on presence alone. Appropriate management decisions should reflect this knowledge. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  5. Diversity of Species and Behavior of Hymenopteran Parasitoids of Ants: A Review

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    Jean-Paul Lachaud

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Reports of hymenopterans associated with ants involve more than 500 species, but only a fraction unambiguously pertain to actual parasitoids. In this paper, we attempt to provide an overview of both the diversity of these parasitoid wasps and the diversity of the types of interactions they have formed with their ant hosts. The reliable list of parasitoid wasps using ants as primary hosts includes at least 138 species, reported between 1852 and 2011, distributed among 9 families from 3 superfamilies. These parasitoids exhibit a wide array of biologies and developmental strategies: ecto- or endoparasitism, solitary or gregarious, and idio- or koinobiosis. All castes of ants and all developmental stages, excepting eggs, are possible targets. Some species parasitize adult worker ants while foraging or performing other activities outside the nest; however, in most cases, parasitoids attack ant larvae either inside or outside their nests. Based on their abundance and success in attacking ants, some parasitoid wasps like diapriids and eucharitids seem excellent potential models to explore how parasitoids impact ant colony demography, population biology, and ant community structure. Despite a significant increase in our knowledge of hymenopteran parasitoids of ants, most of them remain to be discovered.

  6. Ant (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) diversity along a pollution gradient near the Middle Ural Copper Smelter, Russia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belskaya, Elena; Gilev, Alexey; Belskii, Eugen

    2017-04-01

    Ants are considered to be suitable indicators of ecological change and are widely used in land management and environmental monitoring. However, responses of ant communities to industrial pollution are less known so far. We studied pollution-related variations of ant diversity and abundance near the Middle Ural Copper Smelter (Russia) in 2009 and 2013, with pitfall traps set up at 10 sites in Picea obovata and Abies sibirica forest. This study provided evidences for humped pollution-induced dynamics of ant diversity and abundance. Species richness and diversity peaked in the habitat intermediate between slightly damaged and fully destroyed forest ecosystems. The total abundance of ants peaked in the middle of the pollution gradient and was determined mainly by the dominant species Formica aquilonia. The abundance of other species increased towards the smelter, but was less important for total abundance than that of red wood ants. Community dominants changed with increase of exposure; F. aquilonia, a typical species of mature forests, was replaced by species of open habitats, Lasius niger and Myrmica ruginodis. Habitat variables and competition between species seem to affect local ant communities more strongly than pollution exposure. Stand basal area and cover of the field layer were the main determinants of ant diversity and abundance of individual species.

  7. 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.

  8. Mutualistic fungi control crop diversity in fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Poulsen, Michael; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2005-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants rear clonal fungi for food and transmit the fungi from mother to daughter colonies so that symbiont mixing and conflict, which result from competition between genetically different clones, are avoided. Here we show that despite millions of years of predominantly vertical...... transmission, the domesticated fungi actively reject mycelial fragments from neighboring colonies, and that the strength of these reactions are in proportion to the overall genetic difference between these symbionts. Fungal incompatibility compounds remain intact during ant digestion, so that fecal droplets...

  9. Arboreal ant colonies as 'hot-points' of cryptic diversity for myrmecophiles: the weaver ant Camponotus sp. aff. textor and its interaction network with its associates.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gabriela Pérez-Lachaud

    Full Text Available INTRODUCTION: Systematic surveys of macrofaunal diversity within ant colonies are lacking, particularly for ants nesting in microhabitats that are difficult to sample. Species associated with ants are generally small and rarely collected organisms, which makes them more likely to be unnoticed. We assumed that this tendency is greater for arthropod communities in microhabitats with low accessibility, such as those found in the nests of arboreal ants that may constitute a source of cryptic biodiversity. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We investigated the invertebrate diversity associated with an undescribed, but already threatened, Neotropical Camponotus weaver ant. As most of the common sampling methods used in studies of ant diversity are not suited for evaluating myrmecophile diversity within ant nests, we evaluated the macrofauna within ant nests through exhaustive colony sampling of three nests and examination of more than 80,000 individuals. RESULTS: We identified invertebrates from three classes belonging to 18 taxa, some of which were new to science, and recorded the first instance of the co-occurrence of two brood parasitoid wasp families attacking the same ant host colony. This diversity of ant associates corresponded to a highly complex interaction network. Agonistic interactions prevailed, but the prevalence of myrmecophiles was remarkably low. CONCLUSIONS: Our data support the hypothesis of the evolution of low virulence in a variety of symbionts associated with large insect societies. Because most myrmecophiles found in this work are rare, strictly specific, and exhibit highly specialized biology, the risk of extinction for these hitherto unknown invertebrates and their natural enemies is high. The cryptic, far unappreciated diversity within arboreal ant nests in areas at high risk of habitat loss qualifies these nests as 'hot-points' of biodiversity that urgently require special attention as a component of conservation and management

  10. Arboreal Ant Colonies as ‘Hot-Points’ of Cryptic Diversity for Myrmecophiles: The Weaver Ant Camponotus sp. aff. textor and Its Interaction Network with Its Associates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pérez-Lachaud, Gabriela; Lachaud, Jean-Paul

    2014-01-01

    Introduction Systematic surveys of macrofaunal diversity within ant colonies are lacking, particularly for ants nesting in microhabitats that are difficult to sample. Species associated with ants are generally small and rarely collected organisms, which makes them more likely to be unnoticed. We assumed that this tendency is greater for arthropod communities in microhabitats with low accessibility, such as those found in the nests of arboreal ants that may constitute a source of cryptic biodiversity. Materials and Methods We investigated the invertebrate diversity associated with an undescribed, but already threatened, Neotropical Camponotus weaver ant. As most of the common sampling methods used in studies of ant diversity are not suited for evaluating myrmecophile diversity within ant nests, we evaluated the macrofauna within ant nests through exhaustive colony sampling of three nests and examination of more than 80,000 individuals. Results We identified invertebrates from three classes belonging to 18 taxa, some of which were new to science, and recorded the first instance of the co-occurrence of two brood parasitoid wasp families attacking the same ant host colony. This diversity of ant associates corresponded to a highly complex interaction network. Agonistic interactions prevailed, but the prevalence of myrmecophiles was remarkably low. Conclusions Our data support the hypothesis of the evolution of low virulence in a variety of symbionts associated with large insect societies. Because most myrmecophiles found in this work are rare, strictly specific, and exhibit highly specialized biology, the risk of extinction for these hitherto unknown invertebrates and their natural enemies is high. The cryptic, far unappreciated diversity within arboreal ant nests in areas at high risk of habitat loss qualifies these nests as ‘hot-points’ of biodiversity that urgently require special attention as a component of conservation and management programs. PMID:24941047

  11. The effect of urbanization on ant abundance and diversity: a temporal examination of factors affecting biodiversity.

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    Grzegorz Buczkowski

    Full Text Available Numerous studies have examined the effect of urbanization on species richness and most studies implicate urbanization as the major cause of biodiversity loss. However, no study has identified an explicit connection between urbanization and biodiversity loss as the impact of urbanization is typically inferred indirectly by comparing species diversity along urban-rural gradients at a single time point. A different approach is to focus on the temporal rather than the spatial aspect and perform "before and after" studies where species diversity is cataloged over time in the same sites. The current study examined changes in ant abundance and diversity associated with the conversion of natural habitats into urban habitats. Ant abundance and diversity were tracked in forested sites that became urbanized through construction and were examined at 3 time points - before, during, and after construction. On average, 4.3 ± 1.2 unique species were detected in undisturbed plots prior to construction. Ant diversity decreased to 0.7 ± 0.8 species in plots undergoing construction and 1.5 ± 1.1 species in plots 1 year after construction was completed. With regard to species richness, urbanization resulted in the permanent loss of 17 of the 20 species initially present in the study plots. Recovery was slow and only 3 species were present right after construction was completed and 4 species were present 1 year after construction was completed. The second objective examined ant fauna recovery in developed residential lots based on time since construction, neighboring habitat quality, pesticide inputs, and the presence of invasive ants. Ant diversity was positively correlated with factors that promoted ecological recovery and negatively correlated with factors that promoted ecological degradation. Taken together, these results address a critical gap in our knowledge by characterizing the short- and long-term the effects of urbanization on the loss of ant

  12. Disentangling the diversity of arboreal ant communities in tropical forest trees.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klimes, Petr; Fibich, Pavel; Idigel, Cliffson; Rimandai, Maling

    2015-01-01

    Tropical canopies are known for their high abundance and diversity of ants. However, the factors which enable coexistence of so many species in trees, and in particular, the role of foragers in determining local diversity, are not well understood. We censused nesting and foraging arboreal ant communities in two 0.32 ha plots of primary and secondary lowland rainforest in New Guinea and explored their species diversity and composition. Null models were used to test if the records of species foraging (but not nesting) in a tree were dependent on the spatial distribution of nests in surrounding trees. In total, 102 ant species from 389 trees occurred in the primary plot compared with only 50 species from 295 trees in the secondary forest plot. However, there was only a small difference in mean ant richness per tree between primary and secondary forest (3.8 and 3.3 sp. respectively) and considerably lower richness per tree was found only when nests were considered (1.5 sp. in both forests). About half of foraging individuals collected in a tree belonged to species which were not nesting in that tree. Null models showed that the ants foraging but not nesting in a tree are more likely to nest in nearby trees than would be expected at random. The effects of both forest stage and tree size traits were similar regardless of whether only foragers, only nests, or both datasets combined were considered. However, relative abundance distributions of species differed between foraging and nesting communities. The primary forest plot was dominated by native ant species, whereas invasive species were common in secondary forest. This study demonstrates the high contribution of foragers to arboreal ant diversity, indicating an important role of connectivity between trees, and also highlights the importance of primary vegetation for the conservation of native ant communities.

  13. Disentangling the diversity of arboreal ant communities in tropical forest trees.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Petr Klimes

    Full Text Available Tropical canopies are known for their high abundance and diversity of ants. However, the factors which enable coexistence of so many species in trees, and in particular, the role of foragers in determining local diversity, are not well understood. We censused nesting and foraging arboreal ant communities in two 0.32 ha plots of primary and secondary lowland rainforest in New Guinea and explored their species diversity and composition. Null models were used to test if the records of species foraging (but not nesting in a tree were dependent on the spatial distribution of nests in surrounding trees. In total, 102 ant species from 389 trees occurred in the primary plot compared with only 50 species from 295 trees in the secondary forest plot. However, there was only a small difference in mean ant richness per tree between primary and secondary forest (3.8 and 3.3 sp. respectively and considerably lower richness per tree was found only when nests were considered (1.5 sp. in both forests. About half of foraging individuals collected in a tree belonged to species which were not nesting in that tree. Null models showed that the ants foraging but not nesting in a tree are more likely to nest in nearby trees than would be expected at random. The effects of both forest stage and tree size traits were similar regardless of whether only foragers, only nests, or both datasets combined were considered. However, relative abundance distributions of species differed between foraging and nesting communities. The primary forest plot was dominated by native ant species, whereas invasive species were common in secondary forest. This study demonstrates the high contribution of foragers to arboreal ant diversity, indicating an important role of connectivity between trees, and also highlights the importance of primary vegetation for the conservation of native ant communities.

  14. Spider diversity in coffee agroecosystems: the influence of agricultural intensification and aggressive ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marín, Linda; Perfecto, Ivette

    2013-04-01

    Spiders are a very diverse group of invertebrate predators found in agroecosystems and natural systems. However, spider distribution, abundance, and eventually their ecological function in ecosystems can be influenced by abiotic and biotic factors such as agricultural intensification and dominant ants. Here we explore the influence of both agricultural intensification and the dominant arboreal ant Azteca instabilis on the spider community in coffee agroecosystems in southern Mexico. To measure the influence of the arboreal ant Azteca instabilis (F. Smith) on the spider community inhabiting the coffee layer of coffee agroecosystems, spiders were collected from coffee plants that were and were not patrolled by the ant in sites differing in agricultural intensification. For 2008, generalized linear mixed models showed that spider diversity was affected positively by agricultural intensification but not by the ant. However, results suggested that some spider species were associated with A. instabilis. Therefore, in 2009 we concentrated our research on the effect of A. instabilis on spider diversity and composition. For 2009, generalized linear mixed models show that spider richness and abundance per plant were significantly higher in the presence of A. instabilis. In addition, analyses of visual counts of insects and sticky traps data show that more resources were present in plants patrolled by the ant. The positive effect of A. instabilis on spiders seems to be caused by at least two mechanisms: high abundance of insects and protection against predators.

  15. Monitoring the Diversity of Hunting Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on a Fragmented and Restored Andean Landscape.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herrera-Rangel, J; Jiménez-Carmona, E; Armbrecht, I

    2015-10-01

    Hunting ants are predators of organisms belonging to different trophic levels. Their presence, abundance, and diversity may reflect the diversity of other ants and contribute to evaluate habitat conditions. Between 2003 and 2005 the restoration of seven corridors in an Andean rural landscape of Colombia was performed. The restoration took place in lands that were formerly either forestry plantations or pasturelands. To evaluate restoration progress, hunting ants were intensely sampled for 7 yr, using sifted leaf litter and mini-Winkler, and pitfall traps in 21 plots classified into five vegetation types: forests, riparian forests, two types of restored corridors, and pasturelands. The ant communities were faithful to their habitat over time, and the main differences in ant composition, abundance, and richness were due to differences among land use types. The forests and riparian forests support 45% of the species in the landscape while the restored corridors contain between 8.3-25%. The change from forest to pasturelands represents a loss of 80% of the species. Ant composition in restored corridors was significantly different than in forests but restored corridors of soil of forestry plantations retained 16.7% more species than restored corridors from pasturelands. Ubiquitous hunting ants, Hypoponera opacior (Forel) and Gnamptogenys ca andina were usually associated with pastures and dominate restored corridors. Other cryptic, small, and specialized hunting ants are not present in the restored corridors. Results suggest that the history of land use is important for the biodiversity of hunting ants but also that corridors have not yet effectively contributed toward conservation goals. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  16. Evolution of thorax architecture in ant castes highlights trade-off between flight and ground behaviors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keller, Roberto A; Peeters, Christian; Beldade, Patrícia

    2014-01-01

    The concerted evolution of morphological and behavioral specializations has compelling examples in ant castes. Unique to ants is a marked divergence between winged queens and wingless workers, but morphological specializations for behaviors on the ground have been overlooked. We analyzed thorax morphology of queens and workers in species from 21 of the 25 ant subfamilies. We uncovered unique skeletomuscular modifications in workers that presumably increase power and flexibility of head-thorax articulation, emphasizing that workers are not simply wingless versions of queens. We also identified two distinct types of queens and showed repeated evolutionary associations with strategies of colony foundation. Solitary founding queens that hunt have a more worker-like thorax. Our results reveal that ants invest in the relative size of thorax segments according to their tasks. Versatility of head movements allows for better manipulation of food and objects, which arguably contributed to the ants' ecological and evolutionary success. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01539.001.

  17. Eurajoki Olkiluoto study on species of ground beetles and ants 2008

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Santaharju, J.; Helminen, S.-L.; Yrjoelae, R. (Environmental Research Yrjoelae Ltd, Helsinki (Finland))

    2009-02-15

    The species of ants and Ground beetles at Olkiluoto in Eurajoki were studied in the summer of 2008 during two trapping periods: in June and August. The research goal was to clarify the species on Olkiluoto island of the earlier mentioned groups, at least at the family level, and to collect samples for further examination by Posiva. The trapping areas were selected at Olkiluoto in Posiva test monitoring sectors, a part of the trapping areas was the same as the earlier study. Species of ants, depending on their particular species, are a very dominating group of insects. The ants are the most important predators, scavengers and soil movers in Finnish forests. It looks as if the biomass of ants may be more than 10% of the biomass of all animals in certain areas of Finnish forests. In Finland there are about 60 species of ants that have been observed. They have been divided into four sub-groups, which are Myrmicinae, Formicinae, Ponerinae and Dolichoderinae. In Finland there are close to 300 species of ground beetles (Carabidae), which are divided into dozens of different families. The species, to a great extent, consist mostly of predatory insects that prey on microbes in field layers, but a part of them are specialized in feeding on flora. Ground beetles are usually divided into three groups according to their choice of habitat: Species that favour open biotopes, species that favour forests, and generalist species that can thrive in a variety of environments. Ground beetles also reflect changes in their living environment, and possibly they can be significant as socalled bio-indicators. Pitfall traps were used as the method of research. The preservative fluid used was ethanol (50%) with dishwashing liquid to remove surface tension. The points were located in various different biotopes in fields, meadows and forests. The data collected was defined as a minimum for the family level of Ground beetles and for ants to the species or species pairs. The species of Ground

  18. Microsatellites reveal high genetic diversity within colonies of Camponotus ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gertsch, P; Pamilo, P; Varvio, S L

    1995-04-01

    In order to characterize the sociogenetic structure of colonies in the carpenter ants Camponotus herculeanus and C. ligniperda, we have developed microsatellite markers. The three loci studied were either fixed for different alleles in the two species or showed different patterns of polymorphisms. Genotyping of workers and males showed that the broods of C. ligniperda include several matrilines, a rare phenomenon in the genus. Five alleles from a locus polymorphic in both species were sequenced from the respective PCR-products. A part of the length variation appeared to be due to changes outside the repeat sequence, and some PCR products of an equal length had a different number of dinucleotide repeats.

  19. Molecular structure and diversity of PBAN/Pyrokinin family peptides in ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Man-Yeon eChoi

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available Neuropeptides are the largest group of insect hormones. They are produced in the central and peripheral nervous systems and affect insect development, reproduction, feeding and behavior. A variety of neuropeptide families have been identified in insects. One of these families is the PBAN/pyrokinin family defined by a common FXPRLamide or similar amino acid fragment at the C-terminal end. These peptides, found in all insects studied thus far, have been conserved throughout evolution. The most well studied physiological function is regulation of moth sex pheromone biosynthesis through the Pheromone Biosynthesis Activating Neurohormone (PBAN, although several developmental functions have also been reported. Over the past years we have extended knowledge of the PBAN/pyrokinin family of peptides to ants, focusing mainly on the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. The fire ant is one of the most studied social insects and over the last 60 years a great deal has been learned about many aspects of this ant, including the behaviors and chemistry of pheromone communication. However, virtually nothing is known about the regulation of these pheromone systems. Recently, we demonstrated the presence of PBAN/pyrokinin immunoreactive neurons in the fire ant, and identified and characterized PBAN and additional neuropeptides. We have mapped the fire ant PBAN gene structure and determined the tissue expression level in the central nervous system of the ant. We review here our research to date on the molecular structure and diversity of ant PBAN/pyrokinin peptides in preparation for determining the function of the neuropeptides in ants and other social insects.

  20. The structured diversity of specialized gut symbionts of the New World army ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Łukasik, Piotr; Newton, Justin A; Sanders, Jon G; Hu, Yi; Moreau, Corrie S; Kronauer, Daniel J C; O'Donnell, Sean; Koga, Ryuichi; Russell, Jacob A

    2017-04-10

    Symbiotic bacteria play important roles in the biology of their arthropod hosts. Yet the microbiota of many diverse and influential groups remain understudied, resulting in a paucity of information on the fidelities and histories of these associations. Motivated by prior findings from a smaller scale, 16S rRNA-based study, we conducted a broad phylogenetic and geographical survey of microbial communities in the ecologically dominant New World army ants (Formicidae: Dorylinae). Amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene across 28 species spanning the five New World genera showed that the microbial communities of army ants consist of very few common and abundant bacterial species. The two most abundant microbes, referred to as Unclassified Firmicutes and Unclassified Entomoplasmatales, appear to be specialized army ant associates that dominate microbial communities in the gut lumen of three host genera, Eciton, Labidus, and Nomamyrmex. Both are present in other army ant genera, including those from the Old World, suggesting that army ant symbioses date back to the Cretaceous. Extensive sequencing of bacterial protein-coding genes revealed multiple strains of these symbionts co-existing within colonies, but seldom within the same individual ant. Bacterial strains formed multiple host species-specific lineages on phylogenies, which often grouped strains from distant geographic locations. These patterns deviate from those seen in other social insects and raise intriguing questions about the influence of army ant colony swarm-founding and within-colony genetic diversity on strain co-existence, and the effects of hosting a diverse suite of symbiont strains on colony ecology. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  1. Ant and Mite Diversity Drives Toxin Variation in the Little Devil Poison Frog.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGugan, Jenna R; Byrd, Gary D; Roland, Alexandre B; Caty, Stephanie N; Kabir, Nisha; Tapia, Elicio E; Trauger, Sunia A; Coloma, Luis A; O'Connell, Lauren A

    2016-06-01

    Poison frogs sequester chemical defenses from arthropod prey, although the details of how arthropod diversity contributes to variation in poison frog toxins remains unclear. We characterized skin alkaloid profiles in the Little Devil poison frog, Oophaga sylvatica (Dendrobatidae), across three populations in northwestern Ecuador. Using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, we identified histrionicotoxins, 3,5- and 5,8-disubstituted indolizidines, decahydroquinolines, and lehmizidines as the primary alkaloid toxins in these O. sylvatica populations. Frog skin alkaloid composition varied along a geographical gradient following population distribution in a principal component analysis. We also characterized diversity in arthropods isolated from frog stomach contents and confirmed that O. sylvatica specialize on ants and mites. To test the hypothesis that poison frog toxin variability reflects species and chemical diversity in arthropod prey, we (1) used sequencing of cytochrome oxidase 1 to identify individual prey specimens, and (2) used liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to chemically profile consumed ants and mites. We identified 45 ants and 9 mites in frog stomachs, including several undescribed species. We also showed that chemical profiles of consumed ants and mites cluster by frog population, suggesting different frog populations have access to chemically distinct prey. Finally, by comparing chemical profiles of frog skin and isolated prey items, we traced the arthropod source of four poison frog alkaloids, including 3,5- and 5,8-disubstituted indolizidines and a lehmizidine alkaloid. Together, the data show that toxin variability in O. sylvatica reflects chemical diversity in arthropod prey.

  2. Paratrechina longicornis ants in a tropical dry forest harbor specific Actinobacteria diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reyes, Ruth D Hernández; Cafaro, Matías J

    2015-01-01

    The diversity of Actinobacteria associated with Paratrechina longicornis, an ant species that prefers a high protein diet, in a subtropical dry forest (Guánica, Puerto Rico) was determined by culture methods and by 16S rDNA clone libraries. The results of both methodologies were integrated to obtain a broader view of the diversity. Streptomyces, Actinomadura, Nocardia, Ornithinimicrobium, Tsukamurella, Brevibacterium, Saccharopolyspora, Nocardioides, Microbacterium, Leifsonia, Pseudonocardia, Corynebacterium, Geodermatophilus, Amycolatopsis, and Nonomuraea were found associated with the ants. The genera Streptomyces and Actinomadura were the most abundant. Also, the diversity of Actinobacteria associated with the soil surrounding the nest was determined using 16S rDNA clone libraries. In total, 27 genera of Actinobacteria were associated with the nest soils. A dominant genus was not observed in any of the soil samples. We compared statistically the Actinobacteria communities among P. longicornis nests and each nest with its surrounding soil using the clone libraries data. We established that the communities associated with the ants were consistent and significantly different from those found in the soil in which the ants live.

  3. Ant diversity in Brazilian tropical dry forests across multiple vegetation domains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Figueiredo Silva, Luciana; Mello Souza, Rayana; Solar, Ricardo R. C.; de Siqueira Neves, Frederico

    2017-03-01

    Understanding the environmental drivers of biodiversity persistence and community organization in natural ecosystems is of great importance for planning the conservation of those ecosystems. This comprehension is even more important in severely threatened ecosystems. In this context, we analyzed ant communities in tropical dry forests (TDFs) in Brazil. These forests are embedded within other biomes, such as Cerrado and Caatinga. In this study, we asked whether (i) ant species richness and composition changes between TDFs within different vegetation domains; (ii) whether ant species richness and β-diversity increase north-to-south, possibly related to changes in tree richness and tree density; and (iii) species replacement contributes relatively more to β-diversity than does nestedness. We found that species composition is unique to each TDF within different biomes, and that species richness and β-diversity differ among the vegetation domains, being smaller in the Caatinga. We also found that replacement contributes most to β-diversity, although this contribution is lower in Caatinga than in Cerrado. We show that regional context is the main driver of species diversity, which is likely to be driven by both historical and ecological mechanisms. By analyzing large spatial scale variation in TDF environmental characteristics, we were able to evaluate how ant diversity changes along an environmental gradient. The high levels of species replacement and unique species composition of each region indicates that, to fully conserve TDFs, we need to have various conservation areas distributed across the entire range of vegetation domains in which these forests can be found. Thus, we demonstrate that a landscape-wise planning is urgent and necessary in order to preserve tropical dry forests.

  4. Cryptic diversity, high host specificity and reproductive synchronization in army ant-associated Vatesus beetles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    von Beeren, Christoph; Maruyama, Munetoshi; Kronauer, Daniel J C

    2016-02-01

    Army ants and their arthropod symbionts represent one of the most species-rich animal associations on Earth, and constitute a fascinating example of diverse host-symbiont interaction networks. However, despite decades of research, our knowledge of army ant symbionts remains fragmentary due to taxonomic ambiguity and the inability to study army ants in the laboratory. Here, we present an integrative approach that allows us to reliably determine species boundaries, assess biodiversity, match different developmental stages and sexes, and to study the life cycles of army ant symbionts. This approach is based on a combination of community sampling, DNA barcoding, morphology and physiology. As a test case, we applied this approach to the staphylinid beetle genus Vatesus and its different Eciton army ant host species at La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. DNA barcoding led to the discovery of cryptic biodiversity and, in combination with extensive community sampling, revealed strict host partitioning with no overlap in host range. Using DNA barcoding, we were also able to match the larval stages of all focal Vatesus species. In combination with studies of female reproductive physiology, this allowed us to reconstruct almost the complete life cycles of the different beetle species. We show that Vatesus beetles are highly adapted to the symbiosis with army ants, in that their reproduction and larval development are synchronized with the stereotypical reproductive and behavioural cycles of their host colonies. Our approach can now be used to study army ant-symbiont communities more broadly, and to obtain novel insights into co-evolutionary and ecological dynamics in species-rich host-symbiont systems.

  5. What can ant diversity-energy relationships tell us about land use and land change (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)?

    Science.gov (United States)

    We identify and review an approach that views ant species diversity as a consequence of energy flux through an ecosystem. In this bottom-up view, energy apportioned to trophic guilds drives ant community responses to mesoscale variation generated by land-use and other processes. We introduce a conce...

  6. 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.

  7. Diversity of canopy ants at a reserve area of Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Takodee, T.

    2007-03-01

    Full Text Available Diversity of canopy ants was examined by using pyrethoid fogging technique at a reserve area of Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla Province. A permanent plot of 100x100 m2 was set up and dividedinto 100 sub-units (10x10 m2. Three plants were randomly selected for pyrethoid fogging applications each time bimothly during July 2004 - May 2005. The results showed that a total of 2,343 individuals were collectedin 14 genera, 5 subfamily and 31 species. The Formicinae and Myrmicinae were the major subfamilies found in equal species numbers of 13. Shannon- Weiner Index and evenness value of ants were 1.73±0.39 and 0.35±0.08, respectively.Seasonal changes (wet and dry had no effect on individual numbers of ant species in each subfamily. The influence of physical factors (rainfall, temperature and relative humidity on numbers of ant species wasalso investigated. A significant negative correlation between rainfall and species numbers of Camponotus (Tanaemyrmex sp.2 was found, while temperature had a significant positive correlation with Crematogaster (Orthocrema sp.4, Meranoplus castaneus (F.Smith and Tetraponera sp.4, and relative humidity had asignificant positive correlation with only Tetraponera sp.4.

  8. A role for indirect facilitation in maintaining diversity in a guild of African acacia ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palmer, Todd M; Stanton, Maureen L; Young, Truman P; Lemboi, John S; Goheen, Jacob R; Pringle, Robert M

    2013-07-01

    Determining how competing species coexist is essential to understanding patterns of biodiversity. Indirect facilitation, in which a competitively dominant species exerts a positive effect on one competitor by more strongly suppressing a third, shared competitor, is a potentially potent yet understudied mechanism for competitive coexistence. Here we provide evidence for indirect facilitation in a guild of four African Acacia ant species that compete for nesting space on the host plant Acacia drepanolobium, showing that a competitively dominant acacia ant species indirectly creates establishment opportunities for the most subordinate species that may help to maintain diversity. Using long-term observational data and field experiments, we demonstrate that the competitively dominant ant species outcompetes two competitively intermediate species, while tolerating colonies of the subordinate competitor; this creates opportunities for local colonization and establishment of colonies of the subordinate species within the dominant species' territories. Host plants occupied by this subordinate species are then more likely to be colonized by the intermediate species, which in turn are more likely to be displaced by the dominant species. This process has the potential to generate a cyclical succession of ant species on host trees, contributing to stable coexistence within this highly competitive community.

  9. Testing the museum versus cradle tropical biological diversity hypothesis: phylogeny, diversification, and ancestral biogeographic range evolution of the ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreau, Corrie S; Bell, Charles D

    2013-08-01

    Ants are one of the most ecologically and numerically dominant group of terrestrial organisms with most species diversity currently found in tropical climates. Several explanations for the disparity of biological diversity in the tropics compared to temperate regions have been proposed including that the tropics may act as a "museum" where older lineages persist through evolutionary time or as a "cradle" where new species continue to be generated. We infer the molecular phylogenetic relationships of 295 ant specimens including members of all 21 extant subfamilies to explore the evolutionary diversification and biogeography of the ants. By constraining the topology and age of the root node while using 45 fossils as minimum constraints, we converge on an age of 139-158 Mya for the modern ants. Further diversification analyses identified 10 periods with a significant change in the tempo of diversification of the ants, although these shifts did not appear to correspond to ancestral biogeographic range shifts. Likelihood-based historical biogeographic reconstructions suggest that the Neotropics were important in early ant diversification (e.g., Cretaceous). This finding coupled with the extremely high-current species diversity suggests that the Neotropics have acted as both a museum and cradle for ant diversity.

  10. High recombination frequency creates genotypic diversity in colonies of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sirviö, A; Gadau, J; Rueppell, O; Lamatsch, D; Boomsma, J J; Pamilo, P; Page, R E

    2006-09-01

    Honeybees are known to have genetically diverse colonies because queens mate with many males and the recombination rate is extremely high. Genetic diversity among social insect workers has been hypothesized to improve general performance of large and complex colonies, but this idea has not been tested in other social insects. Here, we present a linkage map and an estimate of the recombination rate for Acromyrmex echinatior, a leaf-cutting ant that resembles the honeybee in having multiple mating of queens and colonies of approximately the same size. A map of 145 AFLP markers in 22 linkage groups yielded a total recombinational size of 2076 cM and an inferred recombination rate of 161 kb cM(-1) (or 6.2 cM Mb(-1)). This estimate is lower than in the honeybee but, as far as the mapping criteria can be compared, higher than in any other insect mapped so far. Earlier studies on A. echinatior have demonstrated that variation in division of labour and pathogen resistance has a genetic component and that genotypic diversity among workers may thus give colonies of this leaf-cutting ant a functional advantage. The present result is therefore consistent with the hypothesis that complex social life can select for an increased recombination rate through effects on genotypic diversity and colony performance.

  11. The diversity of ant communities (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and their connections with other arthropods from three temperate forests of Central Mexico

    OpenAIRE

    Guzmán-Mendoza, Rafael; Castaño Meneses, Gabriela; Nuñez-Palenius, Hector Gordon

    2016-01-01

    Ants have been considered useful for bioindication because of their ecological characteristics. Nonetheless, among the characteristics of a bioindicator group, there must be a consistent and replicable response to disturbance. In this sense, divergent reactions have been found, even between taxons narrowly related. The objective of this work was to compare the diversity of the ant communities in three different temperate forests with different levels of disturbance, and to correlate their abu...

  12. Leucoagaricus gongylophorus produces diverse enzymes for the degradation of recalcitrant plant polymers in leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aylward, Frank O; Burnum-Johnson, Kristin E; Tringe, Susannah G; Teiling, Clotilde; Tremmel, Daniel M; Moeller, Joseph A; Scott, Jarrod J; Barry, Kerrie W; Piehowski, Paul D; Nicora, Carrie D; Malfatti, Stephanie A; Monroe, Matthew E; Purvine, Samuel O; Goodwin, Lynne A; Smith, Richard D; Weinstock, George M; Gerardo, Nicole M; Suen, Garret; Lipton, Mary S; Currie, Cameron R

    2013-06-01

    Plants represent a large reservoir of organic carbon comprised primarily of recalcitrant polymers that most metazoans are unable to deconstruct. Many herbivores gain access to nutrients in this material indirectly by associating with microbial symbionts, and leaf-cutter ants are a paradigmatic example. These ants use fresh foliar biomass as manure to cultivate gardens composed primarily of Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, a basidiomycetous fungus that produces specialized hyphal swellings that serve as a food source for the host ant colony. Although leaf-cutter ants are conspicuous herbivores that contribute substantially to carbon turnover in Neotropical ecosystems, the process through which plant biomass is degraded in their fungus gardens is not well understood. Here we present the first draft genome of L. gongylophorus, and, using genomic and metaproteomic tools, we investigate its role in lignocellulose degradation in the gardens of both Atta cephalotes and Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutter ants. We show that L. gongylophorus produces a diversity of lignocellulases in ant gardens and is likely the primary driver of plant biomass degradation in these ecosystems. We also show that this fungus produces distinct sets of lignocellulases throughout the different stages of biomass degradation, including numerous cellulases and laccases that likely play an important role in lignocellulose degradation. Our study provides a detailed analysis of plant biomass degradation in leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens and insight into the enzymes underlying the symbiosis between these dominant herbivores and their obligate fungal cultivar.

  13. Ant Diversity in a Sugarcane Culture without the Use of Straw Burning in Southeast, Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Debora R. De Souza

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Problem statement: One of the current requirements of agroecosystem management is the maintenance of biodiversity. Manual sugarcane harvesting with the previous burning of straw has been gradually replaced by mechanical harvesting in Brazil. However, the diversity of Formicidae, which can be a natural pest controller, has not been studied in this new system yet. Approach: This study was carried out to assess the diversity of ants in an exclusively mechanically harvested sugarcane culture based on the hypothesis that species richness and abundance will increase with the deposition of straw in this culture system. Ants were sampled using pitfall traps in six sugarcane cultivars during three consecutive harvest cycles. Results: A total of 8,139 ants, distributed in 39 species, were collected. Richness, abundance and diversity differed between harvest cycles, especially in the first cycle, when the soil did not have any straw and in the two last cycles and the straw layer was about 10-15 cm thick. The communities found in the second and third cycles were similar and the maintenance of straw in the culture contributed to a greater species diversity, particularly of generalist predaceous taxa, which may contribute to the natural control of pests. Conclusion: The diversity of ants increased with straw deposition, including of taxa that may be beneficial to the sugarcane culture. However, new studies of the predatory and competition relations in this agroecosystem are necessary.

  14. Temporal patterns of ant diversity across a mountain with climatically contrasting aspects in the tropics of Africa.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thinandavha Caswell Munyai

    Full Text Available Factors that drive species richness over space and time are still poorly understood and are often context specific. Identifying these drivers for ant diversity has become particularly relevant within the context of contemporary global change events. We report on a long-term bi-annual (wet and dry seasons, standardized sampling of epigeal ants over a five year period on the mesic and arid aspects of an inselberg (Soutpansberg Mountain Range in the tropics of Africa. We detail seasonal, annual and long-term trends of species density, test the relative contribution of geometric constraints, energy, available area, climate, local environmental variables, time, and space in explaining ant species density patterns through Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMM where replicates were included as random factors to account for temporal pseudo-replication. Seasonal patterns were very variable and we found evidence of decreased seasonal variation in species density with increased elevation. The extent and significance of a decrease in species density with increased elevation varied with season. Annual patterns point to an increase in ant diversity over time. Ant density patterns were positively correlated with mean monthly temperature but geometric constraints dominated model performance while soil characteristics were minor correlates. These drivers and correlates accounted for all the spatio-temporal variability in the database. Ant diversity was therefore mainly determined by geometric constraints and temperature while soil characteristics (clay and carbon content accounted for smaller but significant amounts of variation. This study documents the role of season, elevation and their interaction in affecting ant species densities while highlighting the importance of neutral processes and temperature in driving these patterns.

  15. Elevational gradients in phylogenetic structure of ant communities reveal the interplay of biotic and abiotic constraints on diversity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Machac, Antonin; Janda, Milan; Dunn, Robert R.

    2011-01-01

    A central focus of ecology and biogeography is to determine the factors that govern spatial variation in biodiversity. Here, we examined patterns of ant diversity along climatic gradients in three temperate montane systems: Great Smoky Mountains National Park (USA), Chiricahua Mountains (USA), an...

  16. Comparison of Ant Community Diversity and Functional Group Composition Associated to Land Use Change in a Seasonally Dry Oak Forest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuautle, M; Vergara, C H; Badano, E I

    2016-04-01

    Ants have been used to assess land use conversion, because they reflect environmental change, and their response to these changes have been useful in the identification of bioindicators. We evaluated ant diversity and composition associated to different land use change in a temperate forest (above 2000 m asl) in Mexico. The study was carried out in "Flor del Bosque" Park a vegetation mosaic of native Oak Forests and introduced Eucalyptus and grasslands. Species richness, dominance and diversity rarefaction curves, based on ant morphospecies and functional groups, were constructed and compared among the three vegetation types, for the rainy and the dry seasons of 2008-2009. Jaccard and Sorensen incidence-based indices were calculated to obtain similarity values among all the habitats. The Oak Forest was a rich dominant community, both in species and functional groups; the Eucalyptus plantation was diverse with low dominance. The most seasonality habitat was the grassland, with low species and high functional group diversity during the dry seasons, but the reverse pattern during the wet season. The Oak Forest was more similar to the Eucalyptus plantation than to the grassland, particularly during the dry season. Oak Forests are dominated by Cold Climate Specialists, specifically Prenolepis imparis (Say). The Eucalyptus and the grassland are characterized by generalized Myrmicinae, as Pheidole spp. and Monomorium ebenium (Forel). The conservation of the native Oak Forest is primordial for the maintenance of Cold Climate Specialist ant communities. The microclimatic conditions in this forest, probably, prevented the invasion by opportunistic species.

  17. Leucoagaricus gongylophorus Produces Diverse Enzymes for the Degradation of Recalcitrant Plant Polymers in Leaf-Cutter Ant Fungus Gardens

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Aylward, Frank O. [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Burnum-Johnson, Kristin E. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Tringe, Susannah G. [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Teiling, Clotilde [Roche Diagnostics, Indianapolis, IN (United States); Tremmel, Daniel [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Moeller, Joseph [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Scott, Jarrod J. [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Barry, Kerrie W. [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Piehowski, Paul D. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Nicora, Carrie D. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Malfatti, Stephanie [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Monroe, Matthew E. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Purvine, Samuel O. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Goodwin, Lynne A. [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Smith, Richard D. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Weinstock, George [Washington Univ. School of Medicine, St. Louis, MS (United States); Gerardo, Nicole [Emory Univ., Atlanta, GA (United States); Suen, Garret [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Lipton, Mary S. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Currie, Cameron R. [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Smothsonian Tropical Research Inst., Balboa (Panama)

    2013-06-12

    Plants represent a large reservoir of organic carbon comprised largely of recalcitrant polymers that most metazoans are unable to deconstruct. Many herbivores gain access to nutrients in this material indirectly by associating with microbial symbionts, and leaf-cutter ants are a paradigmatic example. These ants use fresh foliar biomass as manure to cultivate fungus gardens composed primarily of Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, a basidiomycetous symbiont that produces specialized hyphal swellings that serve as a food source for the host ant colony. Although leaf-cutter ants are conspicuous herbivores that contribute substantially to carbon turnover in Neotropical ecosystems, the process through which plant biomass is degraded in their fungus gardens is not well understood. Here we present the first draft genome of L. gongylophorus, and using genomic, metaproteomic, and phylogenetic tools we investigate its role in lignocellulose degradation in the fungus gardens of both Atta cephalotes and Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutter ants. We show that L. gongylophorus produces a diversity of lignocellulases in fungus gardens, and is likely the primary driver of plant biomass degradation in these ecosystems. We also show that this fungus produces distinct sets of lignocellulases throughout the different stages of biomass degradation, including numerous cellulases and laccases that may be playing an important but previously uncharacterized role in lignocellulose degradation. Our study provides a comprehensive analysis of plant biomass degradation in leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens and provides insight into the molecular dynamics underlying the symbiosis between these dominant herbivores and their obligate fungal cultivar.

  18. Effect of two agroecological management strategies on ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) diversity on coffee plantations in southwestern Colombia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Urrutia-Escobar, M X; Armbrecht, I

    2013-04-01

    Simplification of agroecosystems because of industrialization of agriculture may cause the loss of associated animal biodiversity of both vertebrates and invertebrates. To measure how the agricultural intensification on coffee plantations affects ant biodiversity, we intensively sampled ants in Caldono (Cauca, Colombia). We surveyed 15 sites classified into three management types: sun coffee plantations, shaded coffee plantations, and forest patches. Fifteen 50-m linear transects, each one consisting of 5 pitfall traps and 5 tuna baits, were set at each sampling location between December of 2009 and February of 2010. We collected 18,186 ants that represent 82 ant species, 34 genera, and 9 subfamilies of Formicidae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). The management intensification index showed an increasing intensification gradient along the 15 sampling locations from forest patches to shaded coffee to sun coffee plantations. Shaded coffee plantations harbored the highest number of species (60), followed by forest (56) and sun coffee (33). Ant species composition and plant structure on shaded coffee plantations resembled the forest patches more than the sun coffee plantations. Forest and shaded coffee plantations had a more equitable distribution of ant species, whereas in sun coffee plantations, Linepithema neotropicum (Emery) and Ectatomma ruidum (Roger) typically outnumbered all other ant species. Evidence from functional groups indicated that specific habitat and feeding requirements exist among the species that are found together. Our results confirmed that intensification of agriculture negatively affects ant diversity, despite the fact that farms were located in a heterogeneous landscape, suggesting that agroecological management is a strong determinant in the conservation of wild fauna.

  19. The effects of biogeography on ant diversity and activity on the Boston Harbor Islands, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam T Clark

    Full Text Available Many studies have examined how island biogeography affects diversity on the scale of island systems. In this study, we address how diversity varies over very short periods of time on individual islands. To do this, we compile an inventory of the ants living in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Boston, Massachusetts, USA using data from a five-year All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory of the region's arthropods. Consistent with the classical theory of island biogeography, species richness increased with island size, decreased with island isolation, and remained relatively constant over time. Additionally, our inventory finds that almost half of the known Massachusetts ant fauna can be collected in the BHI, and identifies four new species records for Massachusetts, including one new to the United States, Myrmica scabrinodis. We find that the number of species actually active on islands depended greatly on the timescale under consideration. The species that could be detected during any given week of sampling could by no means account for total island species richness, even when correcting for sampling effort. Though we consistently collected the same number of species over any given week of sampling, the identities of those species varied greatly between weeks. This variation does not result from local immigration and extinction of species, nor from seasonally-driven changes in the abundance of individual species, but rather from weekly changes in the distribution and activity of foraging ants. This variation can be upwards of 50% of ant species per week. This suggests that numerous ant species on the BHI share the same physical space at different times. This temporal partitioning could well explain such unexpectedly high ant diversity in an isolated, urban site.

  20. Ant species diversity in the 'Grands Causses' (Aveyron, France): In search of sampling methods adapted to temperate climates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Groc, Sarah; Delabie, Jacques H C; Céréghino, Régis; Orivel, Jérôme; Jaladeau, Frédéric; Grangier, Julien; Mariano, Cléa S F; Dejean, Alain

    2007-12-01

    This study aimed at showing the applicability of using a combination of four sampling methods (i.e., Winkler extractors, pitfall traps, baiting and manual collection), something most often conducted in the tropics, to create an inventory of ant species diversity in temperate environments. We recorded a total of 33 ant species in the Grands Causses by comparing three vegetal formations: a steppic lawn ('causse' sensu stricto), which was the most species-rich (29 species), followed by an oak grove (22 species) and a pine forest (17 species). No sampling method alone is efficient enough to provide an adequate sampling, but their combination permits one to make a suitable inventory of the myrmecofauna and to obtain information on the ecology of these ant species.

  1. Bottom-up effects of host-plant species diversity and top-down effects of ants interactively increase plant performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreira, Xoaquín; Mooney, Kailen A; Zas, Rafael; Sampedro, Luis

    2012-11-07

    While plant diversity is well known to increase primary productivity, whether these bottom-up effects are enhanced by reciprocal top-down effects from the third trophic level is unknown. We studied whether pine tree species diversity, aphid-tending ants and their interaction determined plant performance and arthropod community structure. Plant diversity had a positive effect on aphids, but only in the presence of mutualistic ants, leading to a threefold greater number of both groups in the tri-specific cultures than in monocultures. Plant diversity increased ant abundance not only by increasing aphid number, but also by increasing ant recruitment per aphid. The positive effect of diversity on ants in turn cascaded down to increase plant performance; diversity increased plant growth (but not biomass), and this effect was stronger in the presence of ants. Consequently, bottom-up effects of diversity within the same genus and guild of plants, and top-down effects from the third trophic level (predatory ants), interactively increased plant performance.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Associations of Two Ecologically Significant Social Insect Taxa in the Litter of an Amazonian Rainforest: Is There a Relationship between Ant and Termite Species Richness?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amy L. Mertl

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available In spite of the ecological dominance of Neotropical ants and termites, little is understood about how their interactions influence their species richness and distribution. We surveyed ground-dwelling termite and ant species in a primary rainforest in Ecuador and analyzed ecological correlates of diversity. Termite richness was positively correlated with ant richness and abundance of twig-nesting ants. We found no evidence of competition for twigs between termites and ants. No ecological factors were correlated with termite diversity although elevation and twig and log abundance influenced ant diversity. When ant richness was compared to the richness of termites employing different predator defenses, a positive correlation was found with soldierless termites, but not genera employing chemical or mechanical defense. Our results suggest that multiple ecological factors influence ant and termite diversity, and that ant predation on termites may have a greater effect than competition between ant and termites for nest sites and food sources.

  5. Bacterial community composition and diversity in an ancestral ant fungus symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellner, Katrin; Ishak, Heather D; Linksvayer, Timothy A; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2015-07-01

    Fungus-farming ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Attini) exhibit some of the most complex microbial symbioses because both macroscopic partners (ants and fungus) are associated with a rich community of microorganisms. The ant and fungal microbiomes are thought to serve important beneficial nutritional and defensive roles in these symbioses. While most recent research has investigated the bacterial communities in the higher attines (e.g. the leaf-cutter ant genera Atta and Acromyrmex), which are often associated with antibiotic-producing Actinobacteria, very little is known about the microbial communities in basal lineages, labeled as 'lower attines', which retain the ancestral traits of smaller and more simple societies. In this study, we used 16S amplicon pyrosequencing to characterize bacterial communities of the lower attine ant Mycocepurus smithii among seven sampling sites in central Panama. We discovered that ant and fungus garden-associated microbiota were distinct from surrounding soil, but unlike the situation in the derived fungus-gardening ants, which show distinct ant and fungal microbiomes, microbial community structure of the ants and their fungi were similar. Another surprising finding was that the abundance of actinomycete bacteria was low and instead, these symbioses were characterized by an abundance of Lactobacillus and Pantoea bacteria. Furthermore, our data indicate that Lactobacillus strains are acquired from the environment rather than acquired vertically.

  6. ANT Oosterschelde: Long-term trends of waders and their dependence on intertidal foraging grounds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Troost, K.; Ysebaert, T.

    2011-01-01

    The ANT study (“Autonomous Negative Trend” of the Oosterschelde estuary) aims to deliver the scientific support needed to assess the feasibility and affordability of the different conservation goals of Natura 2000. The main aim is to advise in which locations in the Oosterschelde estuary what kind o

  7. ANT Oosterschelde: Long-term trends of waders and their dependence on intertidal foraging grounds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Troost, K.; Ysebaert, T.

    2011-01-01

    The ANT study (“Autonomous Negative Trend” of the Oosterschelde estuary) aims to deliver the scientific support needed to assess the feasibility and affordability of the different conservation goals of Natura 2000. The main aim is to advise in which locations in the Oosterschelde estuary what kind

  8. Walking on smooth or rough ground: passive control of pretarsal attachment in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Endlein, Thomas; Federle, Walter

    2008-01-01

    The hymenopteran tarsus is equipped with claws and a movable adhesive pad (arolium). Even though both organs are specialised for substrates of different roughness, they are moved by the same muscle, the claw flexor. Here we show that despite this seemingly unfavourable design, the use of arolium and claws can be adjusted according to surface roughness by mechanical control. Tendon pull experiments in ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) revealed that the claw flexor elicits rotary movements around several (pre-) tarsal joints. However, maximum angular change of claws, arolium and fifth tarsomere occurred at different pulling amplitudes, with arolium extension always being the last movement. This effect indicates that arolium use is regulated non-neuronally. Arolium unfolding can be suppressed on rough surfaces, when claw tips interlock and inhibit further contraction of the claw flexor or prevent legs from sliding towards the body. To test whether this hypothesised passive control operates in walking ants, we manipulated ants by clipping claw tips. Consistent with the proposed control mechanism, claw pruning resulted in stronger arolium extension on rough but not on smooth substrates. The control of attachment by the insect claw flexor system demonstrates how mechanical systems in the body periphery can simplify centralised, neuro-muscular feedback control.

  9. The fire ant social chromosome supergene variant Sb shows low diversity but high divergence from SB.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pracana, Rodrigo; Priyam, Anurag; Levantis, Ilya; Nichols, Richard A; Wurm, Yannick

    2017-02-21

    Variation in social behavior is common yet little is known about the genetic architectures underpinning its evolution. A rare exception is in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta: Alternative variants of a supergene region determine whether a colony will have exactly one or up to dozens of queens. The two variants of this region are carried by a pair of "social chromosomes", SB and Sb, which resemble a pair of sex chromosomes. Recombination is suppressed between the two chromosomes in the supergene region. While the X-like SB can recombine with itself in SB/SB queens, recombination is effectively absent in the Y-like Sb because Sb/Sb queens die before reproducing. Here, we analyze whole genome sequences of eight haploid SB males and eight haploid Sb males. We find extensive SB-Sb di↵erentiation throughout the >19Mb long supergene region. We find no evidence of "evolutionary strata" with different levels of divergence comparable to those reported in several sex chromosomes. A high proportion of substitutions between the SB and Sb haplotypes are nonsynonymous, suggesting inefficacy of purifying selection in Sb sequences, similar to that for Y-linked sequences in XY systems. Finally, we show that the Sb haplotype of the supergene region has 635-fold less nucleotide diversity than the rest of the genome. We discuss how this reduction could be due to a recent selective sweep affecting Sb specifically or associated with a population bottleneck during the invasion of North America by the sampled population. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  10. Distribution and Diversity of the Cryptic Ant Genus Oxyepoecus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae in Paraguay with Descriptions of Two New Species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Delsinne

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available We discuss the diversity and distribution of the ant genus Oxyepoecus in Paraguay. Oxyepoecus inquilinus is recorded for the first time, and new distribution data are given for O. rastratus and O. vezenyii. Published data for O. bruchi, O. rastratus, O. reticulatus, and O. vezenyii are summarized. Two new species are described (O. bidentatus n. sp. and O. striatus n. sp., and a key to the workers of the seven Paraguayan Oxyepoecus species is provided. At Teniente Enciso National Park, four species cooccur. This locality appears as a promising site for studies documenting the biology of this poorly known ant genus, and because of the IUCN “vulnerable“ Red List classification of O. inquilinus, the importance of the Teniente Enciso National Park for biological conservation is clearly established.

  11. Genetic and clonal diversity of the endemic ant-plant Humboldtia brunonis (Fabaceae) in the Western Ghats of India

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Suma A Dev; Megha Shenoy; Renee M Borges

    2010-06-01

    Humboldtia brunonis (Fabaceae, Caesalpinioideae) is a dominant self-incompatible ant-plant or myrmecophyte, growing as an understorey tree in high-density patches. It is endemic to the biodiversity hotspot of the southern Western Ghats of India and, besides ants, harbours many endemic invertebrate taxa, such as bees that pollinate it as well as arboreal earthworms, within swollen hollow stem internodes called domatia. Using inter simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers, three geographically separated populations were found to be multiclonal, characterized by high levels of clonal diversity. Values for the Simpson diversity index ranged between 0.764 and 0.964, and for Fager’s evenness index between 0.00 and 0.036 for neighbourhoods within populations. This myrmecophyte was found to combine sexual recruitment (66.7%) and clonal production (33.3%) as methods of reproduction. Moderate amounts of genetic diversity at the species level were observed, with 52.63% polymorphism, and moderate values of Shannon’s diversity index (0.1895) as well as of Nei’s gene diversity (0.1186). In each population, observed genotypic diversity was significantly lower than expected, indicating significant genetic structure. Neighbour-joining trees demonstrated that Agumbe, which is the most northern population examined and geographically twice as far away from the other two populations, grouped separately and with larger bootstrap support from a larger cluster consisting of the Sampaji and Solaikolli populations, which are closer to each other geographically. Some neighbourhoods within each population showed spatial genetic structure even at small spatial scales of < 5 m. A combination of clonality and short-distance pollen movement by small pollinating bees (Braunsapis puangensis) coupled with primary ballistic seed dispersal, and possible secondary seed dispersal by rodents, may contribute to spatial genetic structure at such small scales. The clonality of H. brunonis may be a factor

  12. 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.

  13. Bioecology and chemical diversity of abdominal glands in the iranian samsum ant Pachycondyla sennaarensis (Formicidae: Ponerinae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    MR Nikbakhtzadeh

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available The genus Pachycondyla is a large group of ants in the Ponerini tribe, known mostly from tropical and subtropical regions. Pachycondyla sennaarensis, the so-called Samsum ant in the Middle East, is distributed throughout the African tropics, Arabian Peninsula and Iran, where it is responsible for many cases of insect-induced dermal lesions and systemic reactions in humans. Populations of P. sennaarensis were studied in two regions of Iran and some aspects of their biology, ecology and medical importance are herein presented. Colonies of P. sennaarensis contain less than 850 workers that live in complicated underground galleries approximately one meter deep. Because of the harsh weather conditions of southern Iran, they can survive only in human disturbed habitats with higher humidity. Neither a real queen (without reproductive division of labor nor a caste system is found in a P. sennaarensis colony. Observations indicated that P. sennaarensis is omnivorous, feeding on seeds of various plants, dead ants of other species, the larvae of dipterans and a few other invertebrates. The effect of the P. sennaarensis sting is usually mild, resulting in papule formation, erythema and dermal itching. The abdominal gland secretion of P. sennaarensis is a complex mixture of saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons and small amounts of terpenoids, ketones, pyrazines and phenolic compounds that are accompanied by straight-chain hydrocarbons. So far, no case of anaphylaxis has been reported in Iran, a fact probably due to the lack of proteins in P. sennaarensis venom. It appears that P. sennaarensis populations vary considerably in their toxin composition according to their geographic range, which may ultimately explain symptoms of different severity among local residents.

  14. The effects of food presentation and microhabitat upon resource monopoly in a ground-foraging ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGlynn, T P; Kirksey, S E

    2000-01-01

    In Neotropical wet forests several species of omnivorous, resource-defending ants, live and forage in close proximity to one another. Although the forest floor is heterogeneous in microhabitat and food quantity, little is known about the impact of microhabitat and food variation upon resource monopoly among ants. We investigated how food type and microhabitat influence food monopoly in resource-defending ants in old-growth tropical wet forest in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica. We measured several microhabitat characteristics at 66 points in a 0.5 hectare plot, and baited each point with two categories of tuna bait. These baits were presented in "split" and "clumped" arrangements. We measured the frequency of bait monopoly by a single species, as well as the number of recruited ant foragers at a bait. Out of five common species, two (Wasmannia auropunctata and Pheidole simonsi) more frequently monopolized one bait type over the other, and one (P. simonsi) recruited more ants to the split baits. We then considered the recruitment response by all ant species in the community. We found that the frequency of monopoly, sharing, and the absence of ants at a given point in the rainforest differed with bait type. The frequency of monopoly was associated with microhabitat type in two out of eight microhabitat variables (leaf litter depth and palms); variation in two other types (canopy tree distance and leafcutter ant trails) was associated with changes in forager number. In at least two ant species, food presentation affected monopoly at baits; among all resource-defending ants, the microhabitats where ants foraged for food and the type of food located determined in part the frequency of monopoly and the number of foragers at the food item. These results suggest that the location and presentation of food items determines in part which ant species will utilize the resource.

  15. 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...

  16. Cryptic sexual populations account for genetic diversity and ecological success in a widely distributed, asexual fungus-growing ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rabeling, Christian; Gonzales, Omar; Schultz, Ted R; Bacci, Maurício; Garcia, Marcos V B; Verhaagh, Manfred; Ishak, Heather D; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2011-07-26

    Sex and recombination are central processes in life generating genetic diversity. Organisms that rely on asexual propagation risk extinction due to the loss of genetic diversity and the inability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. The fungus-growing ant species Mycocepurus smithii was thought to be obligately asexual because only parthenogenetic populations have been collected from widely separated geographic localities. Nonetheless, M. smithii is ecologically successful, with the most extensive distribution and the highest population densities of any fungus-growing ant. Here we report that M. smithii actually consists of a mosaic of asexual and sexual populations that are nonrandomly distributed geographically. The sexual populations cluster along the Rio Amazonas and the Rio Negro and appear to be the source of independently evolved and widely distributed asexual lineages, or clones. Either apomixis or automixis with central fusion and low recombination rates is inferred to be the cytogenetic mechanism underlying parthenogenesis in M. smithii. Males appear to be entirely absent from asexual populations, but their existence in sexual populations is indicated by the presence of sperm in the reproductive tracts of queens. A phylogenetic analysis of the genus suggests that M. smithii is monophyletic, rendering a hybrid origin of asexuality unlikely. Instead, a mitochondrial phylogeny of sexual and asexual populations suggests multiple independent origins of asexual reproduction, and a divergence-dating analysis indicates that M. smithii evolved 0.5-1.65 million years ago. Understanding the evolutionary origin and maintenance of asexual reproduction in this species contributes to a general understanding of the adaptive significance of sex.

  17. 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

  18. Hidden diversity behind the zombie-ant fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis: four new species described from carpenter ants in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Harry C Evans

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Ophiocordyceps unilateralis (Clavicipitaceae: Hypocreales is a fungal pathogen specific to ants of the tribe Camponotini (Formicinae: Formicidae with a pantropical distribution. This so-called zombie or brain-manipulating fungus alters the behaviour of the ant host, causing it to die in an exposed position, typically clinging onto and biting into the adaxial surface of shrub leaves. We (HCE and DPH are currently undertaking a worldwide survey to assess the taxonomy and ecology of this highly variable species. METHODS: We formally describe and name four new species belonging to the O. unilateralis species complex collected from remnant Atlantic rainforest in the south-eastern region (Zona da Mata of the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Fully illustrated descriptions of both the asexual (anamorph and sexual (teleomorph stages are provided for each species. The new names are registered in Index Fungorum (registration.indexfungorum.org and have received IF numbers. This paper is also a test case for the electronic publication of new names in mycology. CONCLUSIONS: We are only just beginning to understand the taxonomy and ecology of the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis species complex associated with carpenter ants; macroscopically characterised by a single stalk arising from the dorsal neck region of the ant host on which the anamorph occupies the terminal region and the teleomorph occurs as lateral cushions or plates. Each of the four ant species collected--Camponotus rufipes, C. balzani, C. melanoticus and C. novogranadensis--is attacked by a distinct species of Ophiocordyceps readily separated using traditional micromorphology. The new taxa are named according to their ant host.

  19. High recombination frequency creates genotypic diversity in colonies of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sirviö, A.; Gadau, J.; Rueppell, O.

    2006-01-01

    Honeybees are known to have genetically diverse colonies because queens mate with many males and the recombination rate is extremely high. Genetic diversity among social insect workers has been hypothesized to improve general performance of large and complex colonies, but this idea has not been...... tested in other social insects. Here, we present a linkage map and an estimate of the recombination rate for Acromyrmex echinatior, a leaf-cutting ant that resembles the honeybee in having multiple mating of queens and colonies of approximately the same size. A map of 145 AFLP markers in 22 linkage...... groups yielded a total recombinational size of 2076 cM and an inferred recombination rate of 161 kb cM-1 (or 6.2 cM Mb-1). This estimate is lower than in the honeybee but, as far as the mapping criteria can be compared, higher than in any other insect mapped so far. Earlier studies on A. echinatior have...

  20. 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.

  1. Properties of Arboreal Ant and Ground-Termite Nests in relation to Their Nesting Sites and Location in a Tropical-Derived Savanna

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B. C. Echezona

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Ecosystem engineers such as ants and termites play an important role in the fertility of tropical soils. Physicochemical analyses were thus carried out on some arboreal ant nests collected from mango (Mangifera indica, bush mango (Irvingia gabonensis, kola (Cola nitida, newbouldia plant (Newbouldia laevis, and oil bean plant (Pentaclethra macrophylla and on ground nest of termite, Odontotermes sudanensis Sjost. (Isoptera: Termitidae in Nigeria. Arboreal nests, particularly those of M. indica, were significantly richer in the chemical constituents sampled, compared to those of ground-termite nests or adjacent unaffected soils. Available water capacity of nests from M. indica (60.0% was significantly higher than those of other sites or locations sampled. While biogenic structures were sandy-loamy in texture, their corresponding adjacent soils were either sandy or sandy-loamy. Soils worked by ants and termites had greater proportions of silt-sized (17.9 versus 9.7 and clay-sized (19.2 versus 9.3 to the detriment of coarse-sized particles (51.2 versus 60.9 and fine-sand-sized particles (11.7 versus 20.1 relative to the adjacent soils. Generally, biogenic structures were about 348% richer in P than their corresponding adjacent soils; an attribute, which holds a strong promise in bioremediation and biofortification of soils especially during amendment.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. [Diversity and stability of arthropod community in peach orchard under effects of ground cover vegetation].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiang, Jie-xian; Wan, Nian-feng; Ji, Xiang-yun; Dan, Jia-gui

    2011-09-01

    A comparative study was conducted on the arthropod community in peach orchards with and without ground cover vegetation. In the orchard with ground cover vegetation, the individuals of beneficial, neutral, and phytophagous arthropods were 1.48, 1.84 and 0.64 times of those in the orchard without ground cover vegetation, respectively, but the total number of arthropods had no significant difference with that in the orchard without ground cover vegetation. The species richness, Shannon's diversity, and Pielou's evenness index of the arthropods in the orchard with ground cover vegetation were 83.733 +/- 4.932, 4.966 +/- 0.110, and 0.795 +/- 0.014, respectively, being significantly higher than those in the orchard without ground cover vegetation, whereas the Berger-Parker's dominance index was 0.135 +/- 0.012, being significantly lower than that (0.184 +/- 0.018) in the orchard without ground cover vegetation. There were no significant differences in the stability indices S/N and Sd/Sp between the two orchards, but the Nn/Np, Nd/Np, and Sn/Sp in the orchard with ground cover vegetation were 0.883 +/- 0.123. 1714 +/- 0.683, and 0.781 +/- 0.040, respectively, being significantly higher than those in the orchard without ground cover vegetation. Pearson's correlation analysis indicated that in the orchard with ground cover vegetation, the Shannon's diversity index was significantly negatively correlated with Nd/Np, Sd/Sp, and S/N but had no significant correlations with Nn/Np and Sn/Sp, whereas in the orchard without ground cover vegetation, the diversity index was significantly positively correlated with Nn/Np and Nd/Np and had no significant correlations with Sd/Sp, Sn/Sp, and S/N.

  6. Comparison Between Ground Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Communities Foraging in the Straw Mulch of Sugarcane Crops and in the Leaf Litter of Neighboring Forests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silva, N S; Saad, L P; Souza-Campana, D R; Bueno, O C; Morini, M S C

    2017-02-01

    In many sugarcane plantations in Brazil, the straw is left on the soil after harvesting, and vinasse, a by-product of the production of sugar and ethanol, is used for fertigation. Our goal was to compare ant community composition and species richness in the straw mulch of sugarcane crops with the leaf litter of neighboring forests. We tested the hypothesis that ant communities in the straw mulch of vinasse-irrigated sugarcane crops and in the forest leaf litter were similar, because the combination of straw mulching and vinasse irrigation has a positive effect on soil fauna. Straw mulch and leaf litter were collected from 21 sites and placed in Berlese funnels. In total, 61 species were found in the forest leaf litter, whereas 34 and 28 species were found in the straw mulch of sugarcane fields with and without vinasse, respectively. Ant communities differed between forest and crop fields, but the species in the sugarcane straw mulch were a subset of the species found in the forest leaf litter. Although vinasse is rich in organic matter, it did not increase ant diversity. Seven feeding and/or foraging types were identified and, among the different types, surface-foraging omnivorous ants were the most prevalent in all habitats. Vinasse-irrigated sugarcane straw mulch had more predatory species than mulch from vinasse-free fields, but fewer than forest leaf litter. However, this positive effect of vinasse irrigation should be carefully evaluated because vinasse has negative effects on the environment. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  7. High diversity and low specificity of chaetothyrialean fungi in carton galleries in a neotropical ant-plant association.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maximilian Nepel

    Full Text Available New associations have recently been discovered between arboreal ants that live on myrmecophytic plants, and different groups of fungi. Most of the - usually undescribed - fungi cultured by the ants belong to the order Chaetothyriales (Ascomycetes. Chaetothyriales occur in the nesting spaces provided by the host plant, and form a major part of the cardboard-like material produced by the ants for constructing nests and runway galleries. Until now, the fungi have been considered specific to each ant species. We focus on the three-way association between the plant Tetrathylacium macrophyllum (Salicaceae, the ant Azteca brevis (Formicidae: Dolichoderinae and various chaetothyrialean fungi. Azteca brevis builds extensive runway galleries along branches of T. macrophyllum. The carton of the gallery walls consists of masticated plant material densely pervaded by chaetothyrialean hyphae. In order to characterise the specificity of the ant-fungus association, fungi from the runway galleries of 19 ant colonies were grown as pure cultures and analyzed using partial SSU, complete ITS, 5.8S and partial LSU rDNA sequences. This gave 128 different fungal genotypes, 78% of which were clustered into three monophyletic groups. The most common fungus (either genotype or approximate species-level OTU was found in the runway galleries of 63% of the investigated ant colonies. This indicates that there can be a dominant fungus but, in general, a wider guild of chaetothyrialean fungi share the same ant mutualist in Azteca brevis.

  8. Patterns of genetic diversity in the polymorphic ground snake (Sonora semiannulata).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cox, Christian L; Chippindale, Paul T

    2014-08-01

    We evaluated the genetic diversity of a snake species with color polymorphism to understand the evolutionary processes that drive genetic structure across a large geographic region. Specifically, we analyzed genetic structure of the highly polymorphic ground snake, Sonora semiannulata, (1) among populations, (2) among color morphs (3) at regional and local spatial scales, using an amplified fragment length polymorphism dataset and multiple population genetic analyses, including FST-based and clustering analytical techniques. Based upon these methods, we found that there was moderate to low genetic structure among populations. However, this diversity was not associated with geographic locality at either spatial scale. Similarly, we found no evidence for genetic divergence among color morphs at either spatial scale. These results suggest that despite dramatic color polymorphism, this phenotypic diversity is not a major driver of genetic diversity within or among populations of ground snakes. We suggest that there are two mechanisms that could explain existing genetic diversity in ground snakes: recent range expansion from a genetically diverse founder population and current or recent gene flow among populations. Our findings have further implications for the types of color polymorphism that may generate genetic diversity in snakes.

  9. 金沙江干热河谷人工林地表的蚂蚁群落%Communities of Ground-Dwelling Ants in Different Plantation Forests in Arid-Hot Valleys of Jinsha River,Yunnan Province,China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    李巧; 卢志兴; 张威; 马艳滟; 冯萍

    2015-01-01

    Objective]Because of the fragile ecological environment in arid-hot valleys of Jinsha River,Yunnan Province,China,the region has been the hot spots of vegetation restoration for which plantation is the main model. To reveal the diversity status of these plantations,and the potential role in biodiversity protection,the ground-dwelling ant community was studied in 7 different plantations in Jinsha River arid-hot valleys,by comparing the difference of ground-dwelling ant community in terms of species composition and diversity. It would be reference for revegetation and biodiversity protection in the arid-hot valleys.[Method]The experimental sites were in the Desert Ecosystem Observation Station of the State Forestry Administration in Yuanmou County. The sampled plots were set in the following tree plantations: Eucalyptus spp.; Jatropha carcas; Jatropha carcas +Leucaena leucocephala; Azadirachta indica; Azadirachta indica + Acacia auriculiformis; Azadirachta indica + Acacia glauca and Azadirachta indica + Leucaena leucocephala. Investigation of ground-dwelling ant community was carried out by pitfall trappings in all 7 plantations in April ( dry season) and August (wet season),2011,respectively. At each plot,two-three 200 m transects were established for ant collection. The 20 pitfall traps with 50ml 50% glycerol were set along each transect at 10 m intervals at ground level.Pitfall traps were made from plastic containers,8 cm diameter and 15 cm deep,covered by a stone plate to protect the trap from rain. Traps were set for 5 days. The contents of each transect were placed separately in plastic bottles and deposited in 95% alcohol.[Results]The resultswere as follows: 1 ) Ant community composition: 4001 ant individuals were collected,representing 36 species in 17 genera and 5 subfamilies. The collected Myrmicinae subfamily had the most abundant genus and species,with 18 species in 6 genera,followed by Formicinae with 10 species in 5 genera,then Dolichoderinae with 6

  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.

    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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Diversity and nest site selection of social wasps along Guianese forest edges: assessing the influence of arboreal ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corbara, Bruno; Carpenter, J M; Céréghino, R; Leponce, M; Gibernau, M; Dejean, Alain

    2009-05-01

    We examined 424 nests belonging to 61 wasp species along 5 km of rainforest edges in French Guiana (ca. 15,235 plants monitored), and estimate that we recorded up to 73% of the local social wasp fauna. This baseline study was complemented by a long-term survey of the same area and the examination of isolated trees (permitting us to record two additional species, resulting in a total of 63 wasp species). Our results form a continuum from species avoiding nesting on any plant (6.5% of the wasp species) to species nesting on plants but avoiding those sheltering ant nests (82%), to, finally, wasps nesting in association with arboreal ants known to divert army ant raids (11.5%). Consequently, this study documents that most wasp species select plants possibly repulsive to arboreal ants, while associations with arboreal ants, although confirmed here, have been overrepresented in the literature.

  14. Ground Spider Guilds and Functional Diversity in Native Pine Woodlands and Eucalyptus Plantations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corcuera, Pablo; Valverde, Pedro Luis; Jiménez, María Luisa; Ponce-Mendoza, Alejandro; De la Rosa, Gabriela; Nieto, Gisela

    2016-04-01

    Vegetation structure and floristics have a strong influence on the relative abundance of spider guilds and functional diversity of terrestrial arthropods. Human activities have transformed much of the temperate woodlands. The aim of this study was to test five predictions related to the guild distribution and functional diversity of the ground spider communities of Eucalyptus plantations and native pine woodlands in western Mexico. Spiders were collected every fortnight from September to November from 15 pitfalls positioned in each of the eight sites. We also assessed the cover of grasses, herbs, shrubs, and leaf litter in each site. We found that the abundances of ground hunters and sheet weavers between plantations and pine woodlands were different. Nevertheless, there was not a consistent difference between sites of each of the vegetation types. Most species of ground hunters, sheet web weavers, and many other hunters were associated with litter and the grass cover. Nonetheless, in some cases, species of different families belonging to the same guild responded to different variables. Wolf spiders were related to the grass Aristida stricta Micheaux, 1803, while the species of the other families of ground hunters were associated with leaf litter. One Eucalyptus plantation and one pine woodland had the highest functional diversity of all sites. These sites have a well developed litter and grass cover. Our study suggests that the abundance of litter and a high cover of grasses explain the occurrence of species with different traits, and these habitat components results in a high functional diversity.

  15. 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)

  16. The effects of food presentation and microhabitat upon resource monopoly in a ground-foraging ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae community

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Terrence P McGlynn

    2000-06-01

    Full Text Available In Neotropical wet forests several species of omnivorous, resource-defending ants, live and forage in close proximity to one another. Although the forest floor is heterogeneous in microhabitat and food quantity, little is known about the impact of microhabitat and food variation upon resource monopoly among ants. We investigated how food type and microhabitat influence food monopoly in resource-defending ants in old-growth tropical wet forest in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica. We measured several microhabitat characteristics at 66 points in a 0.5 hectare plot, and baited each point with two categories of tuna bait. These baits were presented in "split" and "clumped" arrangements. We measured the frequency of bait monopoly by a single species, as well as the number of recruited ant foragers at a bait. Out of five common species, two (Wasmannia auropunctata and Pheidole simonsi more frequently monopolized one bait type over the other, and one (P. simonsi recruited more ants to the split baits. We then considered the recruitment response by all ant species in the community. We found that the frequency of monopoly, sharing, and the absence of ants at a given point in the rainforest differed with bait type. The frequency of monopoly was associated with microhabitat type in two out of eight microhabitat variables (leaf litter depth and palms; variation in two other types (canopy tree distance and leafcutter ant trails was associated with changes in forager number. In at least two ant species, food presentation affected monopoly at baits; among all resource-defending ants, the microhabitats where ants foraged for food and the type of food located determined in part the frequency of monopoly and the number of foragers at the food item. These results suggest that the location and presentation of food items determines in part which ant species will utilize the resource.En los bosques húmedos de la Región Neotropical conviven varias especies de

  17. Links between plant litter chemistry, species diversity, and below-ground ecosystem function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meier, Courtney L; Bowman, William D

    2008-12-16

    Decomposition is a critical source of plant nutrients, and drives the largest flux of terrestrial C to the atmosphere. Decomposing soil organic matter typically contains litter from multiple plant species, yet we lack a mechanistic understanding of how species diversity influences decomposition processes. Here, we show that soil C and N cycling during decomposition are controlled by the composition and diversity of chemical compounds within plant litter mixtures, rather than by simple metrics of plant species diversity. We amended native soils with litter mixtures containing up to 4 alpine plant species, and we used 9 litter chemical traits to evaluate the chemical composition (i.e., the identity and quantity of compounds) and chemical diversity of the litter mixtures. The chemical composition of the litter mixtures was the strongest predictor of soil respiration, net N mineralization, and microbial biomass N. Soil respiration and net N mineralization rates were also significantly correlated with the chemical diversity of the litter mixtures. In contrast, soil C and N cycling rates were poorly correlated with plant species richness, and there was no relationship between species richness and the chemical diversity of the litter mixtures. These results indicate that the composition and diversity of chemical compounds in litter are potentially important functional traits affecting decomposition, and simple metrics like plant species richness may fail to capture variation in these traits. Litter chemical traits therefore provide a mechanistic link between organisms, species diversity, and key components of below-ground ecosystem function.

  18. Specializations of birds that attend army ant raids: an ecological approach to cognitive and behavioral studies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Donnell, Sean; Logan, Corina J; Clayton, Nicola S

    2012-11-01

    Tropical birds forage at army ant raids on several continents. Obligate foraging at army ant raids evolved several times in the Neotropical true antbird family (Thamnophilidae), and recent evidence suggests a diversity of bird species from other families specialize to varying degrees on army ant exploitation. Army ant raids offer access to high prey densities, but the ant colonies are mobile and widely spaced. Successful army ant exploitation requires solving a complex foraging problem because army ant raids are unpredictable in space and time. Birds can counteract the challenges posed by the ants by using strategies that raise their chances of detecting army ant raids, and birds can use additional strategies to track army ant colonies they have located. Some features of army ant biology, such as their conspicuous swarms and columns, above-ground activity, and regular cycles of behavior, provide opportunities for birds to increase their effectiveness at exploiting raids. Changes in sensory, cognitive and behavioral systems may all contribute to specialized army ant exploitation in a bird population. The combination of specializations that are employed may vary independently among bird species and populations. The degree of army ant exploitation by birds varies geographically with latitude and elevation, and with historical patterns such as centers of distribution of obligate thamnophilid antbirds. We predict the set of specializations a given bird population exhibits will depend on local ecology, as well as phylogenetic history. Comparative approaches that focus on these patterns may indicate ecological and evolutionary factors that have shaped the costs and benefits of this foraging strategy. The development of army ant exploitation in individual birds is poorly understood, and individual expression of these specializations may depend on a combination of genetic adaptation with cognitive plasticity, possibly including social and experiential learning. Future

  19. Performance analysis of MRC spatial diversity receiver system for satellite-to-ground downlink optical transmissions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Kangning; Ma, Jing; Tan, Liying; Yu, Siyuan; Cao, Yubin

    2016-10-01

    The performances of satellite-to-ground downlink optical communications over Gamma-Gamma distributed turbulence are studied for multiple apertures receiver system. Maximum ratio combining (MRC) technique is considered as a combining scheme to mitigate the atmospheric turbulence under thermal noise limited conditions. Bit-error rate (BER) performances for on-off keying (OOK) modulated direct detection optical communications are analyzed for MRC diversity receptions through an approximation method. To show the net diversity gain of multiple apertures receiver system, BER performances of MRC receiver system are compared with a single monolithic aperture receiver system with the same total aperture area (same average total incident optical power) for satellite-to-ground downlink optical communications. All the numerical results are also verified by Monte-Carlo (MC) simulations.

  20. Ant-infecting Ophiocordyceps genomes reveal a high diversity of potential behavioral manipulation genes and a possible major role for enterotoxins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Bekker, Charissa; Ohm, Robin A; Evans, Harry C; Brachmann, Andreas; Hughes, David P

    2017-10-02

    Much can be gained from revealing the mechanisms fungal entomopathogens employ. Especially intriguing are fungal parasites that manipulate insect behavior because, presumably, they secrete a wealth of bioactive compounds. To gain more insight into their strategies, we compared the genomes of five ant-infecting Ophiocordyceps species from three species complexes. These species were collected across three continents, from five different ant species in which they induce different levels of manipulation. A considerable number of (small) secreted and pathogenicity-related proteins were only found in these ant-manipulating Ophiocordyceps species, and not in other ascomycetes. However, few of those proteins were conserved among them, suggesting that several different methods of behavior modification have evolved. This is further supported by a relatively fast evolution of previously reported candidate manipulation genes associated with biting behavior. Moreover, secondary metabolite clusters, activated during biting behavior, appeared conserved within a species complex, but not beyond. The independent co-evolution between these manipulating parasites and their respective hosts might thus have led to rather diverse strategies to alter behavior. Our data indicate that specialized, secreted enterotoxins may play a major role in one of these strategies.

  1. 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.

  2. Ground layer plant species turnover and beta diversity in southern-European old-growth forests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sabatini, Francesco Maria; Burrascano, Sabina; Tuomisto, Hanna; Blasi, Carlo

    2014-01-01

    Different assembly processes may simultaneously affect local-scale variation of species composition in temperate old-growth forests. Ground layer species diversity reflects chance colonization and persistence of low-dispersal species, as well as fine-scale environmental heterogeneity. The latter depends on both purely abiotic factors, such as soil properties and topography, and factors primarily determined by overstorey structure, such as light availability. Understanding the degree to which plant diversity in old-growth forests is associated with structural heterogeneity and/or to dispersal limitation will help assessing the effectiveness of silvicultural practices that recreate old-growth patterns and structures for the conservation or restoration of plant diversity. We used a nested sampling design to assess fine-scale species turnover, i.e. the proportion of species composition that changes among sampling units, across 11 beech-dominated old-growth forests in Southern Europe. For each stand, we also measured a wide range of environmental and structural variables that might explain ground layer species turnover. Our aim was to quantify the relative importance of dispersal limitation in comparison to that of stand structural heterogeneity while controlling for other sources of environmental heterogeneity. For this purpose, we used multiple regression on distance matrices at the within-stand extent, and mixed effect models at the extent of the whole dataset. Species turnover was best predicted by structural and environmental heterogeneity, especially by differences in light availability and in topsoil nutrient concentration and texture. Spatial distances were significant only in four out of eleven stands with a relatively low explanatory power. This suggests that structural heterogeneity is a more important driver of local-scale ground layer species turnover than dispersal limitation in southern European old-growth beech forests.

  3. Ground layer plant species turnover and beta diversity in southern-European old-growth forests.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Francesco Maria Sabatini

    Full Text Available Different assembly processes may simultaneously affect local-scale variation of species composition in temperate old-growth forests. Ground layer species diversity reflects chance colonization and persistence of low-dispersal species, as well as fine-scale environmental heterogeneity. The latter depends on both purely abiotic factors, such as soil properties and topography, and factors primarily determined by overstorey structure, such as light availability. Understanding the degree to which plant diversity in old-growth forests is associated with structural heterogeneity and/or to dispersal limitation will help assessing the effectiveness of silvicultural practices that recreate old-growth patterns and structures for the conservation or restoration of plant diversity. We used a nested sampling design to assess fine-scale species turnover, i.e. the proportion of species composition that changes among sampling units, across 11 beech-dominated old-growth forests in Southern Europe. For each stand, we also measured a wide range of environmental and structural variables that might explain ground layer species turnover. Our aim was to quantify the relative importance of dispersal limitation in comparison to that of stand structural heterogeneity while controlling for other sources of environmental heterogeneity. For this purpose, we used multiple regression on distance matrices at the within-stand extent, and mixed effect models at the extent of the whole dataset. Species turnover was best predicted by structural and environmental heterogeneity, especially by differences in light availability and in topsoil nutrient concentration and texture. Spatial distances were significant only in four out of eleven stands with a relatively low explanatory power. This suggests that structural heterogeneity is a more important driver of local-scale ground layer species turnover than dispersal limitation in southern European old-growth beech forests.

  4. Generic diversity of ants (Himenopteros: Formicidae in forest set, forest border and areas cultivated three Communities of the Municipality of Coripata, Nor Yungas Department of La Paz, Bolivia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mamani-Mamani Beatriz

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available The biodiversity is the variety of all the vegetables, animals and the microorganisms that end up coexisting and interaction inside an ecosystem to be interrelated to each other. The ants represent the biggest abundance inside the insects. The family Formicidae is characterized by the importance that has in the natural ecosystems and for the variety of ecological functions that you/they complete, due to the association with many plants and animals. They have a great variability in the feeding and they use diverse nidificación forms; however they are very scarce the carried out studies. The present investigation was carried out in the municipality of Coripata, where the family Formicidae showed bigger abundance and wealth among habitats. For that they settled the 5 traps of having fallen by place (Altuspata, Choro and Alto Choro in three types of different habitats (forest, forest border and cultivation during 12 months. 15026 individuals were distributed in 6 subfamilies with 26 goods and 46 species y/o morfoespecies found in total. This shows that it exists a great wealth and abundance of ants in this ecosystem. The subfamilies Ecitoninae showed a bigger number of individuals for the habit form that you/they have of being depredators and nomadic. The biggest wealth and abundance of ants was identified in the area of forest of the place Altuspata. Inside the subfamilies Ecitoninae the species Labidus spininoides and Labidus praedator presented bigger number, and with regard to the places one has similarity as for the quantity of individuals.

  5. Connecting ground water influxes with fish species diversity in an urbanized watershed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steffy, L.Y.; McGinty, A.L.; Welty, C.; Kilham, S.S.

    2004-01-01

    Valley Creek watershed is a small stream system that feeds the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The watershed is highly urbanized, including over 17 percent impervious surface cover (ISC) by area. Imperviousness in a watershed has been linked to fish community structure and integrity. Generally, above 10 to 12 percent ISC there is marked decline in fish assemblages with fish being absent above 25 percent ISC. This study quantifies the importance of ground water in maintaining fish species diversity in subbasins with over 30 percent ISC. Valley Creek contains an atypical fish assemblage in that the majority of the fish are warm-water species, and the stream supports naturally reproducing brown trout, which were introduced and stocked from the early 1900s to 1985. Fish communities were quantified at 13 stations throughout the watershed, and Simpson's species diversity index was calculated. One hundred and nine springs were located, and their flow rates measured. A cross covariance analysis between Simpson's species diversity index and spring flow rates upstream of fish stations was performed to quantify the spatial correlation between these two variables. The correlation was found to be highest at lag distances up to about 400 m and drop off significantly beyond lag distances of about 800 m.

  6. 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."

  7. 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.

  8. Extremely alkaline (pH > 12) ground water hosts diverse microbial community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roadcap, George S; Sanford, Robert A; Jin, Qusheng; Pardinas, José R; Bethke, Craig M

    2006-01-01

    Chemically unusual ground water can provide an environment for novel communities of bacteria to develop. Here, we describe a diverse microbial community that inhabits extremely alkaline (pH > 12) ground water from the Lake Calumet area of Chicago, Illinois, where historic dumping of steel slag has filled in a wetland. Using microbial 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid gene sequencing and microcosm experiments, we confirmed the presence and growth of a variety of alkaliphilic beta-Proteobacteria, Bacillus, and Clostridium species at pH up to 13.2. Many of the bacterial sequences most closely matched those of other alkaliphiles found in more moderately alkaline water around the world. Oxidation of dihydrogen produced by reaction of water with steel slag is likely a primary energy source to the community. The widespread occurrence of iron-oxidizing bacteria suggests that reduced iron serves as an additional energy source. These results extend upward the known range of pH tolerance for a microbial community by as much as 2 pH units. The community may provide a source of novel microbes and enzymes that can be exploited under alkaline conditions.

  9. Relationships between plant diversity and the abundance and α-diversity of predatory ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in a mature Asian temperate forest ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zou, Yi; Sang, Weiguo; Bai, Fan; Axmacher, Jan Christoph

    2013-01-01

    A positive relationship between plant diversity and both abundance and diversity of predatory arthropods is postulated by the Enemies Hypothesis, a central ecological top-down control hypothesis. It has been supported by experimental studies and investigations of agricultural and grassland ecosystems, while evidence from more complex mature forest ecosystems is limited. Our study was conducted on Changbai Mountain in one of the last remaining large pristine temperate forest environments in China. We used predatory ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) as target taxon to establish the relationship between phytodiversity and their activity abundance and diversity. Results showed that elevation was the only variable included in both models predicting carabid activity abundance and α-diversity. Shrub diversity was negatively and herb diversity positively correlated with beetle abundance, while shrub diversity was positively correlated with beetle α-diversity. Within the different forest types, a negative relationship between plant diversity and carabid activity abundance was observed, which stands in direct contrast to the Enemies Hypothesis. Furthermore, plant species density did not predict carabid α-diversity. In addition, the density of herbs, which is commonly believed to influence carabid movement, had little impact on the beetle activity abundance recorded on Changbai Mountain. Our study indicates that in a relatively large and heterogeneous mature forest area, relationships between plant and carabid diversity are driven by variations in environmental factors linked with altitudinal change. In addition, traditional top-down control theories that are suitable in explaining diversity patterns in ecosystems of low diversity appear to play a much less pronounced role in highly complex forest ecosystems.

  10. Relationships between plant diversity and the abundance and α-diversity of predatory ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae in a mature Asian temperate forest ecosystem.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yi Zou

    Full Text Available A positive relationship between plant diversity and both abundance and diversity of predatory arthropods is postulated by the Enemies Hypothesis, a central ecological top-down control hypothesis. It has been supported by experimental studies and investigations of agricultural and grassland ecosystems, while evidence from more complex mature forest ecosystems is limited. Our study was conducted on Changbai Mountain in one of the last remaining large pristine temperate forest environments in China. We used predatory ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae as target taxon to establish the relationship between phytodiversity and their activity abundance and diversity. Results showed that elevation was the only variable included in both models predicting carabid activity abundance and α-diversity. Shrub diversity was negatively and herb diversity positively correlated with beetle abundance, while shrub diversity was positively correlated with beetle α-diversity. Within the different forest types, a negative relationship between plant diversity and carabid activity abundance was observed, which stands in direct contrast to the Enemies Hypothesis. Furthermore, plant species density did not predict carabid α-diversity. In addition, the density of herbs, which is commonly believed to influence carabid movement, had little impact on the beetle activity abundance recorded on Changbai Mountain. Our study indicates that in a relatively large and heterogeneous mature forest area, relationships between plant and carabid diversity are driven by variations in environmental factors linked with altitudinal change. In addition, traditional top-down control theories that are suitable in explaining diversity patterns in ecosystems of low diversity appear to play a much less pronounced role in highly complex forest ecosystems.

  11. 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....

  12. Selection indicates preference in diverse habitats: a ground-nesting bird (Charadrius melodus) using reservoir shoreline.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anteau, Michael J; Sherfy, Mark H; Wiltermuth, Mark T

    2012-01-01

    Animals use proximate cues to select resources that maximize individual fitness. When animals have a diverse array of available habitats, those selected could give insights into true habitat preferences. Since the construction of the Garrison Dam on the Missouri River in North Dakota, Lake Sakakawea (SAK) has become an important breeding area for federally threatened piping plovers (Charadrius melodus; hereafter plovers). We used conditional logistic regression to examine nest-site selection at fine scales (1, 3, and 10 m) during summers 2006-2009 by comparing characteristics at 351 nests to those of 668 random sites within nesting territories. Plovers selected sites (1 m(2)) that were lower than unused random sites, increasing the risk of nest inundation. Plovers selected nest sites that were flat, had little silt, and at least 1 cobble; they also selected for 3-m radius nest areas that were relatively flat and devoid of vegetation and litter. Ninety percent of nests had <38% coverage of silt and <10% slope at the site, and <15% coverage of vegetation or litter and <31% slope within the 3-m radius. Gravel was selected for at nest sites (11% median), but against in the area 10-m from the nest, suggesting plovers select for patches or strips of gravel. Although elevation is rarely evaluated in studies of ground-nesting birds, our results underscore its importance in habitat-selection studies. Relative to where plovers historically nested, habitat at SAK has more diverse topography, substrate composition, vegetation communities, and greater water-level fluctuations. Accordingly, our results provide an example of how habitat-selection results can be interpreted as habitat preferences because they are not influenced by desired habitats being scarce or absent. Further, our results will be useful for directing habitat conservation for plovers and interpreting other habitat-selection studies.

  13. Selection Indicates Preference in Diverse Habitats: A Ground-Nesting Bird (Charadrius melodus) Using Reservoir Shoreline

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anteau, Michael J.; Sherfy, Mark H.; Wiltermuth, Mark T.

    2012-01-01

    Animals use proximate cues to select resources that maximize individual fitness. When animals have a diverse array of available habitats, those selected could give insights into true habitat preferences. Since the construction of the Garrison Dam on the Missouri River in North Dakota, Lake Sakakawea (SAK) has become an important breeding area for federally threatened piping plovers (Charadrius melodus; hereafter plovers). We used conditional logistic regression to examine nest-site selection at fine scales (1, 3, and 10 m) during summers 2006–2009 by comparing characteristics at 351 nests to those of 668 random sites within nesting territories. Plovers selected sites (1 m2) that were lower than unused random sites, increasing the risk of nest inundation. Plovers selected nest sites that were flat, had little silt, and at least 1 cobble; they also selected for 3-m radius nest areas that were relatively flat and devoid of vegetation and litter. Ninety percent of nests had <38% coverage of silt and <10% slope at the site, and <15% coverage of vegetation or litter and <31% slope within the 3-m radius. Gravel was selected for at nest sites (11% median), but against in the area 10-m from the nest, suggesting plovers select for patches or strips of gravel. Although elevation is rarely evaluated in studies of ground-nesting birds, our results underscore its importance in habitat-selection studies. Relative to where plovers historically nested, habitat at SAK has more diverse topography, substrate composition, vegetation communities, and greater water-level fluctuations. Accordingly, our results provide an example of how habitat-selection results can be interpreted as habitat preferences because they are not influenced by desired habitats being scarce or absent. Further, our results will be useful for directing habitat conservation for plovers and interpreting other habitat-selection studies. PMID:22299037

  14. Selection indicates preference in diverse habitats: a ground-nesting bird (Charadrius melodus using reservoir shoreline.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael J Anteau

    Full Text Available Animals use proximate cues to select resources that maximize individual fitness. When animals have a diverse array of available habitats, those selected could give insights into true habitat preferences. Since the construction of the Garrison Dam on the Missouri River in North Dakota, Lake Sakakawea (SAK has become an important breeding area for federally threatened piping plovers (Charadrius melodus; hereafter plovers. We used conditional logistic regression to examine nest-site selection at fine scales (1, 3, and 10 m during summers 2006-2009 by comparing characteristics at 351 nests to those of 668 random sites within nesting territories. Plovers selected sites (1 m(2 that were lower than unused random sites, increasing the risk of nest inundation. Plovers selected nest sites that were flat, had little silt, and at least 1 cobble; they also selected for 3-m radius nest areas that were relatively flat and devoid of vegetation and litter. Ninety percent of nests had <38% coverage of silt and <10% slope at the site, and <15% coverage of vegetation or litter and <31% slope within the 3-m radius. Gravel was selected for at nest sites (11% median, but against in the area 10-m from the nest, suggesting plovers select for patches or strips of gravel. Although elevation is rarely evaluated in studies of ground-nesting birds, our results underscore its importance in habitat-selection studies. Relative to where plovers historically nested, habitat at SAK has more diverse topography, substrate composition, vegetation communities, and greater water-level fluctuations. Accordingly, our results provide an example of how habitat-selection results can be interpreted as habitat preferences because they are not influenced by desired habitats being scarce or absent. Further, our results will be useful for directing habitat conservation for plovers and interpreting other habitat-selection studies.

  15. Diversity of Soil Ants at Vertical Zones on the West Slope of Ailao Mountain%哀牢山西坡垂直带土壤蚂蚁群落多样性

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    陈友; 罗长维; 李宏伟; 徐正会

    2011-01-01

    The four vertical zones with eight different types of vegetations on the west slop of Ailao mountain was sampled for studying community diversity of the soil ants.The results were as follows : The total number of soil ants was 74 species, among which there were 42 dominant species.There was a.correlation ofsoil ants diversity with increasing elevation.The percentage of dominant soil ants species in the total soil ants species increased,while dominant individual density,species number and.diversity index of soil ants decreased.In eight different vegetations,individual density, dominant species number, species number, diversity index and evenness index of soil ants were higher in Pinus kesiya forest,monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forest and mixed coniferous forest than those in dry evergreen broad-leaved forest, semi-humid evergreen broadleaved forest, evergreen broad-leaved moss forest, valley savanna forest and mid-mountain humid evergreen broad-leaved forest.%采用样地调查法,对哀牢山西坡4个垂直地带8种植被类型的土壤蚂蚁群落多样性进行调查.结果如下:共有74种土壤蚂蚁,其中42种为优势种;土壤蚂蚁群落多样性随海拔高度增加呈规律性的变化:优势种所占比例逐渐递增,优势种数目降低、物种数目递减、物种多样性指数降低;在8种植被类型中,土壤蚂蚁个体密度、优势种数量、物种数目、物种多样性指数、均匀度指数在思茅松林、针阔叶混交林和季风常绿阔叶林3种植被类型中较高,而在干性常绿阔叶林、半湿润常绿阔叶林、常绿阔叶苔藓矮林、河谷稀树灌木草丛和中山湿性常绿阔叶林4种植被类型中较低.

  16. 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

  17. Performance analysis of satellite-to-ground downlink optical communications with spatial diversity over Gamma-Gamma atmospheric turbulence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Kangning; Ma, Jing; Belmonte, Aniceto; Tan, Liying; Yu, Siyuan

    2015-12-01

    The performances of satellite-to-ground downlink optical communications over Gamma-Gamma distributed turbulence are studied for a multiple-aperture receiver system. Equal gain-combining (EGC) and selection-combining (SC) techniques are considered as practical schemes to mitigate the atmospheric turbulence under thermal-noise-limited conditions. Bit-error rate (BER) performances for on-off keying-modulated direct detection and outage probabilities are analyzed and compared for SC diversity receptions using analytical results and for EGC diversity receptions through an approximation method. To show the net diversity gain of a multiple-aperture receiver system, BER performances and outage probabilities of EGC and SC receiver systems are compared with a single monolithic-aperture receiver system with the same total aperture area (same average total incident optical power) for satellite-to-ground downlink optical communications. All the numerical results are also verified by Monte-Carlo simulations.

  18. Seasonal distribution and diversity of ground arthropods in microhabitats following a shrub plantation age sequence in desertified steppe.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rentao Liu

    Full Text Available In desertified regions, shrub-dominated patches are important microhabitats for ground arthropod assemblages. As shrub age increases, soil, vegetation and microbiological properties can change remarkably and spontaneously across seasons. However, relatively few studies have analyzed how ground arthropods respond to the microhabitats created by shrubs of different plantation ages across seasons. Using 6, 15, 24 and 36 year-old plantations of re-vegetated shrubs (Caragana koushinskii in the desert steppe of northwestern China as a model system, we sampled ground arthropod communities using a pitfall trapping method in the microhabitats under shrubs and in the open areas between shrubs, during the spring, summer and autumn. The total ground arthropod assemblage was dominated by Carabidae, Melolonthidae, Curculionidae, Tenebrionidae and Formicidae that were affected by plantation age, seasonal changes, or the interaction between these factors, with the later two groups also influenced by microhabitat. Overall, a facilitative effect was observed, with more arthropods and a greater diversity found under shrubs as compared to open areas, but this was markedly affected by seasonal changes. There was a high degree of similarity in arthropod assemblages and diversity between microhabitats in summer and autumn. Shrub plantation age significantly influenced the distribution of the most abundant groups, and also the diversity indices of the ground arthropods. However, there was not an overall positive relationship between shrub age and arthropod abundance, richness or diversity index. The influence of plantation age on arthropod communities was also affected by seasonal changes. From spring through summer to autumn, community indices of ground arthropods tended to decline, and a high degree of similarity in these indices (with fluctuation was observed among different ages of shrub plantation in autumn. Altogether the recovery of arthropod communities was

  19. Seasonal distribution and diversity of ground arthropods in microhabitats following a shrub plantation age sequence in desertified steppe.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Rentao; Zhu, Fan; Song, Naiping; Yang, Xinguo; Chai, Yongqing

    2013-01-01

    In desertified regions, shrub-dominated patches are important microhabitats for ground arthropod assemblages. As shrub age increases, soil, vegetation and microbiological properties can change remarkably and spontaneously across seasons. However, relatively few studies have analyzed how ground arthropods respond to the microhabitats created by shrubs of different plantation ages across seasons. Using 6, 15, 24 and 36 year-old plantations of re-vegetated shrubs (Caragana koushinskii) in the desert steppe of northwestern China as a model system, we sampled ground arthropod communities using a pitfall trapping method in the microhabitats under shrubs and in the open areas between shrubs, during the spring, summer and autumn. The total ground arthropod assemblage was dominated by Carabidae, Melolonthidae, Curculionidae, Tenebrionidae and Formicidae that were affected by plantation age, seasonal changes, or the interaction between these factors, with the later two groups also influenced by microhabitat. Overall, a facilitative effect was observed, with more arthropods and a greater diversity found under shrubs as compared to open areas, but this was markedly affected by seasonal changes. There was a high degree of similarity in arthropod assemblages and diversity between microhabitats in summer and autumn. Shrub plantation age significantly influenced the distribution of the most abundant groups, and also the diversity indices of the ground arthropods. However, there was not an overall positive relationship between shrub age and arthropod abundance, richness or diversity index. The influence of plantation age on arthropod communities was also affected by seasonal changes. From spring through summer to autumn, community indices of ground arthropods tended to decline, and a high degree of similarity in these indices (with fluctuation) was observed among different ages of shrub plantation in autumn. Altogether the recovery of arthropod communities was markedly affected by

  20. Sperm competition promotes diversity of sperm bundles in Ohomopterus ground beetles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takami, Yasuoki; Sota, Teiji

    2007-07-01

    Diversification of sperm morphology has been investigated in the context of sperm competition, but the adaptive significance of sperm bundles is still unclear. In analyzing 10 taxa of the genus Carabus subgenus Ohomopterus and one related Carabus ground beetles, we found that dimorphic sperm bundles occurred in most species with varied degrees of bimodality, whereas sperm were generally monomorphic. Comparative analyses with phylogenetically independent contrasts revealed that the sizes of large and small sperm bundles evolved more rapidly than, and were not correlated with, the length of sperm, suggesting more intense selection on sperm bundle sizes and their independent responses to different evolutionary forces. The size of large sperm bundles was positively correlated with male genital morphology (pertinent to displacement of rival spermatophores) and postcopulatory guarding duration as well as male body length, suggesting that larger sperm bundles have been favored when the risk of spermatophore displacement is high. Larger sperm bundles may be advantageous because of their ability to migrate more rapidly into the spermatheca. In contrast, no clear association was detected between the small sperm bundle size and mating traits despite its rapid diversification. The present study provides the first record of heteromorphic sperm bundles, the diversity of which may be promoted by sperm competition.

  1. Cloning and sequencing of wsp encoding gene fragments reveals a diversity of co-infecting Wolbachia strains in Acromyrmex leafcutter ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    van Borm, S.; Wenseleers, T.; Billen, J.;

    2003-01-01

    Acromyrmex insinuator hosted two additional infections. The multiple Wolbachia strains may influence the expression of reproductive conflicts in leafcutter ants, but the expected turnover of infections may make the cumulative effects on host ant reproduction complex. The additional Wolbachia infections...... of the social parasite A. insinuator were almost certainly acquired by horizontal transmission, but may have facilitated reproductive isolation from its closely related host....

  2. Research Progress of Utilization of Medicinal and Edible Insects-Ground Beetle, Caterpillar Fungus and Ants%三种药食两用昆虫的研究与利用综述

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    葛正焱

    2012-01-01

    综述了三种药食两用昆虫地鳖虫、冬虫夏草和蚂蚁研究及利用现状,介绍它们的药用和营养保健价值以及使用方法,为进一步研究开发提供科学依据。%The paper summarized the research advancement and utilization status of medicinal and edible insects such as ground beetle, caterpillar fungus and ants, and their nutritional value, healthy function and use methods were included, which could be helpful to further research and development.

  3. Vast assembly of vocal marine mammals from diverse species on fish spawning ground.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Delin; Garcia, Heriberto; Huang, Wei; Tran, Duong D; Jain, Ankita D; Yi, Dong Hoon; Gong, Zheng; Jech, J Michael; Godø, Olav Rune; Makris, Nicholas C; Ratilal, Purnima

    2016-03-17

    Observing marine mammal (MM) populations continuously in time and space over the immense ocean areas they inhabit is challenging but essential for gathering an unambiguous record of their distribution, as well as understanding their behaviour and interaction with prey species. Here we use passive ocean acoustic waveguide remote sensing (POAWRS) in an important North Atlantic feeding ground to instantaneously detect, localize and classify MM vocalizations from diverse species over an approximately 100,000 km(2) region. More than eight species of vocal MMs are found to spatially converge on fish spawning areas containing massive densely populated herring shoals at night-time and diffuse herring distributions during daytime. We find the vocal MMs divide the enormous fish prey field into species-specific foraging areas with varying degrees of spatial overlap, maintained for at least two weeks of the herring spawning period. The recorded vocalization rates are diel (24 h)-dependent for all MM species, with some significantly more vocal at night and others more vocal during the day. The four key baleen whale species of the region: fin, humpback, blue and minke have vocalization rate trends that are highly correlated to trends in fish shoaling density and to each other over the diel cycle. These results reveal the temporospatial dynamics of combined multi-species MM foraging activities in the vicinity of an extensive fish prey field that forms a massive ecological hotspot, and would be unattainable with conventional methodologies. Understanding MM behaviour and distributions is essential for management of marine ecosystems and for accessing anthropogenic impacts on these protected marine species.

  4. Spatial Factors Play a Major Role as Determinants of Endemic Ground Beetle Beta Diversity of Madeira Island Laurisilva

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boieiro, Mário; Carvalho, José C.; Cardoso, Pedro; Aguiar, Carlos A. S.; Rego, Carla; de Faria e Silva, Israel; Amorim, Isabel R.; Pereira, Fernando; Azevedo, Eduardo B.; Borges, Paulo A. V.; Serrano, Artur R. M.

    2013-01-01

    The development in recent years of new beta diversity analytical approaches highlighted valuable information on the different processes structuring ecological communities. A crucial development for the understanding of beta diversity patterns was also its differentiation in two components: species turnover and richness differences. In this study, we evaluate beta diversity patterns of ground beetles from 26 sites in Madeira Island distributed throughout Laurisilva – a relict forest restricted to the Macaronesian archipelagos. We assess how the two components of ground beetle beta diversity (βrepl – species turnover and βrich - species richness differences) relate with differences in climate, geography, landscape composition matrix, woody plant species richness and soil characteristics and the relative importance of the effects of these variables at different spatial scales. We sampled 1025 specimens from 31 species, most of which are endemic to Madeira Island. A spatially explicit analysis was used to evaluate the contribution of pure environmental, pure spatial and environmental spatially structured effects on variation in ground beetle species richness and composition. Variation partitioning showed that 31.9% of species turnover (βrepl) and 40.7% of species richness variation (βrich) could be explained by the environmental and spatial variables. However, different environmental variables controlled the two types of beta diversity: βrepl was influenced by climate, disturbance and soil organic matter content whilst βrich was controlled by altitude and slope. Furthermore, spatial variables, represented through Moran’s eigenvector maps, played a significant role in explaining both βrepl and βrich, suggesting that both dispersal ability and Madeira Island complex orography are crucial for the understanding of beta diversity patterns in this group of beetles. PMID:23724065

  5. Venom toxicity and composition in three Pseudomyrmex ant species having different nesting modes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Touchard, Axel; Labrière, Nicolas; Roux, Olivier; Petitclerc, Frédéric; Orivel, Jérôme; Escoubas, Pierre; Koh, Jennifer M S; Nicholson, Graham M; Dejean, Alain

    2014-09-01

    We aimed to determine whether the nesting habits of ants have influenced their venom toxicity and composition. We focused on the genus Pseudomyrmex (Pseudomyrmecinae) comprising terrestrial and arboreal species, and, among the latter, plant-ants that are obligate inhabitants of myrmecophytes (i.e., plants sheltering ants in hollow structures). Contrary to our hypothesis, the venom of the ground-dwelling species, Pseudomyrmex termitarius, was as efficacious in paralyzing prey as the venoms of the arboreal and the plant-ant species, Pseudomyrmex penetrator and Pseudomyrmex gracilis. The lethal potency of P. termitarius venom was equipotent with that of P. gracilis whereas the venom of P. penetrator was less potent. The MALDI-TOF MS analysis of each HPLC fraction of the venoms showed that P. termitarius venom is composed of 87 linear peptides, while both P. gracilis and P. penetrator venoms (23 and 26 peptides, respectively) possess peptides with disulfide bonds. Furthermore, P. penetrator venom contains three hetero- and homodimeric peptides consisting of two short peptidic chains linked together by two interchain disulfide bonds. The large number of peptides in P. termitarius venom is likely related to the large diversity of potential prey plus the antibacterial peptides required for nesting in the ground. Whereas predation involves only the prey and predator, P. penetrator venom has evolved in an environment where trees, defoliating insects, browsing mammals and ants live in equilibrium, likely explaining the diversity of the peptide structures. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. 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

  7. 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...

  8. The diversity and abundance of ground herbs in lowland mixed dipterocarp forest and heath forest in Brunei Darussalam

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nurul Hazlina Zaini

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available Herbaceous plants are important components of total plant species richness in tropical forests. Ground herb diversity and abundance were studied in a lowland Mixed Dipterocarp forest (Andulau and a heath forest (Bukit Sawat in Brunei Darussalam, Borneo. At each site, all ground herbs in twenty randomly selected 10 × 10 m subplots within a one hectare permanent plot were censused and identified. The study recorded a total of 20 families and 32 genera of ground herbs, with the family Zingiberaceae as the most abundant at both sites. Thirteen genera were recorded only at Andulau and 7 genera were exclusive to Bukit Sawat, with twelve genera common to both sites. Ground herb species richness appear higher at Andulau than Bukit Sawat (37 vs. 29, but this difference was not statistically significant at the subplot level. However, ground herb abundance and density were significantly higher at Bukit Sawat than Andulau (n =  846 vs. 385; 4230 vs. 1925 individuals ha-1. The more open canopy at Bukit Sawat may provide higher light availability here than at Andulau, which is characterised by a closed canopy. We suggest that light availability is the most important environmental factor influencing ground herb density and abundance at these sites. 

  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. Diverse Responses of Remotely Sensed Grassland Phenology to Interannual Climate Variability over Frozen Ground Regions in Mongolia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhigang Sun

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available Frozen ground may regulate the phenological shifts of dry and cold grasslands at the southern edge of the Eurasian cryosphere. In this study, an investigation based on the MODIS Collection 5 phenology product and climatic data collected from 2001 to 2009 reveals the diverse responses of grassland phenology to interannual climate variability over various frozen ground regions in Mongolia. Compared with middle and southern typical steppe and desert steppe, the spring (start of season; SOS and autumn (end of season; EOS phenological events of northern forest steppe with lower air temperature tend to be earlier and later, respectively. Both the SOS and EOS are less sensitive to climate variability in permafrost regions than in other regions, whereas the SOS of typical steppe is more sensitive to both air temperature and precipitation over sporadic permafrost and seasonal frozen ground regions. Over various frozen ground regions in Mongolia; the SOS is mainly dominated by the prior autumn precipitation, and frozen ground plays a vital role in storing the precipitation of the previous autumn for the subsequent grass green-up. The EOS is mainly dominated by autumn air temperature. These findings could help to improve phenological models of grasslands in extremely dry and cold regions.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  13. Intraguild interactions between spiders and ants and top-down control in a grassland food web.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanders, Dirk; Platner, Christian

    2007-01-01

    In most terrestrial ecosystems ants (Formicidae) as eusocial insects and spiders (Araneida) as solitary trappers and hunters are key predators. To study the role of predation by these generalist predators in a dry grassland, we manipulated densities of ants and spiders (natural and low density) in a two-factorial field experiment using fenced plots. The experiment revealed strong intraguild interactions between ants and spiders. Higher densities of ants negatively affected the abundance and biomass of web-building spiders. The density of Linyphiidae was threefold higher in plots without ant colonies. The abundance of Formica cunicularia workers was significantly higher in spider-removal plots. Also, population size of springtails (Collembola) was negatively affected by the presence of wandering spiders. Ants reduced the density of Lepidoptera larvae. In contrast, the abundance of coccids (Ortheziidae) was positively correlated with densities of ants. To gain a better understanding of the position of spiders, ants and other dominant invertebrate groups in the studied food web and important trophic links, we used a stable isotope analysis ((15)N and (13)C). Adult wandering spiders were more enriched in (15)N relative to (14)N than juveniles, indicating a shift to predatory prey groups. Juvenile wandering and web-building spiders showed delta(15)N ratios just one trophic level above those of Collembola, and they had similar delta(13)C values, indicating that Collembola are an important prey group for ground living spiders. The effects of spiders demonstrated in the field experiment support this result. We conclude that the food resource of spiders in our study system is largely based on the detrital food web and that their effects on herbivores are weak. The effects of ants are not clear-cut and include predation as well as mutualism with herbivores. Within this diverse predator guild, intraguild interactions are important structuring forces.

  14. 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.

  15. Diversidade de formigas na Floresta Nacional de Chapecó, Santa Catarina, Brasil Ants diversity in Floresta Nacional de Chapecó in Santa Catarina State, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Junir Antonio Lutinski

    2008-10-01

    Full Text Available A mirmecofauna da Floresta Nacional de Chapecó, Gleba I, foi estudada por coletas semanais realizadas de dezembro de 2003 a dezembro de 2004. Foram utilizadas armadilhas do tipo malaise, pit-fall, iscas com sardinha, iscas com glicose, rede de varredura, guarda-chuva entomológico e funil de Berlese. Três constituições vegetais foram amostradas, sendo pinus, eucalipto e Floresta Ombrófila Mista e Floresta Estacional Decidual. Foram capturadas 137.019 espécimes de nove subfamílias, 18 tribos, 36 gêneros e 121 espécies. Os índices de diversidade de Margalef obtidos foram 9,9; 9,7 e 12,6; de Shannon e Wiener 3,0; 3,2 e 3,4 e de equitabilidade de 0,69; 0,73 e 0,74, para as áreas com pinus, eucalipto e mata nativa, respectivamente. Estes resultados indicam uma distribuição mais uniforme na comunidade da mata nativa, caracterizando-se como um importante reservatório espécies de formigas no Oeste catarinense.Mirmecofauna of the Floresta Nacional de Chapecó, Field I, was studied by weekly collections from December of 2003 to December of 2004. Malaise, pit-fall, sardine baits, glucose baits, sweeping net, entomological umbrella and Berlese funnel had been used. Three vegetal constitutions where showed, like pinus, eucalyptus Ombrófila Mista and Estacional Decidual native forests. 137.019 specimens of nine subfamilies, 18 tribes, 36 generas and 121 species were captured. The indices of diversity of Margalef were 9.9; 9.7 and 12.6; of Shannon and Wiener 3.0; 3.2 and 3.4 and of equitability of 0.69; 0.73 and 0.74, for the areas with pinus, eucalyptus and native forest, respectively. These results indicate a more uniform distribution in the community of the native forest, characterizing itself as an important reservoir species of ants in the West region of the Santa Catarina State, Brazil.

  16. Into the black and back: the ecology of brain investment in Neotropical army ants (Formicidae: Dorylinae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bulova, S.; Purce, K.; Khodak, P.; Sulger, E.; O'Donnell, S.

    2016-04-01

    Shifts to new ecological settings can drive evolutionary changes in animal sensory systems and in the brain structures that process sensory information. We took advantage of the diverse habitat ecology of Neotropical army ants to test whether evolutionary transitions from below- to above-ground activity were associated with changes in brain structure. Our estimates of genus-typical frequencies of above-ground activity suggested a high degree of evolutionary plasticity in habitat use among Neotropical army ants. Brain structure consistently corresponded to degree of above-ground activity among genera and among species within genera. The most above-ground genera (and species) invested relatively more in visual processing brain tissues; the most subterranean species invested relatively less in central processing higher-brain centers (mushroom body calyces). These patterns suggest a strong role of sensory ecology (e.g., light levels) in selecting for army ant brain investment evolution and further suggest that the subterranean environment poses reduced cognitive challenges to workers. The highly above-ground active genus Eciton was exceptional in having relatively large brains and particularly large and structurally complex optic lobes. These patterns suggest that the transition to above-ground activity from ancestors that were largely subterranean for approximately 60 million years was followed by re-emergence of enhanced visual function in workers.

  17. Above- and below-ground effects of plant diversity depend on species origin

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kuebbing, Sara E.; Classen, Aimee Taylor; Sanders, Nate

    2015-01-01

    Although many plant communities are invaded by multiple nonnative species, we have limited information on how a species' origin affects ecosystem function. We tested how differences in species richness and origin affect productivity and seedling establishment. We created phylogenetically paired...... native and nonnative plant communities in a glasshouse experiment to test diversity-productivity relationships and responsible mechanisms (i.e. selection or complementarity effects). Additionally, we tested how productivity and associated mechanisms influenced seedling establishment. We used diversity...

  18. Diversidade e distribuição espacial de artrópodes associados ao solo em agroecossistemas Diversity and spatial distribution of ground arthropods in agroecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Francisco Jorge Cividanes

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available O conhecimento da diversidade e distribuição de artrópodes associados ao solo contribui para o desenvolvimento de sistemas agrícolas sustentáveis. O presente estudo foi realizado em Jaboticabal (SP, durante o período de fevereiro a abril de 2004. O objetivo foi analisar a comunidade de Carabidae, Staphylinidae, Formicidae e Araneae através de índices faunísticos e determinar a distribuição espacial e a interação interespecífica de espécies predominantes em soja (Glycine max (L. Merr., milho (Zea mays L. e seringueira (Hevea brasiliensis Muell. Arg.. Os artrópodes foram amostrados com armadilhas de solo distribuídas a cada 10 m em dois transectos de 210 m de comprimento, que atravessaram o seringal e avançaram 60 m no interior das culturas. A fauna foi caracterizada pelos índices de diversidade de Shannon-Wiener, de equitabilidade e de similaridade de Morisita. As diferenças entre a ocorrência das espécies predominantes nos hábitats foram determinadas por análise de variância e a interação interespecífica por correlação de Pearson. A soja e o milho cultivados em sistema de plantio direto propiciaram comunidades de carabídeos, formigas e aranhas mais bem estruturadas que o seringal. Entre as 88 espécies capturadas, 20 espécies foram predominantes cuja distribuição espacial mostrou que Odontocheila nodicornis (Dejean, Glenus chrysis Gravenhorst, Castianeira sp. e oito espécies de formigas foram mais abundantes no seringal em comparação às culturas de soja e do milho. A abundância dos carabídeos Calosoma granulatum Perty e O. nodicornis diminuiu conforme aumentou a densidade dos formicídeos Pheidole sp.1 e Odontomachus chelifer Latreille respectivamente.The knowledge of the diversity and distribution of ground arthropods contributes for the development of sustainable agricultural systems. This work was carried out at the Paulista State University, Jaboticabal campus, State of São Paulo, Brazil, during the

  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. 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)

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. The microbial diversity of Polar environments is a fertile ground for bioprospecting.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Pascale, Donatella; De Santi, Concetta; Fu, Juan; Landfald, Bjarne

    2012-12-01

    The term bioprospecting has been adopted for systematic searches in nature for new bioactive compounds, genes, proteins, microorganisms and other products with potential for commercial use. Much effort has been focused on microorganisms able to thrive under harsh conditions, including the Polar environments. Both the lipid and protein cellular building blocks of Polar microorganisms are shaped by their adaptation to the permanently low temperatures. In addition, strongly differing environments, such as permafrost, glaciers and sea ice, have contributed to additional functional diversity. Emerging massive-parallel sequencing technologies have revealed the existence of a huge, hitherto unseen diversity of low-abundance phylotypes--the rare biosphere--even in the Polar environments. This realization has further strengthened the need to employ cultivation-independent approaches, including metagenomics and single-cell genomic sequencing, to get comprehensive access to the genetic diversity of microbial communities for bioprospecting purposes. In this review, we present an updated snapshot of recent findings on the molecular basis for adaptation to the cold and the phylogenetic diversities of different Polar environments. Novel approaches in bioprospecting are presented and we conclude by showing recent bioprospecting outcomes in terms of new molecules patented or applied by some biotech companies.

  4. Effect of carbofuran on the diversity and mean abundance of ground ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Jane

    2011-08-18

    Aug 18, 2011 ... major threat to the diversity and the abundance of spiders. *Corresponding ... treated with any insecticides in either study year and treated as control. .... 50. 60. 70. 17-M ay. 3-Jun. 18-Jun. 4-Jul. 19-Jul4-Aug. 19-Aug. 5-Sep.

  5. What's Slithering around on Your School Grounds? Transforming Student Awareness of Reptile & Amphibian Diversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomasek, Terry M.; Matthews, Catherine E.; Hall, Jeff

    2005-01-01

    The protocols used in a research project on amphibian and reptile diversity at Cool Springs Environmental Education Center near New Bern, North Carolina is described. An increasing or stable number of amphibians and reptiles would indicate that the forest has a balance of invertebrates, leaf litter, moisture, pH, debris, burrows and habitat…

  6. 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 ...

  7. 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 ...

  8. Changes in ground beetle diversity and community composition in age structured forests (Coleoptera, Carabidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kathryn Riley

    2011-11-01

    Full Text Available We examined diversity, community composition, and wing-state of Carabidae as a function of forest age in Piedmont North Carolina. Carabidae were collected monthly from 396 pitfall traps (12×33 sites from March 2009 through February 2010, representing 5 forest age classes approximately 0, 10, 50, 85, and 150 years old. A total of 2,568 individuals, representing 30 genera and 63 species, were collected. Carabid species diversity, as estimated by six diversity indices, was significantly different between the oldest and youngest forest age classes for four of the six indices. Most carabid species were habitat generalists, occurring in all or most of the forest age classes. Carabid species composition varied across forest age classes. Seventeen carabid species were identified as potential candidates for ecological indicators of forest age. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS showed separation among forest age classes in terms of carabid beetle community composition. The proportion of individuals capable of flight decreased significantly with forest age.

  9. Effect of tillage and planting date on seasonal abundance and diversity of predacious ground beetles in cotton.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shrestha, R B; Parajulee, M N

    2010-01-01

    other species. Ground beetle species abundance, diversity, and species richness were significantly higher in conservation tillage plots. This suggests that field conditions arising from the practice of conservation tillage may support higher predacious ground beetle activity than might be observed under field conditions arising from conventional tillage practices.

  10. Discovery of a spawning ground reveals diverse migration strategies in Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, David E; Marancik, Katrin E; Guyon, Jeffrey R; Lutcavage, Molly E; Galuardi, Benjamin; Lam, Chi Hin; Walsh, Harvey J; Wildes, Sharon; Yates, Douglas A; Hare, Jonathan A

    2016-03-22

    Atlantic bluefin tuna are a symbol of both the conflict between preservationist and utilitarian views of top ocean predators, and the struggle to reach international consensus on the management of migratory species. Currently, Atlantic bluefin tuna are managed as an early-maturing eastern stock, which spawns in the Mediterranean Sea, and a late-maturing western stock, which spawns in the Gulf of Mexico. However, electronic tagging studies show that many bluefin tuna, assumed to be of a mature size, do not visit either spawning ground during the spawning season. Whether these fish are spawning in an alternate location, skip-spawning, or not spawning until an older age affects how vulnerable this species is to anthropogenic stressors including exploitation. We use larval collections to demonstrate a bluefin tuna spawning ground in the Slope Sea, between the Gulf Stream and northeast United States continental shelf. We contend that western Atlantic bluefin tuna have a differential spawning migration, with larger individuals spawning in the Gulf of Mexico, and smaller individuals spawning in the Slope Sea. The current life history model, which assumes only Gulf of Mexico spawning, overestimates age at maturity for the western stock. Furthermore, individual tuna occupy both the Slope Sea and Mediterranean Sea in separate years, contrary to the prevailing view that individuals exhibit complete spawning-site fidelity. Overall, this complexity of spawning migrations questions whether there is complete independence in the dynamics of eastern and western Atlantic bluefin tuna and leads to lower estimates of the vulnerability of this species to exploitation and other anthropogenic stressors.

  11. Tree Species Composition, Diversity and Above Ground Biomass of Two Forest Types at Redang Island, Peninsula Malaysia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mahmud KHAIRIL

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available A study was conducted to determine the tree species composition, diversity and above ground biomass at Redang Island, Terengganu. Two plots of 0.1 ha were established at the inland forest and coastal forest of the island. As the result, a total of 387 trees ≥ 5 diameters at breast height (DBH were recorded. The coastal forest recorded 167 individuals representing 48 species from 37 genera and 26 families while the inland forest had 220 individuals representing 50 species from 43 genera and 25 families. Shorea glauca (Dipterocarpaceae was the most important species at the coastal forest with a Species Importance Value Index (SIVi of 10.5 % while Dipterocarpus costulatus (Dipterocarpaceae was the most important species at the inland forest with 13.8 %. Dipterocarpaceae was the most important family in both forest plots with FIVi at 20.4 % in the coastal and 21.5 % in the inland forest. The Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index (H’ was considered high in both forest plots with 3.4 (H’max = 3.9 at the coastal forest and 3.5 (H’max = 4.0 at the inland forest. Sorenson’s Community Similarity Coefficient (CCs showed that tree species communities between the two forest plots had moderate similarity with CC = 0.5. The Shannon Evenness Index (J’ in the two forest plots was 0.89. The total above ground biomass at the coastal forest was 491 t/ha and at the inland forest it was 408 t/ha. From all the species recorded in this study, 11 species were listed as threatened species by IUCN Red Data Book, of which four were listed as endangered and critically endangered, six were listed as lower risk and one species was listed as vulnerable.

  12. Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) genetic diversity at Paranaguá Estuarine Complex feeding grounds in Brazil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jordão, Juliana Costa; Bondioli, Ana Cristina Vigliar; Guebert, Flavia Maria; de Thoisy, Benoit; Toledo, Lurdes Foresti de Almeida

    2015-01-01

    Sea turtles are marine reptiles that undertake long migrations through their life, with limited information regarding juvenile stages. Feeding grounds (FGs), where they spend most of their lives, are composed by individuals from different natal origins, known as mixed stock populations. The aim of this study was to assess genetic composition, natal origins and demographic history of juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas) at the Paranaguá Estuarine Complex (PEC), Brazil, considered a Natural World Heritage site. Tissue samples of stranded animals were collected (n = 60), and 700 bp mitochondrial DNA sequences were generated and compared to shorter sequences from previously published studies. Global exact tests of differentiation revealed significant differences among PEC and the other FGs, except those at the South Atlantic Ocean. Green turtles at PEC present genetic signatures similar to those of nesting females from Ascension Island, Guinea Bissau and Aves Island/Surinam. Population expansion was evidenced to have occurred 20–25 kYA, reinforcing the hypothesis of recovery from Southern Atlantic refugia after the last Glacial Maximum. These results contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of green turtle populations at a protected area by providing knowledge on the dispersion patterns and reinforcing the importance of the interconnectivity between nesting and foraging populations. PMID:26500439

  13. Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) genetic diversity at Paranaguá Estuarine Complex feeding grounds in Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jordão, Juliana Costa; Bondioli, Ana Cristina Vigliar; Guebert, Flavia Maria; de Thoisy, Benoit; Toledo, Lurdes Foresti de Almeida

    2015-01-01

    Sea turtles are marine reptiles that undertake long migrations through their life, with limited information regarding juvenile stages. Feeding grounds (FGs), where they spend most of their lives, are composed by individuals from different natal origins, known as mixed stock populations. The aim of this study was to assess genetic composition, natal origins and demographic history of juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas) at the Paranaguá Estuarine Complex (PEC), Brazil, considered a Natural World Heritage site. Tissue samples of stranded animals were collected (n = 60), and 700 bp mitochondrial DNA sequences were generated and compared to shorter sequences from previously published studies. Global exact tests of differentiation revealed significant differences among PEC and the other FGs, except those at the South Atlantic Ocean. Green turtles at PEC present genetic signatures similar to those of nesting females from Ascension Island, Guinea Bissau and Aves Island/Surinam. Population expansion was evidenced to have occurred 20-25 kYA, reinforcing the hypothesis of recovery from Southern Atlantic refugia after the last Glacial Maximum. These results contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of green turtle populations at a protected area by providing knowledge on the dispersion patterns and reinforcing the importance of the interconnectivity between nesting and foraging populations.

  14. Green turtle (Chelonia mydas genetic diversity at Paranaguá Estuarine Complex feeding grounds in Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juliana Costa Jordão

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Sea turtles are marine reptiles that undertake long migrations through their life, with limited information regarding juvenile stages. Feeding grounds (FGs, where they spend most of their lives, are composed by individuals from different natal origins, known as mixed stock populations. The aim of this study was to assess genetic composition, natal origins and demographic history of juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas at the Paranaguá Estuarine Complex (PEC, Brazil, considered a Natural World Heritage site. Tissue samples of stranded animals were collected (n = 60, and 700 bp mitochondrial DNA sequences were generated and compared to shorter sequences from previously published studies. Global exact tests of differentiation revealed significant differences among PEC and the other FGs, except those at the South Atlantic Ocean. Green turtles at PEC present genetic signatures similar to those of nesting females from Ascension Island, Guinea Bissau and Aves Island/Surinam. Population expansion was evidenced to have occurred 20–25 kYA, reinforcing the hypothesis of recovery from Southern Atlantic refugia after the last Glacial Maximum. These results contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of green turtle populations at a protected area by providing knowledge on the dispersion patterns and reinforcing the importance of the interconnectivity between nesting and foraging populations.

  15. Do Ground-Dwelling Vertebrates Promote Diversity in a Neotropical Forest? Results from a Long-Term Exclosure Experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kurten, Erin L.; Carson, Walter P.

    2015-01-01

    Using a decade-long exclosure experiment in Panama, we tested the hypothesis that ground-dwelling vertebrate herbivores and seed predators are crucial determinants of tropical tree diversity and abundance within the understory. Our exclosure experiment is a community-level test of the Janzen–Connell hypothesis. Therefore, we predicted that vertebrate exclusion would (a) increase plant densities and (b) lower richness, diversity, and evenness. Excluding vertebrates caused a 38%–46% increase in plant densities, which, in contrast to our predictions, caused species richness to increase by 12%–15%. Because vertebrate exclusion causes plant species richness to increase, not decrease, vertebrates are unlikely to be causal agents of Janzen–Connell effects. We synthesized this and previous studies to explore why plant richness responds differently to defaunation and exclosures in tropical forests worldwide. Likely because of their contrasting effects on mesoconsumers, defaunation and exclosures cause decreases and increases in plant density respectively, which in turn cause corresponding changes in richness. PMID:26955084

  16. Supporting a Diverse Community of Undergraduate Researchers in Satellite and Ground-Based Remote Sensing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blake, R.; Liou-Mark, J.

    2012-12-01

    The U.S. remains in grave danger of losing its global competitive edge in STEM. To find solutions to this problem, the Obama Administration proposed two new national initiatives: the Educate to Innovate Initiative and the $100 million government/private industry initiative to train 100,000 STEM teachers and graduate 1 million additional STEM students over the next decade. To assist in ameliorating the national STEM plight, the New York City College of Technology has designed its NSF Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program in satellite and ground-based remote sensing to target underrepresented minority students. Since the inception of the program in 2008, a total of 45 undergraduate students of which 38 (84%) are considered underrepresented minorities in STEM have finished or are continuing with their research or are pursuing their STEM endeavors. The program is comprised of the three primary components. The first component, Structured Learning Environments: Preparation and Mentorship, provides the REU Scholars with the skill sets necessary for proficiency in satellite and ground-based remote sensing research. The students are offered mini-courses in Geographic Information Systems, MATLAB, and Remote Sensing. They also participate in workshops on the Ethics of Research. Each REU student is a member of a team that consists of faculty mentors, post doctorate/graduate students, and high school students. The second component, Student Support and Safety Nets, provides undergraduates a learning environment that supports them in becoming successful researchers. Special networking and Brown Bag sessions, and an annual picnic with research scientists are organized so that REU Scholars are provided with opportunities to expand their professional community. Graduate school support is provided by offering free Graduate Record Examination preparation courses and workshops on the graduate school application process. Additionally, students are supported by college

  17. 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.

  18. 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....

  19. 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.

  20. Rich and cold: diversity, distribution and drivers of fungal communities in patterned-ground ecosystems of the North American Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Timling, I; Walker, D A; Nusbaum, C; Lennon, N J; Taylor, D L

    2014-07-01

    Fungi are abundant and functionally important in the Arctic, yet comprehensive studies of their diversity in relation to geography and environment are not available. We sampled soils in paired plots along the North American Arctic Transect (NAAT), which spans all five bioclimatic subzones of the Arctic. Each pair of plots contrasted relatively bare, cryoturbated patterned-ground features (PGFs) and adjacent vegetated between patterned-ground features (bPGFs). Fungal communities were analysed via sequencing of 7834 ITS-LSU clones. We recorded 1834 OTUs - nearly half the fungal richness previously reported for the entire Arctic. These OTUs spanned eight phyla, 24 classes, 75 orders and 120 families, but were dominated by Ascomycota, with one-fifth belonging to lichens. Species richness did not decline with increasing latitude, although there was a decline in mycorrhizal taxa that was offset by an increase in lichen taxa. The dominant OTUs were widespread even beyond the Arctic, demonstrating no dispersal limitation. Yet fungal communities were distinct in each subzone and were correlated with soil pH, climate and vegetation. Communities in subzone E were distinct from the other subzones, but similar to those of the boreal forest. Fungal communities on disturbed PGFs differed significantly from those of paired stable areas in bPGFs. Indicator species for PGFs included lichens and saprotrophic fungi, while bPGFs were characterized by ectomycorrhizal and pathogenic fungi. Our results suggest that the Arctic does not host a unique mycoflora, while Arctic fungi are highly sensitive to climate and vegetation, with potential to migrate rapidly as global change unfolds.

  1. Evolutionary diversity of bile salts in reptiles and mammals, including analysis of ancient human and extinct giant ground sloth coprolites

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hofmann Alan F

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Bile salts are the major end-metabolites of cholesterol and are also important in lipid and protein digestion and in influencing the intestinal microflora. We greatly extend prior surveys of bile salt diversity in both reptiles and mammals, including analysis of 8,000 year old human coprolites and coprolites from the extinct Shasta ground sloth (Nothrotherium shastense. Results While there is significant variation of bile salts across species, bile salt profiles are generally stable within families and often within orders of reptiles and mammals, and do not directly correlate with differences in diet. The variation of bile salts generally accords with current molecular phylogenies of reptiles and mammals, including more recent groupings of squamate reptiles. For mammals, the most unusual finding was that the Paenungulates (elephants, manatees, and the rock hyrax have a very different bile salt profile from the Rufous sengi and South American aardvark, two other mammals classified with Paenungulates in the cohort Afrotheria in molecular phylogenies. Analyses of the approximately 8,000 year old human coprolites yielded a bile salt profile very similar to that found in modern human feces. Analysis of the Shasta ground sloth coprolites (approximately 12,000 years old showed the predominant presence of glycine-conjugated bile acids, similar to analyses of bile and feces of living sloths, in addition to a complex mixture of plant sterols and stanols expected from an herbivorous diet. Conclusions The bile salt synthetic pathway has become longer and more complex throughout vertebrate evolution, with some bile salt modifications only found within single groups such as marsupials. Analysis of the evolution of bile salt structures in different species provides a potentially rich model system for the evolution of a complex biochemical pathway in vertebrates. Our results also demonstrate the stability of bile salts in coprolites

  2. [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

  3. How load-carrying ants avoid falling over: mechanical stability during foraging in Atta vollenweideri grass-cutting ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karin Moll

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Foraging workers of grass-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri regularly carry grass fragments larger than their own body. Fragment length has been shown to influence the ants' running speed and thereby the colony's food intake rate. We investigated whether and how grass-cutting ants maintain stability when carrying fragments of two different lengths but identical mass. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Ants carried all fragments in an upright, backwards-tilted position, but held long fragments more vertically than short ones. All carrying ants used an alternating tripod gait, where mechanical stability was increased by overlapping stance phases of consecutive steps. The overlap was greatest for ants carrying long fragments, resulting in more legs contacting the ground simultaneously. For all ants, the projection of the total centre of mass (ant and fragment was often outside the supporting tripod, i.e. the three feet that would be in stance for a non-overlapping tripod gait. Stability was only achieved through additional legs in ground contact. Tripod stability (quantified as the minimum distance of the centre of mass to the edge of the supporting tripod was significantly smaller for ants with long fragments. Here, tripod stability was lowest at the beginning of each step, when the center of mass was near the posterior margin of the supporting tripod. By contrast, tripod stability was lowest at the end of each step for ants carrying short fragments. Consistently, ants with long fragments mainly fell backwards, whereas ants carrying short fragments mainly fell forwards or to the side. Assuming that transporting ants adjust neither the fragment angle nor the gait, they would be less stable and more likely to fall over. CONCLUSIONS: In grass-cutting ants, the need to maintain static stability when carrying long grass fragments has led to multiple kinematic adjustments at the expense of a reduced material transport rate.

  4. Structure and diversity of ground mesofauna inUlmus and Populus consortia in the industrial areas of mining and smelting complex of krivyi rig basin

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    V. V. Kachinskaya

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available The structure and biological diversity of ground mesofauna on a consortium level of organisation of ecosystems are considered. Indicators of structural organisation and biodiversity of ground mesofauna were analised in Ulmus and Populus consortia in the conditions of industrial territories of mining and smelting complex of Krivyi Rig Basin. It is established that taxonomical structure of ground mesofauna is characterised by insignificant number and quantity of taxonomical groups. Prevalence of hortobionts and herpetobionts in morpho-ecological structure of the community testifies to their attachment to consortium’s determinants and influence of steppe climate on its structure. Dominance of phytophages and polyphages in trophic structure is caused by a combination of consortium determinants specificity and «a zone source» of the fauna formations. The structural organisation of ground mesofauna in consortia of Ulmus and Populus in the conditions of industrial sites is characterised by simplified taxonomical structure with low biodiversity at all levels.

  5. 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....

  6. Microhabitat and body size effects on heat tolerance: implications for responses to climate change (army ants: Formicidae, Ecitoninae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baudier, Kaitlin M; Mudd, Abigail E; Erickson, Shayna C; O'Donnell, Sean

    2015-09-01

    1. Models that predict organismal and population responses to climate change may be improved by considering ecological factors that affect species thermal tolerance. Species differences in microhabitat use can expose animals to diverse thermal selective environments at a given site and may cause sympatric species to evolve different thermal tolerances. 2. We tested the hypothesis that species differences in body size and microhabitat use (above- vs. below-ground activity) would correspond to differences in thermal tolerance (maximum critical temperatures: CTmax ). Thermal buffering effects of soil can reduce exposure to extreme high temperatures for below-ground active species. We predicted larger-bodied individuals and species would have higher CTmax and that species mean CTmax would covary positively with degree of above-ground activity. We used Neotropical army ants (Formicidae: Ecitoninae) as models. Army ants vary in microhabitat use from largely subterranean to largely above-ground active species and are highly size polymorphic. 3. We collected data on above- and below-ground temperatures in habitats used by army ants to test for microhabitat temperature differences, and we conducted CTmax assays for army ant species with varying degrees of surface activity and with different body sizes within and between species. We then tested whether microhabitat use was associated with species differences in CTmax and whether microhabitat was a better predictor of CTmax than body size for species that overlapped in size. 4. Microhabitat use was a highly significant predictor of species' upper thermal tolerance limits, both for raw data and after accounting for the effects of phylogeny. Below-ground species were more thermally sensitive, with lower maximum critical temperatures (CTmax ). The smallest workers within each species were the least heat tolerant, but the magnitude of CTmax change with body size was greater in below-ground species. Species-typical microhabitat

  7. 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

    decreasing ant densities per meter of branch and the presence of large herbivores increasing ant density. Taken together, these experiments suggest that major ecosystem disturbances like fire can disrupt mutualistic associations and maintain diversity in partner quality and identity despite a clear dominance hierarchy. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.

  8. 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.

  9. 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...

  10. Novel Phialophora species from leaf-cutting ants (tribe Attini)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Attili-Angelis, D.; Duarte, A.P.M.; Pagnocca, F.C.; Nagamoto, N.S.; de Vries, M.; Stielow, J.B.; de Hoog, G.S.

    2014-01-01

    Ants in the tribe Attini (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) maintain a 50 million-year-old lifestyle of co-evolution with symbiotic basidiomycetous fungi which they cultivate as essential source of nutrition. However, other microorganisms have been reported from ant habitats indicating a higher diversity of

  11. How Load-Carrying Ants Avoid Falling Over: Mechanical Stability during Foraging in Atta vollenweideri Grass-Cutting Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moll, Karin; Roces, Flavio; Federle, Walter

    2013-01-01

    Background Foraging workers of grass-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri) regularly carry grass fragments larger than their own body. Fragment length has been shown to influence the ants’ running speed and thereby the colony’s food intake rate. We investigated whether and how grass-cutting ants maintain stability when carrying fragments of two different lengths but identical mass. Principal Findings Ants carried all fragments in an upright, backwards-tilted position, but held long fragments more vertically than short ones. All carrying ants used an alternating tripod gait, where mechanical stability was increased by overlapping stance phases of consecutive steps. The overlap was greatest for ants carrying long fragments, resulting in more legs contacting the ground simultaneously. For all ants, the projection of the total centre of mass (ant and fragment) was often outside the supporting tripod, i.e. the three feet that would be in stance for a non-overlapping tripod gait. Stability was only achieved through additional legs in ground contact. Tripod stability (quantified as the minimum distance of the centre of mass to the edge of the supporting tripod) was significantly smaller for ants with long fragments. Here, tripod stability was lowest at the beginning of each step, when the center of mass was near the posterior margin of the supporting tripod. By contrast, tripod stability was lowest at the end of each step for ants carrying short fragments. Consistently, ants with long fragments mainly fell backwards, whereas ants carrying short fragments mainly fell forwards or to the side. Assuming that transporting ants adjust neither the fragment angle nor the gait, they would be less stable and more likely to fall over. Conclusions In grass-cutting ants, the need to maintain static stability when carrying long grass fragments has led to multiple kinematic adjustments at the expense of a reduced material transport rate. PMID:23300994

  12. Hormigas cazadoras en sistemas productivos del piedemonte amazónico colombiano: diversidad y especies indicadoras Hunter ants in productive systems of Colombian amazon foothills: diversity and indicator species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria Catalina Sanabria-Blandón

    2011-01-01

    methods for sampling ants (TSBF, formalin soil washing, screening of litter and direct search. A total of 280 organisms was collected, corresponding to nine genera and 35 species, belonging to the subfamilies Ectatomminae, Paraponerinae and Ponerinae. Pachycondyla was the most diverse genus (13 species. The abundance of ants was directly correlated with species richness and the number of exclusive species. The highest richness was observed in the agroforestry (24 species, followed by silvopastoral (19 and the lowest in traditional (8. Five species were common in the three systems and seven species marked the most differences in composition between systems (this was: Ectatomma ruidum, Hypoponera sp.1 and sp.4, Odontomachus haematodus, O. brunneus and Pachycondyla constricta. The species Odontomachus brunneus was indicator for the traditional system and Paraponera clavata was in silvopastoral system. Direct search was the most efficient method to sample ants in the Colombian Amazon foothills.

  13. Variation of ant community structure on Ficus benguetensis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shang-Yang Lin

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Although ants are commonly found on Ficus trees, information remains lacking on the pattern and diversity of the ant community visiting these trees. We hypothesize that dynamic changes in the availability and types of food can affect the composition as well as abundance of ant communities occurring on fig trees. To investigate the impact of resource availability, diversity, and variability on the ant community structure, we surveyed and recorded the fig phenology and ant abundance on 17 trees (11 male and six female trees of Ficus benguetensis in New Taipei City in northern Taiwan from 2011 to 2013. A total of 13 ant species were found on these fig trees, with 6 species more abundant than the others. The composition and relative abundance of the ant species occurring on F. benguetensis trees showed significant variations associated with tree sex, fig abundance, fig developmental phase, as well as temperature. A degree of dietary niche partitioning was also observed. We suggest that sexual differentiation in fig phenology plays a major role in controlling the availability and variance in food resources for ants, thereby shaping the complex ant communities foraging on F. benguetensis.

  14. Diversity and above-ground biomass patterns of vascular flora induced by flooding in the drawdown area of China's Three Gorges Reservoir.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Qiang; Yuan, Xingzhong; Willison, J H Martin; Zhang, Yuewei; Liu, Hong

    2014-01-01

    Hydrological alternation can dramatically influence riparian environments and shape riparian vegetation zonation. However, it was difficult to predict the status in the drawdown area of the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR), because the hydrological regime created by the dam involves both short periods of summer flooding and long-term winter impoundment for half a year. In order to examine the effects of hydrological alternation on plant diversity and biomass in the drawdown area of TGR, twelve sites distributed along the length of the drawdown area of TGR were chosen to explore the lateral pattern of plant diversity and above-ground biomass at the ends of growing seasons in 2009 and 2010. We recorded 175 vascular plant species in 2009 and 127 in 2010, indicating that a significant loss of vascular flora in the drawdown area of TGR resulted from the new hydrological regimes. Cynodon dactylon and Cyperus rotundus had high tolerance to short periods of summer flooding and long-term winter flooding. Almost half of the remnant species were annuals. Species richness, Shannon-Wiener Index and above-ground biomass of vegetation exhibited an increasing pattern along the elevation gradient, being greater at higher elevations subjected to lower submergence stress. Plant diversity, above-ground biomass and species distribution were significantly influenced by the duration of submergence relative to elevation in both summer and previous winter. Several million tonnes of vegetation would be accumulated on the drawdown area of TGR in every summer and some adverse environmental problems may be introduced when it was submerged in winter. We conclude that vascular flora biodiversity in the drawdown area of TGR has dramatically declined after the impoundment to full capacity. The new hydrological condition, characterized by long-term winter flooding and short periods of summer flooding, determined vegetation biodiversity and above-ground biomass patterns along the elevation gradient in

  15. Influence of insecticide treatments on ant-hemiptera associations in tropical plantations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kenne, M; Djiéto-Lordon, C; Orivel, J; Mony, R; Fabre, A; Dejean, A

    2003-04-01

    In this survey conducted in southern Cameroon, we compared ant-Hemiptera associations on plantations treated with insecticides, on plantations 2 years after insecticide treatments ceased, and on control lots that never received insecticide treatments. By eliminating arboreal-nesting ants, insecticides favored the presence of "ecologically dominant" ground-nesting, arboreal-foraging species that occupied the tree crowns. The reinstallation of arboreal ants was slow as 2 yr after insecticide treatment ceased differences with the control lots were significant. This intermediary period also illustrated that arboreal ants can found and develop colonies on trees occupied by ground-nesting species. Certain arboreal species were more frequent during this intermediary period than on the control lots, showing that the period of installation in the trees was followed by competition between arboreal ants. We confirm that ground-nesting ants tend a wide range of hemipteran families, including well known agricultural pests, whereas arboreal ants, particularly dominant species, were mostly associated with Coccidae and Stictococcidae that do not pose problems to the supporting trees. A tree effect was also noted for both ant and hemipteran distribution. We concluded that because of insecticide use, ground-nesting ants pose problems through their associated Hemiptera. On the contrary, dominant arboreal ants, strong predators, benefit their supporting trees by excluding ground-nesting species and tending mostly nonpest Hemiptera. Nevertheless, certain of them, carpenter species or species likely to tend Pseudococcidae, have to be eliminated through integrated management.

  16. Molecular phylogenetics of ponerine ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ponerinae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Chris

    2013-01-01

    Recent molecular phylogenetic studies of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) have revolutionized our understanding of how these ecologically dominant organisms diversified, but detailed phylogenies are lacking for most major ant subfamilies. I report the results of the first detailed phylogenetic study of the ant subfamily Ponerinae, a diverse cosmopolitan lineage whose properties make it an attractive model system for investigating social and ecological evolution in ants. Molecular sequence data were obtained from four nuclear genes (wingless, long-wavelength rhodopsin, rudimentary [CAD], 28S rDNA; total of ~3.3 kb) for 86 ponerine taxa, representing all three ponerine tribes, 22 of the 28 currently recognized genera, and 14 of the 18 informal subgenera of Pachycondyla, a heterogeneous grouping whose monophyly is doubtful on morphological grounds. Phylogenetic reconstructions using maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference support the monophyly of Ponerinae and tribe Platythyreini, but fail to support the monophyly of the large tribe Ponerini due to its inclusion of the unusual genus Thaumatomyrmex. Pachycondyla is inferred to be broadly non-monophyletic. Numerous novel generic and suprageneric relationships are inferred within Ponerini, which was found to consist of four major multi-generic clades (the Ponera, Pachycondyla, Plectroctena and Odontomachus genus groups) plus the single genera Hypoponera and Harpegnathos. Uncertainty remains in some regions of the phylogeny, including at the base of Ponerini, possibly reflecting rapid radiation. Divergence dating using a Bayesian relaxed clock method estimates an origin for stem Ponerinae in the upper Cretaceous, a major burst of diversification near the K/T boundary, and a rich and continual history of diversification during the Cenozoic. These results fail to support the predictions of the "dynastic-succession hypothesis" previously developed to explain the high species diversity of Ponerinae. Though model

  17. 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.

  18. Contrasting land uses in Mediterranean agro-silvo-pastoral systems generated patchy diversity patterns of vascular plants and below-ground microorganisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bagella, Simonetta; Filigheddu, Rossella; Caria, Maria Carmela; Girlanda, Mariangela; Roggero, Pier Paolo

    2014-12-01

    The aims of this paper were (i) to define how contrasting land uses affected plant biodiversity in Mediterranean agro-silvo-pastoral-systems across a gradient of disturbance regimes: cork oak forests, secondary grasslands, hay crops, grass covered vineyards, tilled vineyards; (ii) to determine whether these patterns mirrored those of below-ground microorganisms and whether the components of γ-diversity followed a similar model. The disturbance regimes affected plant assemblage composition. Species richness decreased with increasing land use intensity, the Shannon index showed the highest values in grasslands and hay crops. Plant assemblage composition patterns mirrored those of Basidiomycota and Ascomycota. Richness in Basidiomycota, denitrifying bacteria and microbial biomass showed the same trend as that observed for vascular plant richness. The Shannon index pattern of below-ground microorganisms was different from that of plants. The plant γ-diversity component model weakly mirrored those of Ascomycota. Patchy diversity patterns suggest that the maintenance of contrasting land uses associated with different productions typical of agro-silvo-pastoral-systems can guarantee the conservation of biodiversity.

  19. Species richness, equitability, and abundance of ants in disturbed landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, J.H.; Krzysik, A.J.; Kovacic, D.A.; Duda, J.J.; Freeman, D.C.; Emlen, J.M.; Zak, J.C.; Long, W.R.; Wallace, M.P.; Chamberlin-Graham, C.; Nutter, J.P.; Balbach, H.E.

    2009-01-01

    Ants are used as indicators of environmental change in disturbed landscapes, often without adequate understanding of their response to disturbance. Ant communities in the southeastern United States displayed a hump-backed species richness curve against an index of landscape disturbance. Forty sites at Fort Benning, in west-central Georgia, covered a spectrum of habitat disturbance (military training and fire) in upland forest. Sites disturbed by military training had fewer trees, less canopy cover, more bare ground, and warmer, more compact soils with shallower A-horizons. We sampled ground-dwelling ants with pitfall traps, and measured 15 habitat variables related to vegetation and soil. Ant species richness was greatest with a relative disturbance of 43%, but equitability was greatest with no disturbance. Ant abundance was greatest with a relative disturbance of 85%. High species richness at intermediate disturbance was associated with greater within-site spatial heterogeneity. Species richness was also associated with intermediate values of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), a correlate of net primary productivity (NPP). Available NPP (the product of NDVI and the fraction of days that soil temperature exceeded 25 ??C), however, was positively correlated with species richness, though not with ant abundance. Species richness was unrelated to soil texture, total ground cover, and fire frequency. Ant species richness and equitability are potential state indicators of the soil arthropod community. Moreover, equitability can be used to monitor ecosystem change. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd.

  20. Ground flora, small mammal and bird species diversity in miscanthus (Miscanthusxgiganteus) and reed canary-grass (Phalaris arundinacea) fields

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Semere, T.; Slater, F.M. [Cardiff University, School of Biosciences, Llysdinam Field Centre, Newbridge-on-Wye, Llandrindod Wells, Powys LD1 6NB (United Kingdom)

    2007-01-15

    Wildlife monitoring of two miscanthus and two reed canary-grass fields in Herefordshire, England was carried out in 2002, 2003 and 2004 to investigate the ecological impact of perennial biomass grass crops on ground flora, small mammals and birds. Quadrats were used to record percentage ground vegetation cover within and around the periphery of each crop. Small mammals were sampled by live trapping using Longworth traps. The common bird census technique was used to monitor populations of birds. Miscanthus fields were richer in weed vegetation than reed canary-grass or arable fields. Bird use of the biomass crop fields varied depending on species. There were considerably more open-ground bird species such as skylarks (Alauda arvensis), lapwings (Vanellus vanellus) and meadow pipits (Anthus pratensis) within miscanthus than within reed canary-grass fields. There was no particular crop-type preference by the small mammal species, but rather a preference for good ground cover and little land disturbance, which was provided by both biomass crops. Ground flora, small mammals and most of the bird species (except open-ground birds) were found more abundantly within field margins and boundaries than in crop fields indicating the importance of retaining field structure when planting biomass crops. The miscanthus work relates entirely to young crops, which may be representative of part of the national crop if large areas are cultivated for rhizomes. The findings from the current project indicate that perennial biomass grass crops can provide substantially improved habitat for many forms of native wildlife, due to the low intensity of the agricultural management system and the untreated headlands. (author)

  1. 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.

  2. The roots of diversity: below ground species richness and rooting distributions in a tropical forest revealed by DNA barcodes and inverse modeling.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F Andrew Jones

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Plants interact with each other, nutrients, and microbial communities in soils through extensive root networks. Understanding these below ground interactions has been difficult in natural systems, particularly those with high plant species diversity where morphological identification of fine roots is difficult. We combine DNA-based root identification with a DNA barcode database and above ground stem locations in a floristically diverse lowland tropical wet forest on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, where all trees and lianas >1 cm diameter have been mapped to investigate richness patterns below ground and model rooting distributions. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: DNA barcode loci, particularly the cpDNA locus trnH-psba, can be used to identify fine and small coarse roots to species. We recovered 33 species of roots from 117 fragments sequenced from 12 soil cores. Despite limited sampling, we recovered a high proportion of the known species in the focal hectare, representing approximately 14% of the measured woody plant richness. This high value is emphasized by the fact that we would need to sample on average 13 m(2 at the seedling layer and 45 m(2 for woody plants >1 cm diameter to obtain the same number of species above ground. Results from inverse models parameterized with the locations and sizes of adults and the species identifications of roots and sampling locations indicates a high potential for distal underground interactions among plants. CONCLUSIONS: DNA barcoding techniques coupled with modeling approaches should be broadly applicable to studying root distributions in any mapped vegetation plot. We discuss the implications of our results and outline how second-generation sequencing technology and environmental sampling can be combined to increase our understanding of how root distributions influence the potential for plant interactions in natural ecosystems.

  3. Evolution and ecology of directed aerial descent in arboreal ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yanoviak, Stephen P; Munk, Yonatan; Dudley, Robert

    2011-12-01

    Directed aerial descent (DAD) is used by a variety of arboreal animals to escape predators, to remain in the canopy, and to access resources. Here, we build upon the discovery of DAD in ants of tropical canopies by summarizing its known phylogenetic distribution among ant genera, and within both the subfamily Pseudomyrmecinae and the genus Cephalotes. DAD has multiple evolutionary origins in ants, occurring independently in numerous genera in the subfamilies Myrmicinae, Formicinae, and Pseudomyrmecinae. Ablation experiments and video recordings of ants in a vertical wind tunnel showed that DAD in Cephalotes atratus is achieved via postural changes, specifically orientation of the legs and gaster. The occurrence of DAD in Formicinae indicates that the presence of a postpetiole is not essential for the behavior. Evidence to date indicates that gliding behavior is accomplished by visual targeting mediated by the compound eyes, and is restricted to diurnally active ants that nest in trees. Occlusion of ocelli in Pseudomyrmex gracilis workers had no effect on their success or performance in gliding. Experimental assessment of the fate of ants that fall to the understory showed that ants landing in water are 15 times more likely to suffer lethal attacks than are ants landing in leaf litter. Variation in both the aerodynamic mechanisms and selective advantages of DAD merits further study given the broad taxonomic diversity of arboreal ants that engage in this intriguing form of flight.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Do herbivores eavesdrop on ant chemical communication to avoid predation?

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    David J Gonthier

    Full Text Available Strong effects of predator chemical cues on prey are common in aquatic and marine ecosystems, but are thought to be rare in terrestrial systems and specifically for arthropods. For ants, herbivores are hypothesized to eavesdrop on ant chemical communication and thereby avoid predation or confrontation. Here I tested the effect of ant chemical cues on herbivore choice and herbivory. Using Margaridisa sp. flea beetles and leaves from the host tree (Conostegia xalapensis, I performed paired-leaf choice feeding experiments. Coating leaves with crushed ant liquids (Azteca instabilis, exposing leaves to ant patrolling prior to choice tests (A. instabilis and Camponotus textor and comparing leaves from trees with and without A. instabilis nests resulted in more herbivores and herbivory on control (no ant-treatment relative to ant-treatment leaves. In contrast to A. instabilis and C. textor, leaves previously patrolled by Solenopsis geminata had no difference in beetle number and damage compared to control leaves. Altering the time A. instabilis patrolled treatment leaves prior to choice tests (0-, 5-, 30-, 90-, 180-min. revealed treatment effects were only statistically significant after 90- and 180-min. of prior leaf exposure. This study suggests, for two ecologically important and taxonomically diverse genera (Azteca and Camponotus, ant chemical cues have important effects on herbivores and that these effects may be widespread across the ant family. It suggests that the effect of chemical cues on herbivores may only appear after substantial previous ant activity has occurred on plant tissues. Furthermore, it supports the hypothesis that herbivores use ant chemical communication to avoid predation or confrontation with ants.

  7. Consuming fire ants reduces northern bobwhite survival and weight gain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Myers, P.E.; Allen, Craig R.; Birge, Hannah E.

    2014-01-01

    Northern bobwhite quail, Colinus virginianus (L.) (Galliformes: Odontophoridae), population declines are well documented, but pinpointing the reasons for these decreases has proven elusive. Bobwhite population declines are attributed primarily to loss of habitat and land use changes. This, however, does not entirely explain population declines in areas intensively managed for bobwhites. Although previous research demonstrates the negative impact of red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on northern bobwhites, the mechanisms underlying this effect are largely unknown. To meet the protein demands of early growth and development, bobwhite chicks predominantly consume small insects, of which ants are a substantial proportion. Fire ants alter ant community dynamics by often reducing native ant diversity and abundance while concurrently increasing the abundance of individuals. Fire ants have negative effects on chicks, but they are also a large potential protein source, making it difficult to disentangle their net effect on bobwhite chicks. To help investigate these effects, we conducted a laboratory experiment to understand (1) whether or not bobwhites consume fire ants, and (2) how the benefits of this consumption compare to the deleterious impacts of bobwhite chick exposure to fire ants. Sixty bobwhite chicks were separated into two groups of 30; one group was provided with starter feed only and the second group was provided with feed and fire ants. Bobwhite chicks were observed feeding on fire ants. Chicks that fed on fire ants had reduced survival and weight gain. Our results show that, while fire ants increase potential food sources for northern bobwhite, their net effect on bobwhite chicks is deleterious. This information will help inform land managers and commercial bobwhite rearing operations.

  8. The importance of ants in cave ecology, with new records and behavioral observations of ants in Arizona caves

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    Robert B. Pape

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available The importance of ants as elements in cave ecology has been mostly unrecognized. A global list of ant species recorded from caves, compiled from a review of existing literature, is presented. This paper also reviews what is currently known about ants occurring in Arizona (USA caves. The diversity and distribution represented in these records suggests ants are relatively common cave visitors (trogloxenes. A general utilization of caves by ants within both temperate and tropical latitudes may be inferred from this combined evidence. Observations of ant behavior in Arizona caves demonstrate a low level and sporadic, but persistent, use of these habitats and their contained resources by individual ant colonies. Documentation of Neivamyrmex sp. preying on cave-inhabiting arthropods is reported here for the first time. Observations of hypogeic army ants in caves suggests they may not penetrate to great vertical depth in search of prey, but can be persistent occupants in relatively shallow, horizontal sections of caves where they may prey on endemic cave animals. First cave records for ten ant species are reported from Arizona caves. These include two species of Neivamyrmex (N. nigrescens Cresson and Neivamyrmex sp.; Formicidae: Dorylinae, four myrmicines (Pheidole portalensis Wilson, Pheidole cf. porcula Wheeler, Solenopsis aurea Wheeler and Stenamma sp. Westwood, one dolichoderine (Forelius keiferi Wheeler and three formicines (Lasius arizonicus Wheeler, L. sitiens Wilson, and Camponotus sp. Mayr.

  9. 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.

  10. Linking ground observations, simulation model output, and remote sensing data to characterize phenology across diverse arid landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    We combined long-term data on plant phenology with simulation modeling output and remote sensing data to characterize diverse landscapes at the Jornada Experimental Range in the northern Chihuahuan Desert of southern New Mexico. Phenology of 15 key species in Chihuahuan Desert plant communities have...

  11. Exon-primed intron-crossing (EPIC markers as a tool for ant phylogeography

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    Patrícia R. Ströher

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Exon-primed intron-crossing (EPIC markers as a tool for ant phylogeography. Due to their local abundance, diversity of adaptations and worldwide distribution, ants are a classic example of adaptive radiation. Despite this evolutionary and ecological importance, phylogeographical studies on ants have relied largely on mitochondrial markers. In this study we design and test exon-primed intron-crossing (EPIC markers, which can be widely used to uncover ant intraspecific variation. Candidate markers were obtained through screening the available ant genomes for unlinked conserved exonic regions interspersed with introns. A subset of 15 markers was tested in vitro and showed successful amplification in several phylogenetically distant ant species. These markers represent an important step forward in ant phylogeography and population genetics, allowing for more extensive characterization of variation in ant nuclear DNA without the need to develop species-specific markers.

  12. The genomic impact of 100 million years of social evolution in seven ant species

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gadau, Jürgen; Helmkampf, Martin; Nygaard, Sanne

    2012-01-01

    Ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) represent one of the most successful eusocial taxa in terms of both their geographic distribution and species number. The publication of seven ant genomes within the past year was a quantum leap for socio- and ant genomics. The diversity of social organization in ants...... makes them excellent model organisms to study the evolution of social systems. Comparing the ant genomes with those of the honeybee, a lineage that evolved eusociality independently from ants, and solitary insects suggests that there are significant differences in key aspects of genome organization...... between social and solitary insects, as well as among ant species. Altogether, these seven ant genomes open exciting new research avenues and opportunities for understanding the genetic basis and regulation of social species, and adaptive complex systems in general....

  13. The genomic impact of 100 million years of social evolution in seven ant species

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gadau, Jürgen; Helmkampf, Martin; Nygaard, Sanne;

    2012-01-01

    Ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) represent one of the most successful eusocial taxa in terms of both their geographic distribution and species number. The publication of seven ant genomes within the past year was a quantum leap for socio- and ant genomics. The diversity of social organization in ants...... makes them excellent model organisms to study the evolution of social systems. Comparing the ant genomes with those of the honeybee, a lineage that evolved eusociality independently from ants, and solitary insects suggests that there are significant differences in key aspects of genome organization...... between social and solitary insects, as well as among ant species. Altogether, these seven ant genomes open exciting new research avenues and opportunities for understanding the genetic basis and regulation of social species, and adaptive complex systems in general....

  14. The value of grounded theory for disentangling inequalities in maternal-childhealthcare in contexts of diversity: A psycho-sociopolitical approach

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sonia Hernández Plaza

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available Adopting a psycho-sociopolitical approach, the present paper describes the results of a community-basedparticipatory needs assessment focusing on the perceived needs of women of reproductive age as users ofprimary healthcare in contexts of migration-driven diversity and socioeconomic vulnerability in theMetropolitan Area of Lisbon. The investigation comprised 64 in-depth interviews with women, includingnatives and immigrants to Portugal from the main origin countries in the context under study (Brazil, CapeVerde, and other Portuguese- speaking African countries and a survey of 125 women, again natives andimmigrants from these countries. The central role of qualitative methodology and grounded theory, in theframework of a multi-method research, allowed understanding the needs of women as embedded incontexts characterized by asymmetrical power relations, in terms of unequal opportunities and resources,at multiple interrelated ecological levels (personal, relational, organizational, community, socioeconomic,health system/policy, cultural/migration. The priority perceived needs of women were primarily related tosocioeconomic disadvantage, severely aggravated in the current contexts of crisis; and factors at the healthsystem level, mainly unequal access to family doctors, excessive waiting lists, and increases in the directcosts of healthcare. Results allow questioning the adequacy of cultural competence approaches for thereduction of inequalities in maternal-child healthcare in the context under study, showing the critical andinnovative value of qualitative methodology and grounded theory in research on social justice and healthin contexts of diversity characterized by unequal power dynamics.

  15. Behind every great ant, there is a great gut

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Poulsen, Michael; Sapountzis, Panagiotis

    2012-01-01

    Ants are quite possibly the most successful insects on Earth, with an estimated 10 000 species worldwide, making up at least a third of the global insect biomass, and comprising several times the biomass of all land vertebrates combined. Ant species have diverse trophic habits, including herbivory...... on the potential contribution of the ants’ gut symbionts. This issue of Molecular Ecology contains a study by Anderson et al. (2012), who take a comparative approach to explore the link between trophic levels and ant microbiomes, specifically, to address three main questions: (i) Do closely related herbivorous...... conserved gut microbiomes, suggesting symbiont functions that directly relate to dietary preference of the ant host. These findings suggest an ecological role of gut symbionts in ants, for example, in metabolism and/or protection, and the comparative approach taken supports a model of co-evolution between...

  16. Inactivation of a diverse set of shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli in ground beef by high pressure processing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sheen, Shiowshuh; Cassidy, Jennifer; Scullen, Butch; Sommers, Christopher

    2015-12-01

    Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are regularly implicated in foodborne illness outbreaks and recalls of ground beef. In this study we determined the High Pressure Processing (HPP) D10 value (the processing conditions needed to reduce the microbial population by 1 log) of 39 STEC isolates, including the "big six" serovars, O104 and O157:H7. STEC isolates included those isolated from animals and environmental sources in addition to those associated with illness in humans. Individual STEC were inoculated into 80% lean ground beef and treated with HPP (350 MPa, 4 °C, up to 40 min). The mean D10 was 9.74 min, with a range of 0.89-25.70 min. The D10 of the STEC involved in human illness was 9.25 vs. 10.40 min for those not involved in human illness (p > 0.05). The presence or absence of genes encoding virulence factors (e.g. Shiga toxin 1 or 2, intimin, or enterohemolysin) had no effect on the HPP D10 (p > 0.05). The high D10 of some STEC involved in human illness should be considered in selecting HPP processing parameters for ground beef. This study demonstrates the heterogeneity of STEC resistance to HPP. Risk assessors and the food industry can use this information to provide safer meat products to consumers.

  17. Wood-nesting ants and their parasites in forests and coffee agroecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De La Mora, Aldo; Philpott, Stacy M

    2010-10-01

    Agricultural intensification is linked to reduced species richness and may limit the effectiveness of predators in agricultural systems. We studied the abundance, diversity, and species composition of wood-nesting ants and frequency of parasitism of poneromorph ants in coffee agroeco systems and a forest fragment in Chiapas, Mexico. In three farms differing in shade management and in a nearby forest fragment, we surveyed ants nesting in rotten wood. We collected pupae of all poneromorph ants encountered, and incubated pupae for 15 d to recover emerging ant parasites. If no parasites emerged, we dissected pupae to examine for parasitism. Overall, we found 63 ant morphospecies, 29 genera, and 7 subfamilies from 520 colonies. There were no significant differences in ant richness or abundance between the different sites. However, there were significant differences in the species composition of ants sampled in the four different sites. The parasitism rates of ants differed according to site; in the forest 77.7% of species were parasitized, and this number declined with increasing intensification in traditional polyculture (40%),commercial polyculture (25%), and shade monoculture (16.6%). For three of four poneromorph species found in >1 habitat, parasitism rates were higher in the more vegetatively complex sites. The result that both ant species composition and ant parasitism differed among by site indicates that coffee management intensification affects wood-nesting ant communities. Further, coffee intensification may significantly alter interactions between ants and their parasites, with possible implications for biological control in coffee agroecosystems.

  18. 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

  19. Projected distributions and diversity of flightless ground beetles within the Australian Wet Tropics and their environmental correlates.

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    Kyran M Staunton

    Full Text Available With the impending threat of climate change, greater understanding of patterns of species distributions and richness and the environmental factors driving them are required for effective conservation efforts. Species distribution models enable us to not only estimate geographic extents of species and subsequent patterns of species richness, but also generate hypotheses regarding environmental factors determining these spatial patterns. Projected changes in climate can then be used to predict future patterns of species distributions and richness. We created distribution models for most of the flightless ground beetles (Carabidae within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of Australia, a major component of regionally endemic invertebrates. Forty-three species were modelled and the environmental correlates of these distributions and resultant patterns of species richness were examined. Flightless ground beetles generally inhabit upland areas characterised by stable, cool and wet environmental conditions. These distribution and richness patterns are best explained using the time-stability hypothesis as this group's primary habitat, upland rainforest, is considered to be the most stable regional habitat. Projected changes in distributions indicate that as upward shifts in distributions occur, species currently confined to lower and drier mountain ranges will be more vulnerable to climate change impacts than those restricted to the highest and wettest mountains. Distribution models under projected future climate change suggest that there will be reductions in range size, population size and species richness under all emission scenarios. Eighty-eight per cent of species modelled are predicted to decline in population size by over 80%, for the most severe emission scenario by the year 2080. These results suggest that flightless ground beetles are among the most vulnerable taxa to climate change impacts so far investigated in the Wet Tropics World

  20. USING ANT COMMUNITIES FOR RAPID ASSESSMENT OF TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEM HEALTH

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wike, L; Doug Martin, D; Michael Paller, M; Eric Nelson, E

    2007-01-12

    Ecosystem health with its near infinite number of variables is difficult to measure, and there are many opinions as to which variables are most important, most easily measured, and most robust, Bioassessment avoids the controversy of choosing which physical and chemical parameters to measure because it uses responses of a community of organisms that integrate all aspects of the system in question. A variety of bioassessment methods have been successfully applied to aquatic ecosystems using fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Terrestrial biotic index methods are less developed than those for aquatic systems and we are seeking to address this problem here. This study had as its objective to examine the baseline differences in ant communities at different seral stages from clear cut back to mature pine plantation as a precursor to developing a bioassessment protocol. Comparative sampling was conducted at four seral stages; clearcut, 5 year, 15 year and mature pine plantation stands. Soil and vegetation data were collected at each site. All ants collected were preserved in 70% ethyl alcohol and identified to genus. Analysis of the ant data indicates that ants respond strongly to the habitat changes that accompany ecological succession in managed pine forests and that individual genera as well as ant community structure can be used as an indicator of successional change. Ants exhibited relatively high diversity in both early and mature seral stages. High ant diversity in the mature seral stages was likely related to conditions on the forest floor which favored litter dwelling and cool climate specialists.

  1. 川西北高寒草甸蚁丘植物群落演替:种类组成与物种多样性%Plant Community Succession on Ant-hills of a Sub-alpine Meadow in Northwestern Sichuan, China:Species Composition and Diversity

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    蒙凤群; 高贤明; 孙书存

    2011-01-01

    Ants may increase habitat heterogeneity by means of building ant-hills, thereby changing community species composition and ecosystem structure and functioning.We investigated plant height, coverage and abundance for each species and calculated species richness and diversity for ant-hills of Camponotus herculeanus differing in size ( 309.45 cm2.948.45 cm2.2124.90 cmz for the small, intermediate and large ant-hills , reapectively).The dominant species was subsequently identified for the three size-classes of ant-hiUs and the mechanism underlying anthill community succession was derived.Our results showed that diumal temperature fluctuation was greater in ant-hills than the surrounding flat soil.where the temperature of the ant-hills was higher in daytime but lower at night relative to the counterpart.The soil maisture was lower in center than in edge of ant-hiLls whose moisture was lower than the flat soil.Plant species diversity and nchness were not significantly different among the three classes of ant-hills while the dominant species conspicuously changed.The importance value of the most dominant species, Kobresia uncinoides, increased significantly with increasing ant-hill size; the subdominant species was Galium aparine, Festuca ovina, Elymus nutans for the small, intermediate and large ant-hills, respectively.The dominance of grasses was significantly higher, but that of forbs was lower on ant-hills than in surrounding communities.The ant-hills were dominated by species from Cyperaceae and Gramineae while Compositae and Ranunculaceae dominated the surrounding communities.In addition, we discussed the poasible mechanisms driving ant-hill community succession and the potential significance of ant-hills to the whole community composition and dynamics in the alpine meadow.%蚂蚁通过构建蚁丘,提高了群落生境异质性,影响群落物种组成,甚至生态系统结构和功能.我们在川西北典型高寒草甸调查了平地(非蚁丘,即距离蚁丘4

  2. Research on the ant colony algorithm in robot path planning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yong; Ma, Jianming; Wang, Ying

    2017-05-01

    Using the A* algorithm principle proposed adaptive adjustment heuristic function, to reduce the degree of divergence algorithm; The state transition of the next ant improvement strategies, to improve the diversity of path planning solution; Control the change of the pheromone, to avoid algorithm trapped in local optimal solution; The improved ant colony algorithm makes the robot along an optimal or suboptimal path to arrive at the target.

  3. Epstein on Anchors and Grounds

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guala Francesco

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available The distinction between anchors and grounds is one of the most innovative contributions of The Ant Trap. In this commentary I will argue that the distinction suffers from an ambiguity between tokens and types. This leads Epstein to endorse pluralism about anchors and grounds, a position that is not justified in the book and to which there are plausible alternatives.

  4. 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.

  5. Argentine ant invasion associated with loblolly pines in the southeastern United States: minimal impacts but seasonally sustained.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowles, Alexei D; Silverman, Jules

    2010-08-01

    Invasive ants are notorious for directly displacing native ant species. Although such impacts are associated with Argentine ant invasions (Linepithema humile) worldwide, impacts within natural habitat are less widely reported, particularly those affecting arboreal ant communities. Argentine ants were detected in North Carolina mixed pine-hardwood forest for the first time but were localized on and around loblolly pines (Pinus taeda), probably because of association with honeydew-producing Hemiptera. We explored the potential impacts of L. humile on arboreal and ground-foraging native ant species by comparing interspersed loblolly pines invaded and uninvaded by Argentine ants. Impacts on native ants were assessed monthly over 1 yr by counting ants in foraging trails on pine trunks and in surrounding plots using a concentric arrangement of pitfall traps at 1, 2, and 3 m from the base of each tree. Of floristics and habitat variables, higher soil moisture in invaded plots was the only difference between plot types, increasing confidence that any ant community differences were caused by Argentine ants. Overall patterns of impact were weak. Composition differed significantly between Argentine ant invaded and uninvaded trunks and pitfalls but was driven only by the presence of Argentine ants rather than any resulting compositional change in native ant species. Native ant abundance and richness were similarly unaffected by L. humile. However, the abundance of individual ant species was more variable. Although numbers of the arboreal Crematogaster ashmeadi (Myrmicinae) declined on and around invaded pines, epigeic Aphaenogaster rudis (Myrmicinae) remained the most abundant species in all plots. Argentine ant densities peaked in late summer and fall, therefore overlapping with most native ants. Unexpected was their continued presence during even the coldest months. We provide evidence that Argentine ants can invade and persist in native North Carolina forests, probably

  6. 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.

  7. The impact of coffee and pasture agriculture on predatory and omnivorous leaf-litter ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dias, Nivia da Silva; Zanetti, Ronald; Santos, Mônica Silva; Peñaflor, Maria Fernanda Gomes Villalba; Broglio, Sônia Maria Forti; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles

    2013-01-01

    Ants are known to function as reliable biological indicators for habitat impact assessment. They play a wide range of ecological roles depending on their feeding and nesting habits. By clustering ants in guilds, it is possible both to assess how agriculture and forest fragmentation can disturb ant communities and to predict the ecological impacts due to losses of a specific guild. This study aimed at determining the impact of non-shaded coffee and pasture agriculture on predatory and omnivorous guilds of leaf-litter ants of Atlantic Forest fragments in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Both coffee and pasture agriculture influenced leaf-litter ant community, although coffee was more disruptive than pasture. Coffee agriculture not only disturbed the diversity of predatory ants, but also negatively affected the number of predatory and omnivorous ants when compared to forest fragments. In contrast, pasture agriculture only disrupted the abundance of predatory ants. Fragment edges skirting crops were negatively affected in terms of leaf-litter ant abundance, but not diversity. Cluster analysis showed that forest fragments were similar irrespective of the cultivation, but the borders were similar to the crop. The study assessed agriculture impact by surveying ant guilds, and revealed that the predatory guild is more susceptible than omnivorous ants.

  8. Variación espacial y temporal de la diversidad de hormigas en el Jardín Botánico del valle de Zapotitlán de las Salinas, Puebla Spatial and temporal variation of the diversity ants in the Botanic Garden from Zapotitlán de las Salinas Valley, Puebla

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rafael Guzmán-Mendoza

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Debido al escaso conocimiento que se tiene de las hormigas de las zonas áridas de México, se evaluó la biodiversidad de este taxón en el Jardín Botánico de Zapotitlán de las Salinas, Puebla. Se realizaron 2 colectas, una en época de lluvias (agosto de 2004 y otra en la temporada de secas (febrero de 2005. En ambas ocasiones se seleccionaron 2 sitios contrastantes en estructura vegetal y se colocaron 10 trampas de caída para cada sitio. La captura fue más abundante en temporada de lluvias. El sitio con menor diversidad y cobertura vegetal mostró una mayor diversidad de hormigas durante el estudio. Comparado con otras zonas áridas de México, el valle de Zapotitlán de las Salinas resultó ser una de las zonas semiáridas con mayor riqueza en especies de hormigas; con 12 nuevos registros se incrementó a 27 el número de especies, sólo una por debajo de otras localidades cercanas al valle. Los datos sugieren que con un mayor esfuerzo de muestreo y la aplicación combinada de otras técnicas de recolección, la riqueza de especies en el área podría elevarse considerablemente.The knowledge about ants of arid zones of Mexico is very poor. For this reason we assessed the biodiversity of this taxon in 2 sites with different vegetation structure. Ten pitfall traps were placed in each site, and 2 surveys were conducted, 1 in August (rainy season, 2004 and another in February (dry season, 2005. The capture was more abundant in the rainy season; however, during the study, a higher ant diversity was observed in the site with low vegetation cover and few plant diversity. Compared with other arid zones of Mexico, the Zapotitlán de las Salinas Valley is the site with the highest ant species richness. The new records have increased richness to 27 ant species, which is very close to the number of species registered in other localities near Zapotitlan. Our data suggest that increasing sampling effort and application of different sampling

  9. Food Preference and Foraging Activity of Ants: Recommendations for Field Applications of Low-Toxicity Baits

    OpenAIRE

    Nyamukondiwa, Casper; Addison, Pia

    2014-01-01

    Control of ants using baits of low toxicity cannot be effective without knowledge of bait distribution patterns and bait station densities, which are determined by ants' foraging activities. Furthermore, the success of toxic baits also depends upon attractiveness of bait carriers. Here, we assessed ground and vine foraging activity and food preferences for the three ant species (Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), Anoplolepis custodiens (F. Smith) and Crematogaster peringueyi...

  10. 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.

  11. Interaction and common ground in dementia: Communication across linguistic and cultural diversity in a residential dementia care setting.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strandroos, Lisa; Antelius, Eleonor

    2017-09-01

    Previous research concerning bilingual people with a dementia disease has mainly focused on the importance of sharing a spoken language with caregivers. While acknowledging this, this article addresses the multidimensional character of communication and interaction. As using spoken language is made difficult as a consequence of the dementia disease, this multidimensionality becomes particularly important. The article is based on a qualitative analysis of ethnographic fieldwork at a dementia care facility. It presents ethnographic examples of different communicative forms, with particular focus on bilingual interactions. Interaction is understood as a collective and collaborative activity. The text finds that a shared spoken language is advantageous, but is not the only source of, nor a guarantee for, creating common ground and understanding. Communicative resources other than spoken language are for example body language, embodiment, artefacts and time. Furthermore, forms of communication are not static but develop, change and are created over time. Ability to communicate is thus not something that one has or has not, but is situationally and collaboratively created. To facilitate this, time and familiarity are central resources, and the results indicate the importance of continuity in interpersonal relations.

  12. 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

  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. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. 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…

  17. Modelling of self-driven particles: Foraging ants and pedestrians

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nishinari, Katsuhiro; Sugawara, Ken; Kazama, Toshiya; Schadschneider, Andreas; Chowdhury, Debashish

    2006-12-01

    Models for the behavior of ants and pedestrians are studied in a unified way in this paper. Each ant follows pheromone put by preceding ants, hence creating a trail on the ground, while pedestrians also try to follow others in a crowd for efficient and safe walking. These following behaviors are incorporated in our stochastic models by using only local update rules for computational efficiency. It is demonstrated that the ant trail model shows a unusual non-monotonic dependence of the average speed of the ants on their density, which can be well analyzed by the zero-range process. We also show that this anomalous behavior is clearly observed in an experiment of multiple robots. Next, the relation between the ant trail model and the floor field model for studying evacuation dynamics of pedestrians is discussed. The latter is regarded as a two-dimensional generalization of the ant trail model, where the pheromone is replaced by footprints. It is shown from simulations that small perturbations to pedestrians will sometimes avoid congestion and hence allow safe evacuation.

  18. Ant colonies and foraging line dynamics: Modeling, experiments and computations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rossi, Louis

    2005-11-01

    Ants are one of several types of insects that form robust and complex societies, and as such, provide rich theoretical ground for the exploration and understanding of collective dynamics and the behaviorial parameters that drive the dynamics. Many species of ants are nearly or completely blind, so they interact locally through behaviorial cues with nearby ants, and through pheromone trails left by other ants. Consistent with biological observation, two populations of ants are modeled, those seeking food and those returning to the nest with food. A simple constitutive model relating ant densities to pheromone concentrations yields a system of equations describing two interacting fluids and predicts left- and right-moving traveling waves. All the model parameters can be reduced to two Froude numbers describing the ratio between a chemical potential and the kinetic energy of the traveling ants. Laboratory experiments on Tetramorium caespitum (L) clearly indicate left and right-moving traveling density waves in agreement with the mathematical model. We focus on understanding the evolutionary utility of the traveling waves, and the optimality of the Froude numbers and other parameters.

  19. Overview of the Distribution, Habitat Association and Impact of Exotic Ants on Native Ant Communities in New Caledonia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maïa Berman

    Full Text Available Ants are among the most ubiquitous and harmful invaders worldwide, but there are few regional studies of their relationships with habitat and native ant communities. New Caledonia has a unique and diverse ant fauna that is threatened by exotic ants, but broad-scale patterns of exotic and native ant community composition in relation to habitat remain poorly documented. We conducted a systematic baiting survey of 56 sites representing the main New Caledonian habitat types: rainforest on ultramafic soils (15 sites, rainforest on volcano-sedimentary soils (13, maquis shrubland (15, Melaleuca-dominated savannas (11 and Acacia spirorbis thickets (2. We collected a total of 49 species, 13 of which were exotic. Only five sites were free of exotic species, and these were all rainforest. The five most abundant exotic species differed in their habitat association, with Pheidole megacephala associated with rainforests, Brachymyrmex cf. obscurior with savanna, and Wasmannia auropunctata and Nylanderia vaga present in most habitats. Anoplolepis gracilipes occurred primarily in maquis-shrubland, which contrasts with its rainforest affinity elsewhere. Multivariate analysis of overall ant species composition showed strong differentiation of sites according to the distribution of exotic species, and these patterns were maintained at the genus and functional group levels. Native ant composition differed at invaded versus uninvaded rainforest sites, in the absence of differences in habitat variables. Generalised Myrmicinae and Forest Opportunists were particularly affected by invasion. There was a strong negative relationship between the abundance of W. auropunctata and native ant abundance and richness. This emphasizes that, in addition to dominating many ant communities numerically, some exotic species, and in particular W. auropunctata, have a marked impact on native ant communities.

  20. Overview of the Distribution, Habitat Association and Impact of Exotic Ants on Native Ant Communities in New Caledonia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berman, Maïa; Andersen, Alan N; Hély, Christelle; Gaucherel, Cédric

    2013-01-01

    Ants are among the most ubiquitous and harmful invaders worldwide, but there are few regional studies of their relationships with habitat and native ant communities. New Caledonia has a unique and diverse ant fauna that is threatened by exotic ants, but broad-scale patterns of exotic and native ant community composition in relation to habitat remain poorly documented. We conducted a systematic baiting survey of 56 sites representing the main New Caledonian habitat types: rainforest on ultramafic soils (15 sites), rainforest on volcano-sedimentary soils (13), maquis shrubland (15), Melaleuca-dominated savannas (11) and Acacia spirorbis thickets (2). We collected a total of 49 species, 13 of which were exotic. Only five sites were free of exotic species, and these were all rainforest. The five most abundant exotic species differed in their habitat association, with Pheidole megacephala associated with rainforests, Brachymyrmex cf. obscurior with savanna, and Wasmannia auropunctata and Nylanderia vaga present in most habitats. Anoplolepis gracilipes occurred primarily in maquis-shrubland, which contrasts with its rainforest affinity elsewhere. Multivariate analysis of overall ant species composition showed strong differentiation of sites according to the distribution of exotic species, and these patterns were maintained at the genus and functional group levels. Native ant composition differed at invaded versus uninvaded rainforest sites, in the absence of differences in habitat variables. Generalised Myrmicinae and Forest Opportunists were particularly affected by invasion. There was a strong negative relationship between the abundance of W. auropunctata and native ant abundance and richness. This emphasizes that, in addition to dominating many ant communities numerically, some exotic species, and in particular W. auropunctata, have a marked impact on native ant communities.

  1. Myrmeciza and related antbirds (Aves, Formicariidae as army ant followers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edwin O. Willis

    1984-01-01

    Full Text Available Antbirds of the genera Myrmeciza (including Sipia and Myrmoborus, Gymnocichla, and Sclateria hop near or on the ground in fairly dense vegetation, "pounding" their tails downward. Where dense understory vegetation is widespread and ants move in it for long distances, certain of these antbirds become regular ant followers: M. immaculata and M. fortis in cluttered moist foothill forest from Costa Rica to upper Amazonia; Gymnocichla nudiceps in moist cluttered second growth of Central America to Colombia. Where the forest understory is more open, Myrmeciza species follow ants mainly in cluttered patches: M. exsul in lowland forest west of the Andes, M. myotherina east of the Andes. Myrmeciza or relatives that specialize on water-edge or very dense zones rarely follow ants.

  2. Diapriinae Wasps (Hymenoptera: Diaprioidea: Diapriidae Associated with Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marta S. Loiácono

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available We provide an overview of diapriid wasps associated with ants in Argentina and the diversity of interactions they have developed with their hosts. As a result, we report 16 species of nine genera of Diapriinae, two new geographic distributions, three new association records, illustrations, and photographs. We highlight myrmecophile symphylic species, with a high degree of integration with the host ants, adaptation being morphological and behavioral. A table with diapriid species and ant hosts is given.

  3. Acromyrmex Leaf-Cutting Ants Have Simple Gut Microbiota with Nitrogen-Fixing Potential

    OpenAIRE

    Sapountzis, Panagiotis; Zhukova, Mariya; Hansen, Lars H; Sørensen, Søren Johannes; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2015-01-01

    Ants and termites have independently evolved obligate fungus-farming mutualisms, but their gardening procedures are fundamentally different, as the termites predigest their plant substrate whereas the ants deposit it directly on the fungus garden. Fungus-growing termites retained diverse gut microbiota, but bacterial gut communities in fungus-growing leaf-cutting ants have not been investigated, so it is unknown whether and how they are specialized on an exclusively fungal diet. Here we chara...

  4. 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.

  5. "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....

  6. Coexistence between Cyphomyrmex ants and dominant populations of Wasmannia auropunctata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grangier, Julien; Le Breton, Julien; Dejean, Alain; Orivel, Jérôme

    2007-01-10

    The little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata is able to develop highly dominant populations in disturbed areas of its native range, with a resulting negative impact on ant diversity. We report here on the tolerance of such populations towards several fungus-growing ants of the genus Cyphomyrmex (rimosus complex) in French Guiana. This tolerance is surprising given the usually high interspecific aggressiveness of W. auropunctata when dominant. In order to understand the mechanisms behind such proximity, aggressiveness tests were performed between workers of the different species. These behavioural assays revealed a great passivity in Cyphomyrmex workers during confrontations with W. auropunctata workers. We also found that the aggressiveness between W. auropunctata and two Cyphomyrmex species was more intense between distant nests than between adjacent ones. This dear-enemy phenomenon may result from a process of habituation contributing to the ants' ability to coexist over the long term.

  7. Disruption of a protective ant-plant mutualism by an invasive ant increases elephant damage to savanna trees.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riginos, Corinna; Karande, Megan A; Rubenstein, Daniel I; Palmer, Todd M

    2015-03-01

    Invasive species can indirectly affect ecosystem processes via the disruption of mutualisms. The mutualism between the whistling thorn acacia (Acacia drepanolobium) and four species of symbiotic ants is an ecologically important one; ants strongly defend trees against elephants, which can otherwise have dramatic impacts on tree cover. In Laikipia, Kenya, the invasive big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala) has established itself at numerous locations within the last 10-15 years. In invaded areas on five properties, we found that three species of symbiotic Crematogaster ants were virtually extirpated, whereas Tetraponera penzigi co-occurred with P. megacephala. T. penzigi appears to persist because of its nonaggressive behavior; in a whole-tree translocation experiment, Crematogaster defended host trees against P. megacephala, but were extirpated from trees within hours. In contrast, T. penzigi retreated into domatia and withstood invading ants for >30 days. In the field, the loss of defensive Crematogaster ants in invaded areas led to a five- to sevenfold increase in the number of trees catastrophically damaged by elephants compared to uninvaded areas. In savannas, tree cover drives many ecosystem processes and provides essential forage for many large mammal species; thus, the invasion of big-headed ants may strongly alter the dynamics and diversity of East Africa's whistling thorn savannas by disrupting this system's keystone acaciaant mutualism.

  8. 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.

  9. "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.

  10. "Going beyond the call of doula": a grounded theory analysis of the diverse roles community-based doulas play in the lives of pregnant and parenting adolescent mothers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gentry, Quinn M; Nolte, Kim M; Gonzalez, Ainka; Pearson, Magan; Ivey, Symeon

    2010-01-01

    This article presents some of the most salient qualitative results from a larger program evaluation of pregnant and parenting adolescents who participated in a community-based doula program. Using grounded theory analysis, seven problem-solving strategies emerged that doulas apply in helping pregnant and parenting adolescents navigate multiple social and health settings that often serve as barriers to positive maternal- and child-health outcomes. The ethnographic findings of this study suggest that the doulas provide valuable assistance to pregnant and parenting adolescents by addressing social-psychological issues and socio-economic disparities. "Diverse role-taking" results in doulas helping pregnant adolescents navigate more successfully through fragmented social and health service systems that are less supportive of low-income adolescents, who are often perceived to be draining scarce resources. The findings have implications for the roles of community-based doulas assigned to low-income adolescents of color seeking to overcome obstacles and attain better educational and economic opportunities.

  11. 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.

  12. The natural history of the arboreal ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Walter R. Tschinkel

    2002-07-01

    Full Text Available The arboreal ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, is the most dominant arboreal ant in the pine forests of the coastal plain of northern Florida. The majority of pine trees harbor a colony of these ants. The colonies inhabit multiple chambers abandoned by bark-mining caterpillars, especially those of the family Cossidae, in the outer bark of living pines. They also inhabit ground level termite galleries in the bark, often locating the queen in galleries. The density of chambers and ants is highest in the base of the tree and drops sharply with height on the trunk. Because chambers are formed in the inner layer of bark, they gradually move outward as more bark layers are laid down, eventually sloughing off the tree's outer surface. Chambers have a mean lifetime of about 25 yr. The abundant chambers in pine bark are excavated by a small population of caterpillars and accumulate over decades. Ant colonies also inhabit abandoned galleries of woodboring beetles in dead branches in the crowns of pines. Because newly mated queens found colonies in abandoned woodboring beetle galleries in the first dead branches that form on pine saplings, C. ashmeadi is dependent on cavities made by other insects throughout its life cycle, and does little if any excavation of its own. Mature colonies nest preferentially in chambers greater than 10 cm2 in area, a relatively rare chamber size. In natural pine forests, this does not seem to limit the ant's populations.

  13. The acacia ants revisited: convergent evolution and biogeographic context in an iconic ant/plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Philip S; Branstetter, Michael G

    2017-03-15

    Phylogenetic and biogeographic analyses can enhance our understanding of multispecies interactions by placing the origin and evolution of such interactions in a temporal and geographical context. We use a phylogenomic approach-ultraconserved element sequence capture-to investigate the evolutionary history of an iconic multispecies mutualism: Neotropical acacia ants (Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus group) and their associated Vachellia hostplants. In this system, the ants receive shelter and food from the host plant, and they aggressively defend the plant against herbivores and competing plants. We confirm the existence of two separate lineages of obligate acacia ants that convergently occupied Vachellia and evolved plant-protecting behaviour, from timid ancestors inhabiting dead twigs in rainforest. The more diverse of the two clades is inferred to have arisen in the Late Miocene in northern Mesoamerica, and subsequently expanded its range throughout much of Central America. The other lineage is estimated to have originated in southern Mesoamerica about 3 Myr later, apparently piggy-backing on the pre-existing mutualism. Initiation of the Pseudomyrmex/Vachellia interaction involved a shift in the ants from closed to open habitats, into an environment with more intense plant herbivory. Comparative studies of the two lineages of mutualists should provide insight into the essential features binding this mutualism. © 2017 The Author(s).

  14. Landscape corridors can increase invasion by an exotic species and reduce diversity of native species.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Resasco, Julian [University of Florida; et al,

    2014-04-01

    Abstract. Landscape corridors are commonly used to mitigate negative effects of habitat fragmentation, but concerns persist that they may facilitate the spread of invasive species. In a replicated landscape experiment of open habitat, we measured effects of corridors on the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, and native ants. Fire ants have two social forms: polygyne, which tend to disperse poorly but establish at high densities, and monogyne, which disperse widely but establish at lower densities. In landscapes dominated by polygyne fire ants, fire ant abundance was higher and native ant diversity was lower in habitat patches connected by corridors than in unconnected patches. Conversely, in landscapes dominated by monogyne fire ants, connectivity had no influence on fire ant abundance and native ant diversity. Polygyne fire ants dominated recently created landscapes, suggesting that these corridor effects may be transient. Our results suggest that corridors can facilitate invasion and they highlight the importance of considering species’ traits when assessing corridor utility.

  15. Tree-Dwelling Ants: Contrasting Two Brazilian Cerrado Plant Species without Extrafloral Nectaries

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonas Maravalhas

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Ants dominate vegetation stratum, exploiting resources like extrafloral nectaries (EFNs and insect honeydew. These interactions are frequent in Brazilian cerrado and are well known, but few studies compare ant fauna and explored resources between plant species. We surveyed two cerrado plants without EFNs, Roupala montana (found on preserved environments of our study area and Solanum lycocarpum (disturbed ones. Ants were collected and identified, and resources on each plant noted. Ant frequency and richness were higher on R. montana (67%; 35 spp than S. lycocarpum (52%; 26, the occurrence of the common ant species varied between them, and similarity was low. Resources were explored mainly by Camponotus crassus and consisted of scale insects, aphids, and floral nectaries on R. montana and two treehopper species on S. lycocarpum. Ants have a high diversity on cerrado plants, exploring liquid and prey-based resources that vary in time and space and affect their presence on plants.

  16. Variation in fungal enzyme spectra may affect mutualistic division of labour between ants and fungus gardens

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    range, and a paraphyletic assembly of Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex species that cultivate more genetically diverse fungal symbionts. Leaf-decomposition productivity of colonies depends on the combined efforts of ant foragers collecting and macerating plant material and fungal enzymes excreted directly...... partners vary in metabolic performance, division of labour may not always be optimized and co-evolutionary trajectories become less predictable. The higher fungus-growing (attine) ants consist of the leafcutter ants (Acromyrmex and Atta), which rear a single fungal species throughout their Latin American...... or indirectly via ant fecal fluid. We determined the interaction specificity between ant species and fungal strains across sympatric populations of six Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex species in Panama, and established that these ants jointly reared eight fungal haplotype groups that differed significantly...

  17. Filamentous fungi vectored by ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a public hospital in North-Eastern Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aquino, R S S; Silveira, S S; Pessoa, W F B; Rodrigues, A; Andrioli, J L; Delabie, J H C; Fontana, R

    2013-03-01

    The increase in opportunistic fungal infections has led to the search for putative sources of contamination in hospital environments. Ants in a public hospital in Itabuna, north-eastern Brazil were examined for carriage of filamentous fungi. During a year-long survey, ants from different hospital areas were sampled. Preference was given to locations where it was possible to observe ants actively foraging. The fungi found on the ants' integument were cultured and identified. A total of 106 ant workers belonging to 12 species in 11 genera were collected. A total of 47 fungal strains was isolated from 40% of the ants (N = 42). We found 16 fungal species in 13 genera associated with the ant workers. The prevalent fungal genera were Aspergillus, Purpureocillium and Fusarium. The ants Tapinoma melanocephalum, Paratrechina longicornis and Pheidole megacephala were associated with six fungal genera; and four genera of fungi were associated with Solenopsis saevissima workers. Fungal diversity was higher in the following hospital areas: nursery, hospital beds, breastmilk bank and paediatrics. Ants act as carriers of soil and airborne fungal species, and ant control in hospital areas is necessary to prevent the dissemination of such micro-organisms. Copyright © 2012 The Healthcare Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Endophytic fungi reduce leaf-cutting ant damage to seedlings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bittleston, L S; Brockmann, F; Wcislo, W; Van Bael, S A

    2011-02-23

    Our study examines how the mutualism between Atta colombica leaf-cutting ants and their cultivated fungus is influenced by the presence of diverse foliar endophytic fungi (endophytes) at high densities in tropical leaf tissues. We conducted laboratory choice trials in which ant colonies chose between Cordia alliodora seedlings with high (E(high)) or low (E(low)) densities of endophytes. The E(high) seedlings contained 5.5 times higher endophyte content and a greater diversity of fungal morphospecies than the E(low) treatment, and endophyte content was not correlated with leaf toughness or thickness. Leaf-cutting ants cut over 2.5 times the leaf area from E(low) relative to E(high) seedlings and had a tendency to recruit more ants to E(low) plants. Our findings suggest that leaf-cutting ants may incur costs from cutting and processing leaves with high endophyte loads, which could impact Neotropical forests by causing variable damage rates within plant communities.

  19. Combined effect of hemipteran control and liquid bait on Argentine ant populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brightwell, R J; Bambara, S B; Silverman, J

    2010-10-01

    The invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), has become a worldwide problem capable of inflicting significant ecological and economic injury on urban, agricultural, and natural environments. The mobility of this pest ant has long been noted, rapidly moving nests to new food resources and then away as resources are depleted. This ant, like many pest ant species, has a special affinity for honeydew excreted by phloem-feeding Hemiptera. We investigated the effect of various hemipteran control strategies on terrapin scale densities and measured their indirect effect on local Argentine ant densities and foraging effort. We then determined whether this indirect treatment strategy improved the performance of an ant bait. We predicted that Argentine ants would move nests away from trees treated for Hemiptera and then move nests back when a liquid bait was offered, followed by a decline in ant numbers due to intake of the toxicant. A horticultural oil spray and soil application of the systemic insecticide, imidacloprid, had no effect on terrapin scale numbers. However, trunk-injected dicrotophos caused a reduction in scale and a decline in local Argentine ant nest density and canopy foraging effort. We also recorded a reduction in local Argentine ant ground foraging when large amounts of liquid bait were applied, and we found no evidence that combining dicrotophos with liquid ant bait performed better than each treatment alone. We suggest that a strategy of combined hemipteran control plus application of liquid ant bait can reduce local Argentine ant densities, when both components of this system are highly efficacious.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Hibernation alters the diversity and composition of mucosa-associated bacteria while enhancing antimicrobial defence in the gut of 13-lined ground squirrels.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dill-McFarland, Kimberly A; Neil, Katie L; Zeng, Austin; Sprenger, Ryan J; Kurtz, Courtney C; Suen, Garret; Carey, Hannah V

    2014-09-01

    The gut microbiota plays important roles in animal nutrition and health. This relationship is particularly dynamic in hibernating mammals where fasting drives the gut community to rely on host-derived nutrients instead of exogenous substrates. We used 16S rRNA pyrosequencing and caecal tissue protein analysis to investigate the effects of hibernation on the mucosa-associated bacterial microbiota and host responses in 13-lined ground squirrels. The mucosal microbiota was less diverse in winter hibernators than in actively feeding spring and summer squirrels. UniFrac analysis revealed distinct summer and late winter microbiota clusters, while spring and early winter clusters overlapped slightly, consistent with their transitional structures. Communities in all seasons were dominated by Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, with lesser contributions from Proteobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Tenericutes and Actinobacteria. Hibernators had lower relative abundances of Firmicutes, which include genera that prefer plant polysaccharides, and higher abundances of Bacteroidetes and Verrucomicrobia, some of which can survive solely on host-derived mucins. A core mucosal assemblage of nine operational taxonomic units shared among all individuals was identified with an average total sequence abundance of 60.2%. This core community, together with moderate shifts in specific taxa, indicates that the mucosal microbiota remains relatively stable over the annual cycle yet responds to substrate changes while potentially serving as a pool for 'seeding' the microbiota once exogenous substrates return in spring. Relative to summer, hibernation reduced caecal crypt length and increased MUC2 expression in early winter and spring. Hibernation also decreased caecal TLR4 and increased TLR5 expression, suggesting a protective response that minimizes inflammation.

  4. 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

  5. Interspecific and temporal variation of ant species within Acacia drepanolobium ant domatia, a staple food of patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) in Laikipia, Kenya.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Isbell, Lynne A; Young, Truman P

    2007-12-01

    The ants that live in the swollen thorns (domatia) of Acacia drepanolobium are staple foods for patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas). To obtain a better understanding of these insects as resources for patas monkeys, we sampled the contents of 1,051 swollen thorns (ant domatia) over a 22-month period from December 1999 to September 2001, in Laikipia, Kenya. First, we confirmed that of the four species of ants that live on A. drepanolobium, Crematogaster sjostedti, the competitively dominant ant in this system, does not rear significant brood in the swollen thorns and is therefore not a major food item of patas monkeys. Second, across the other three species that do use swollen thorns for rearing their brood, C. nigriceps, C. mimosae, and Tetraponera penzigi, the number of worker ants per swollen thorn increased with increasing competitive dominance. Third, although there was considerable month-to-month variation in the number of workers, immatures, and especially alates (winged reproductives) within species, there was less variation across species because ant production was asynchronous. Variation in domatia contents was poorly related to rainfall for each of the three species. Finally, distal thorns held more alates and fewer workers than interior thorns, and branches higher off the ground held more alates and more workers than lower branches. For the numerically dominant C. mimosae, higher branches held significantly more immature ants than did lower branches. Ants are reliable food resources for patas monkeys, and are probably more reliable than many plant resources in this highly seasonal environment. We estimate that patas monkeys may get as much as a third of their daily caloric needs from these ants year-round. As ants and other insects are widely consumed by primates, we suggest that greater consideration be given to species differences in animal food choices and that further studies be conducted to examine the degree to which ants influence energy intake and

  6. 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.

  7. The invasion biology and sociogenetics of pharaoh ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schmidt, Anna Mosegaard

    of invasion biology and evolution in social insects. I have developed methods for establishing colonies of different genetic composition through controlled crossings of genetically different colonies, and established that measurable genetic as well as morphological variation exists between different...... that higher levels of genetic diversity, be this inter?or intra?individual, did not necessarily result in increased pathogen resistance in pharaoh ants. This finding is different from most previous research on the subject, and thus cautions against making general assumptions in the field. The success...... investigated the effect of genetic diversity on disease resistance in pharaoh ants by crossing colonies. I did so by creating different diversity groups, and infecting these with a generalist entomopathogenic fungus. The results showed variation between groups from different colonies, and also showed...

  8. [Ants: a chemical library of anticancer molecules].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vétillard, Angélique; Bouzid, Wafa

    2016-01-01

    Animal venoms are complex mixtures containing simple organic molecules, proteins, peptides, and other bioactive elements with extraordinary biological properties associated with their ability to act on a number of molecular receptors in the process of incapacitating their target organisms. In such a context, arthropod venoms are invaluable sources of bioactive substances, with therapeutic interest but the limited availability of some venom such as those from ants, has restricted the potential that these biomolecules could represent. We investigated for the first time transcriptomic expression from the ant species Tetramorium bicarinatum. Four hundred randomly selected clones from cDNA libraries were sequenced and a total of 374 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were generated. Based on the results of BLAST searches, these sequences were clustered and assembled into 269 contigs. About 72% (269) of these matched BLASTx hits with an interesting diversity and unusual abundance of cellular transcripts (48%) related to gene and protein expression reflecting the specialization of this tissue. In addition, transcripts encoding transposases were relatively highly expressed (14%). It may be that transposable elements are present and that their presence accounts for some of the variation in venom toxins. About twenty per cent of the ESTs were categorized as putative toxins, the major part represented by allergens (48% of the total venom toxins) such as pilosulin 5, sol i 3 and Myp p I and II. Several contigs encoding enzymes, including zinc-metalloproteases (17%) that are likely involved in the processing and activation of venom proteins/peptides, were also identified from the library. In addition, a number of sequences (8%) had no significant similarity to any known sequence which indicates a potential source of for the discovery of new toxins. In order to provide a global insight on the transcripts expressed in the venom gland of the Brazilian ant species Tetramorium

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  10. 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.

  11. Climbing, falling and jamming during ant locomotion in confined environments

    CERN Document Server

    Gravish, Nick; Goodisman, Michael A D; Goldman, Daniel I

    2013-01-01

    Locomotion emerges from effective interactions of an individual with its environment. Principles of biological terrestrial locomotion have been discovered on unconfined vertical and horizontal substrates. However a diversity of organisms construct, inhabit, and move within confined spaces. Such animals are faced with locomotor challenges including limited limb range of motion, crowding, and visual sensory deprivation. Little is known about how these organisms accomplish their locomotor tasks, and such environments challenge human-made devices. To gain greater insight into how animals move within confined spaces we study the confined locomotion of the fire ant {\\em Solenopsis invicta}, which constructs subterranean tunnel networks (nests). Laboratory experiments reveal that ants construct tunnels with diameter, D, comparable to bodylength, L=3.5 $\\pm$ 0.5 mm. Ants can move rapidly (> 9 bodylengths/sec) within these environments; their tunnels allow for effective limb, body, and antennae interaction with walls ...

  12. Evolutionarily advanced ant farmers rear polyploid fungal crops

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kooij, Pepijn Wilhelmus; Aanen, D.K.; Schiøtt, Morten

    2015-01-01

    Innovative evolutionary developments are often related to gene or genome duplications. The crop fungi of attine fungus-growing ants are suspected to have enhanced genetic variation reminiscent of polyploidy, but this has never been quantified with cytological data and genetic markers. We estimated...... the number of nuclei per fungal cell for 42 symbionts reared by 14 species of Panamanian fungus-growing ants. This showed that domesticated symbionts of higher attine ants are polykaryotic with 7-17 nuclei per cell, whereas nonspecialized crops of lower attines are dikaryotic similar to most free......-living basidiomycete fungi. We then investigated how putative higher genetic diversity is distributed across polykaryotic mycelia, using microsatellite loci and evaluating models assuming that all nuclei are either heterogeneously haploid or homogeneously polyploid. Genetic variation in the polykaryotic symbionts...

  13. Co-evolutionary patterns and diversification of ant-fungus associations in the asexual fungus-farming ant Mycocepurus smithii in Panama.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellner, K; Fernández-Marín, H; Ishak, H D; Sen, R; Linksvayer, T A; Mueller, U G

    2013-06-01

    Partner fidelity through vertical symbiont transmission is thought to be the primary mechanism stabilizing cooperation in the mutualism between fungus-farming (attine) ants and their cultivated fungal symbionts. An alternate or additional mechanism could be adaptive partner or symbiont choice mediating horizontal cultivar transmission or de novo domestication of free-living fungi. Using microsatellite genotyping for the attine ant Mycocepurus smithii and ITS rDNA sequencing for fungal cultivars, we provide the first detailed population genetic analysis of local ant-fungus associations to test for the relative importance of vertical vs. horizontal transmission in a single attine species. M. smithii is the only known asexual attine ant, and it is furthermore exceptional because it cultivates a far greater cultivar diversity than any other attine ant. Cultivar switching could permit the ants to re-acquire cultivars after garden loss, to purge inferior cultivars that are locally mal-adapted or that accumulated deleterious mutations under long-term asexuality. Compared to other attine ants, symbiont choice and local adaptation of ant-fungus combinations may play a more important role than partner-fidelity feedback in the co-evolutionary process of M. smithii and its fungal symbionts.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Human Adenine Nucleotide Translocase (ANT) Modulators Identified by High-Throughput Screening of Transgenic Yeast.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yujian; Tian, Defeng; Matsuyama, Hironori; Hamazaki, Takashi; Shiratsuchi, Takayuki; Terada, Naohiro; Hook, Derek J; Walters, Michael A; Georg, Gunda I; Hawkinson, Jon E

    2016-04-01

    Transport of ADP and ATP across mitochondria is one of the primary points of regulation to maintain cellular energy homeostasis. This process is mainly mediated by adenine nucleotide translocase (ANT) located on the mitochondrial inner membrane. There are four human ANT isoforms, each having a unique tissue-specific expression pattern and biological function, highlighting their potential as drug targets for diverse clinical indications, including male contraception and cancer. In this study, we present a novel yeast-based high-throughput screening (HTS) strategy to identify compounds inhibiting the function of ANT. Yeast strains generated by deletion of endogenous proteins with ANT activity followed by insertion of individual human ANT isoforms are sensitive to cell-permeable ANT inhibitors, which reduce proliferation. Screening hits identified in the yeast proliferation assay were characterized in ADP/ATP exchange assays employing recombinant ANT isoforms expressed in isolated yeast mitochondria and Lactococcus lactis as well as by oxygen consumption rate in mammalian cells. Using this approach, closantel and CD437 were identified as broad-spectrum ANT inhibitors, whereas leelamine was found to be a modulator of ANT function. This yeast "knock-out/knock-in" screening strategy is applicable to a broad range of essential molecular targets that are required for yeast survival. © 2016 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening.

  18. 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...

  19. Dissimilarity of Ant Communities Increases with Precipitation, but not Reduced Land-Use Intensity, in Indonesian Cacao Agroforestry

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Damayanti Buchori

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Land-use degradation and climate change are well-known drivers of biodiversity loss, but little information is available about their potential interaction. Here, we focus on the effects of land-use and precipitation on ant diversity in cacao agroforestry. In Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, we selected 16 cacao agroforestry plots with a shaded vs. unshaded plot in each of eight villages differing in precipitation (1032–2051 mm annual rainfall. On each plot, 10 cacao trees with similar size and age (7–10 years were selected for hand collection of ants on each cacao tree and the soil surface. In total, we found 80 ant species belonging to five subfamilies. Land-use intensification (removal of shade trees and precipitation had no effect on species richness of ants per cacao tree (alpha diversity and, in an additive partitioning approach, within-plot beta diversity. However, higher precipitation (but not shade significantly increased ant species dissimilarity across cacao trees within a plot, with ant species showing contrasting responses to precipitation. Reduced precipitation causing drought stress appeared to contribute to convergence of ant community structure, presumably via reduced heterogeneity in cacao tree growth. In conclusion, reduced precipitation greatly influenced ant community dissimilarity and appeared to be more important for ant community structure than land-use intensification.

  20. Ant Foraging As an Indicator of Tropical Dry Forest Restoration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hernández-Flores, J; Osorio-Beristain, M; Martínez-Garza, C

    2016-08-01

    Variation in foraging behavior may indicate differences in food availability and allow assessment of restoration actions. Ants are prominent bioindicators used in assessing ecological responses to disturbance. However, behavioral data have been poorly incorporated as an index. The foraging performance of red harvester ants was quantified in order to evaluate the success of a restoration ecology experiment in the tropical dry forest of Sierra de Huautla, Morelos, in central Mexico. Foraging performance by granivorous, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, ants was diminished after 6 and 8 years of cattle grazing and wood harvest were excluded as part of a restoration experiment in a highly degraded biome. Despite investing more time in foraging, ant colonies in exclusion plots showed lower foraging success and acquired less seed biomass than colonies in control plots. In line with the predictions of optimal foraging theory, in restored plots where ant foraging performance was poor, ants harvested a higher diversity of seeds. Reduced foraging success and increased harvest of non-preferred foods in exclusion plots were likely due to the growth of herbaceous vegetation, which impedes travel by foragers. Moreover, by 8 years of exclusion, 37% of nests in exclusion plots had disappeared compared to 0% of nests in control plots. Ants' foraging success and behavior were sensitive to changes in habitat quality due to the plant successional process triggered by a restoration intervention. This study spotlights on the utility of animal foraging behavior in the evaluation of habitat restoration programs. © The Authors 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  1. 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...

  2. Biotic and abiotic controls of argentine ant invasion success at local and landscape scales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Menke, S.B.; Fisher, R.N.; Jetz, W.; Holway, D.A.

    2007-01-01

    Although the ecological success of introduced species hinges on biotic interactions and physical conditions, few experimental studies - especially on animals - have simultaneously investigated the relative importance of both types of factors. The lack of such research may stem from the common assumption that native and introduced species exhibit similar environmental tolerances. Here we combine experimental and spatial modeling approaches (1) to determine the relative importance of biotic and abiotic controls of Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) invasion success, (2) to examine how the importance of these factors changes with spatial scale in southern California (USA), and (3) to assess how Argentine ants differ from native ants in their environmental tolerances. A factorial field experiment that combined native ant removal with irrigation revealed that Argentine ants failed to invade any dry plots (even those lacking native ants) but readily invaded all moist plots. Native ants slowed the spread of Argentine ants into irrigated plots but did not prevent invasion. In areas without Argentine ants, native ant species showed variable responses to irrigation. At the landscape scale, Argentine ant occurrence was positively correlated with minimum winter temperature (but not precipitation), whereas native ant diversity increased with precipitation and was negatively correlated with minimum winter temperature. These results are of interest for several reasons. First, they demonstrate that fine-scale differences in the physical environment can eclipse biotic resistance from native competitors in determining community susceptibility to invasion. Second, our results illustrate surprising complexities with respect to how the abiotic factors limiting invasion can change with spatial scale, and third, how native and invasive species can differ in their responses to the physical environment. Idiosyncratic and scale-dependent processes complicate attempts to forecast where

  3. Exploitative strategies of the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) and native ant species in a southern Spanish pine forest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carpintero, S; Retana, J; Cerdá, X; Reyes-López, J; Arias de Reyna, L

    2007-10-01

    The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr, 1868), is displacing native ant species in Doñana National Park (Spain). This paper discusses the results of experiments aimed at analyzing exploitation competition between the invading species and other ant species in a park community. The Argentine ant was found to implement several strategies favoring its success in exploitation competition: mass recruitment, use of various microhabitats (on the ground and in trees), and activity over a wide range of temperatures. Although these strategies were not exclusive to L. humile, their joint use, together with the large number of workers forming each "unicolony," conferred a clear advantage for resource exploitation. Some native species were more severely affected than others by the presence of L. humile in terms of both abundance and behavior. The worst affected species were those whose ecological characteristics were similar to those of the Argentine ant, e.g., Pheidole pallidula (Nylander, 1849); the species least affected was Cataglyphis floricola Tinaut, 1993, possibly because of its subordinate and thermophilous nature (little overlap of daily activity rhythms with the exotic species).

  4. Spatiotemporal resource distribution and foraging strategies of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lanan, Michele

    2014-01-01

    The distribution of food resources in space and time is likely to be an important factor governing the type of foraging strategy used by ants. However, no previous systematic attempt has been made to determine whether spatiotemporal resource distribution is in fact correlated with foraging strategy across the ants. In this analysis, I present data compiled from the literature on the foraging strategy and food resource use of 402 species of ants from across the phylogenetic tree. By categorizing the distribution of resources reported in these studies in terms of size relative to colony size, spatial distribution relative to colony foraging range, frequency of occurrence in time relative to worker life span, and depletability (i.e., whether the colony can cause a change in resource frequency), I demonstrate that different foraging strategies are indeed associated with specific spatiotemporal resource attributes. The general patterns I describe here can therefore be used as a framework to inform predictions in future studies of ant foraging behavior. No differences were found between resources collected via short-term recruitment strategies (group recruitment, short-term trails, and volatile recruitment), whereas different resource distributions were associated with solitary foraging, trunk trails, long-term trail networks, group raiding, and raiding. In many cases, ant species use a combination of different foraging strategies to collect diverse resources. It is useful to consider these foraging strategies not as separate options but as modular parts of the total foraging effort of a colony. PMID:25525497

  5. New fossil ants in French Cretaceous amber (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perrichot, Vincent; Nel, André; Néraudeau, Didier; Lacau, Sébastien; Guyot, Thierry

    2008-02-01

    Recent studies on the ant phylogeny are mainly based on the molecular analyses of extant subfamilies and do not include the extinct, only Cretaceous subfamily Sphecomyrminae. However, the latter is of major importance for ant relationships, as it is considered the most basal subfamily. Therefore, each new discovery of a Mesozoic ant is of high interest for improving our understanding of their early history and basal relationships. In this paper, a new sphecomyrmine ant, allied to the Burmese amber genus Haidomyrmex, is described from mid-Cretaceous amber of France as Haidomyrmodes mammuthus gen. and sp. n. The diagnosis of the tribe Haidomyrmecini is emended based on the new type material, which includes a gyne (alate female) and two incomplete workers. The genus Sphecomyrmodes, hitherto known by a single species from Burmese amber, is also reported and a new species described as S. occidentalis sp. n. after two workers remarkably preserved in a single piece of Early Cenomanian French amber. The new fossils provide additional information on early ant diversity and relationships and demonstrate that the monophyly of the Sphecomyrminae, as currently defined, is still weakly supported.

  6. Global path planning approach based on ant colony optimization algorithm

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WEN Zhi-qiang; CAI Zi-xing

    2006-01-01

    Ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm was modified to optimize the global path. In order to simulate the real ant colonies, according to the foraging behavior of ant colonies and the characteristic of food, conceptions of neighboring area and smell area were presented. The former can ensure the diversity of paths and the latter ensures that each ant can reach the goal. Then the whole path was divided into three parts and ACO was used to search the second part path. When the three parts pathes were adjusted,the final path was found. The valid path and invalid path were defined to ensure the path valid. Finally, the strategies of the pheromone search were applied to search the optimum path. However, when only the pheromone was used to search the optimum path, ACO converges easily. In order to avoid this premature convergence, combining pheromone search and random search, a hybrid ant colony algorithm(HACO) was used to find the optimum path. The comparison between ACO and HACO shows that HACO can be used to find the shortest path.

  7. A novel property of spider silk: chemical defence against ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Shichang; Koh, Teck Hui; Seah, Wee Khee; Lai, Yee Hing; Elgar, Mark A; Li, Daiqin

    2012-05-07

    Spider webs are made of silk, the properties of which ensure remarkable efficiency at capturing prey. However, remaining on, or near, the web exposes the resident spiders to many potential predators, such as ants. Surprisingly, ants are rarely reported foraging on the webs of orb-weaving spiders, despite the formidable capacity of ants to subdue prey and repel enemies, the diversity and abundance of orb-web spiders, and the nutritional value of the web and resident spider. We explain this paradox by reporting a novel property of the silk produced by the orb-web spider Nephila antipodiana (Walckenaer). These spiders deposit on the silk a pyrrolidine alkaloid (2-pyrrolidinone) that provides protection from ant invasion. Furthermore, the ontogenetic change in the production of 2-pyrrolidinone suggests that this compound represents an adaptive response to the threat of natural enemies, rather than a simple by-product of silk synthesis: while 2-pyrrolidinone occurs on the silk threads produced by adult and large juvenile spiders, it is absent on threads produced by small juvenile spiders, whose threads are sufficiently thin to be inaccessible to ants.

  8. Spatiotemporal resource distribution and foraging strategies of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lanan, Michele

    2014-01-01

    The distribution of food resources in space and time is likely to be an important factor governing the type of foraging strategy used by ants. However, no previous systematic attempt has been made to determine whether spatiotemporal resource distribution is in fact correlated with foraging strategy across the ants. In this analysis, I present data compiled from the literature on the foraging strategy and food resource use of 402 species of ants from across the phylogenetic tree. By categorizing the distribution of resources reported in these studies in terms of size relative to colony size, spatial distribution relative to colony foraging range, frequency of occurrence in time relative to worker life span, and depletability (i.e., whether the colony can cause a change in resource frequency), I demonstrate that different foraging strategies are indeed associated with specific spatiotemporal resource attributes. The general patterns I describe here can therefore be used as a framework to inform predictions in future studies of ant foraging behavior. No differences were found between resources collected via short-term recruitment strategies (group recruitment, short-term trails, and volatile recruitment), whereas different resource distributions were associated with solitary foraging, trunk trails, long-term trail networks, group raiding, and raiding. In many cases, ant species use a combination of different foraging strategies to collect diverse resources. It is useful to consider these foraging strategies not as separate options but as modular parts of the total foraging effort of a colony.

  9. 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....

  10. 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...

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Diversity and stability of arthropod community in peach orchard under effects of ground cover vegetation%桃园生草对桃树节肢动物群落多样性与稳定性的影响

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    蒋杰贤; 万年峰; 季香云; 淡家贵

    2011-01-01

    A comparative study was conducted on the arthropod community in peach orchards with and without ground cover vegetation. In the orchard with ground cover vegetation, the individuals of beneficial, neutral, and phytophagous arthropods were 1. 48, 1. 84 and 0. 64 times of those in the orchard without ground cover vegetation, respectively, but the total number of arthropods had no significant difference with that in the orchard without ground cover vegetation. The species richness, Shannon' s diversity, and Pielou' s evenness index of the arthropods in the orchard with ground cov-er vegetation were 83. 733±4. 932, 4. 966±0. 110, and 0. 795±0. 014, respectively, being signifi-cantly higher than those in the orchard without ground cover vegetation, whereas the Berger-Parker' s dominance index was 0. 135±0. 012, being significantly lower than that (0. 184±0. 018) in the orchard without ground cover vegetation. There were no significant differences in the stability indices S/N and Sd/Sp between the two orchards, but the Nn/Np, Nd/Np, and Sn/Sp in the orchard with ground cover vegetation were 0. 883±0. 123. 1714±0. 683, and 0. 781 ±0. 040, respectively, being significantly higher than those in the orchard without ground cover vegetation. Pearson' s cor-relation analysis indicated that in the orchard with ground cover vegetation, the Shannon' s diversity index was significantly negatively correlated with Nd/Np, Sd/Sp, and S/N but had no significant correlations with Nn/Np and Sn/Sp, whereas in the orchard without ground cover vegetation, the di-versity index was significantly positively correlated with Nn/Np and Nd/Np and had no significant correlations with Sd/Sp ,Sn/Sp, and S/N.%对种植白三叶草的桃园(生草桃园)和非生草桃园的桃树节肢动物群落进行分析比较.结果表明:生草桃园桃树天敌、中性类群和植食类群数量分别是非生草桃园的1.48、1.84和0.64倍,而节肢动物群落个体总数无显著差异;与非

  14. Effects of dam-induced landscape fragmentation on amazonian ant-plant mutualistic networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emer, Carine; Venticinque, Eduardo Martins; Fonseca, Carlos Roberto

    2013-08-01

    Mutualistic networks are critical to biological diversity maintenance; however, their structures and functionality may be threatened by a swiftly changing world. In the Amazon, the increasing number of dams poses a large threat to biological diversity because they greatly alter and fragment the surrounding landscape. Tight coevolutionary interactions typical of tropical forests, such as the ant-myrmecophyte mutualism, where the myrmecophyte plants provide domatia nesting space to their symbiotic ants, may be jeopardized by the landscape changes caused by dams. We analyzed 31 ant-myrmecophyte mutualistic networks in undisturbed and disturbed sites surrounding Balbina, the largest Central Amazonian dam. We tested how ant-myrmecophyte networks differ among dam-induced islands, lake edges, and undisturbed forests in terms of species richness, composition, structure, and robustness (number of species remaining in the network after partner extinctions). We also tested how landscape configuration in terms of area, isolation, shape, and neighborhood alters the structure of the ant-myrmecophyte networks on islands. Ant-myrmecophytic networks were highly compartmentalized in undisturbed forests, and the compartments had few strongly connected mutualistic partners. In contrast, networks at lake edges and on islands were not compartmentalized and were negatively affected by island area and isolation in terms of species richness, density, and composition. Habitat loss and fragmentation led to coextinction cascades that contributed to the elimination of entire ant-plant compartments. Furthermore, many myrmecophytic plants in disturbed sites lost their mutualistic ant partners or were colonized by opportunistic, nonspecialized ants. Robustness of ant-myrmecophyte networks on islands was lower than robustness near lake edges and in undisturbed forest and was particularly susceptible to the extinction of plants. Beyond the immediate habitat loss caused by the building of large dams

  15. Food preference and foraging activity of ants: recommendations for field applications of low-toxicity baits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nyamukondiwa, Casper; Addison, Pia

    2014-04-10

    Control of ants using baits of low toxicity cannot be effective without knowledge of bait distribution patterns and bait station densities, which are determined by ants' foraging activities. Furthermore, the success of toxic baits also depends upon attractiveness of bait carriers. Here, we assessed ground and vine foraging activity and food preferences for the three ant species ( Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), Anoplolepis custodiens (F. Smith) and Crematogaster peringueyi Emery) under field conditions. We found that L. humile's vineyard foraging activity was high and that movement of ant bait by C. peringueyi and A. custodiens in the vineyard was relatively low. Consequently, more bait stations need to be dispensed for more effective control of C. peringueyi and A. custodiens than for L. humile. Different bait densities are discussed for the various ant species. Food preference trials indicated that vineyard foraging ants preferred wet bait attractants over dry ones, making liquids the most ideal carriers for baiting these ants. Linepithema humile was attracted to 25% sugar water, while C. peringueyi was attracted to both 25% sugar water and honey. Anoplolepis custodiens was attracted to tuna but was also attracted to 25% sugar water. Thus, future bait formulations should be tailor made to suit these specific food requirements if baits are to be successful in ant pest management. This is an open access paper. We use the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license that permits unrestricted use, provided that the paper is properly attributed.

  16. 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.

  17. A checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Peru.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bezděčková, Klára; Bezděčka, Pavel; Machar, Ivo

    2015-09-21

    The article presents a comprehensive list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Peru. Distribution data for 592 valid names of species-group taxa in 76 genera and 12 subfamilies were collected through a bibliographical review. The most diverse subfamilies in terms of species richness are Myrmicinae (273 species/subspecies), Formicinae (86 species/subspecies) and Ponerinae (71 species/subspecies). The most diverse genera are Pheidole (86 species/subspecies), Camponotus (73 species/subspecies), and Pseudomyrmex (47 species/subspecies). With respect to geographic divisions, richness is highest in Madre de Dios (245 species/subspecies), followed by Huanuco (109 species/subspecies) and Cusco (104 species/subspecies). Regions in greatest need of additional survey work are Aycucho, Huancavelica, Moquegua and Tacna, from which virtually no information on the ant fauna is available.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  19. Effects of urban development on ant communities: implications for ecosystem services and management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanford, Monte P; Manley, Patricia N; Murphy, Dennis D

    2009-02-01

    Research that connects the effects of urbanization on biodiversity and ecosystem services is lacking. Ants perform multifarious ecological functions that stabilize ecosystems and contribute to a number of ecosystem services. We studied responses of ant communities to urbanization in the Lake Tahoe basin by sampling sites along a gradient of urban land development. We sampled ant communities, measured vegetation characteristics, quantified human activities, and evaluated ant-community responses by grouping ants into service-providing units (SPUs), defined as a group of organisms and their populations that perform specific ecosystem services, to provide an understanding of urbanization impacts on biodiversity and their delivery of ecosystem services. Species richness and abundance peaked at intermediate levels of urban development, as did the richness of 3 types of ant SPUs (aerators, decomposers, and compilers). With increasing land development aerator and decomposer ants significantly declined in abundance, whereas compiler ants significantly increased in abundance. Competing models demonstrated that precipitation was frequently among the strongest influences on ant community structure; however, urban development and human activities also had a strong, negative influence on ants, appearing in most models with DeltaAIC(c) < 2 for species richness and abundance patterns of SPUs and generalists. Response diversity was observed within SPUs, which suggests that the corresponding ecosystem services were maintained until development reached 30-40%. Our data provide evidence that ecosystem functions, such as water infiltration and soil productivity, may be diminished at sites subject to greater levels of urbanization and that conserving ant communities and the ecosystem services they provide could be an important target in land-use planning and conservation efforts.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  1. Community analysis of microbial sharing and specialization in a Costa Rican ant-plant-hemipteran symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pringle, Elizabeth G; Moreau, Corrie S

    2017-03-15

    Ants have long been renowned for their intimate mutualisms with trophobionts and plants and more recently appreciated for their widespread and diverse interactions with microbes. An open question in symbiosis research is the extent to which environmental influence, including the exchange of microbes between interacting macroorganisms, affects the composition and function of symbiotic microbial communities. Here we approached this question by investigating symbiosis within symbiosis. Ant-plant-hemipteran symbioses are hallmarks of tropical ecosystems that produce persistent close contact among the macroorganism partners, which then have substantial opportunity to exchange symbiotic microbes. We used metabarcoding and quantitative PCR to examine community structure of both bacteria and fungi in a Neotropical ant-plant-scale-insect symbiosis. Both phloem-feeding scale insects and honeydew-feeding ants make use of microbial symbionts to subsist on phloem-derived diets of suboptimal nutritional quality. Among the insects examined here, Cephalotes ants and pseudococcid scale insects had the most specialized bacterial symbionts, whereas Azteca ants appeared to consume or associate with more fungi than bacteria, and coccid scale insects were associated with unusually diverse bacterial communities. Despite these differences, we also identified apparent sharing of microbes among the macro-partners. How microbial exchanges affect the consumer-resource interactions that shape the evolution of ant-plant-hemipteran symbioses is an exciting question that awaits further research. © 2017 The Author(s).

  2. Variation in spatial scale of competing polydomous twig-nesting ants in coffee agroecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mathis, Kaitlyn A; Philpott, Stacy M; Ramirez, Santiago R

    2016-08-01

    Arboreal ants are both highly diverse and ecologically dominant in the tropics. This ecologically important group is particularly useful in ongoing efforts to understand processes that regulate species diversity and coexistence. Our study addresses how polydomy can influence patterns of nest occupation in competing arboreal ants. We examined the spatial structure of nest occupation (nest distance, abundance and density) in three polydomous co-occurring twig-nesting ant species (Pseudomyrmex simplex, P. ejectus and P. PSW-53) by mapping twigs occupied by ants from each species within plots in our study site. We then used two colony structure estimators (intraspecific aggression and cuticular hydrocarbon variation) to determine the relative degree of polydomy for each species. All work was conducted in coffee agroforests in Chiapas, Mexico. Our results revealed that the two species with highest abundance and nest density were also highly polydomous, where both species had either single or multiple non-aggressive colonies occupying nests on a large spatial scale (greater than the hectare level). Our results also indicate that the species with the lowest abundance and density is less polydomous, occupying several overlapping and territorial colonies at the hectare level in which multiple colonies never co-occur on the same host plant. These results contribute evidence that successful coexistence and highly polydomous colony structure may allow ants, through reduced intraspecific aggression, to successfully occupy more nests more densely than ant species that have multiple territorial colonies. Furthermore our study highlights the importance of considering intraspecific interactions when examining community assembly of ants.

  3. Poneromorph Ants Associated with Parasitoid Wasps of the Genus Kapala Cameron (Hymenoptera: Eucharitidae in French Guiana

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jean-Paul Lachaud

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Eucharitid wasps are specific, specialized parasitoids of ants. The genus Kapala Cameron is the most common in the Neotropics but few species are described, and information dealing with their biology, behavior and host associations is scarce. Numerous poneromorph ant colonies were inspected over 4 collection surveys in French Guiana. A diverse fauna of parasites and parasitoids was found, including mermithid nematodes, flies, eucharitids, and another gregarious endoparasitoid wasp. Five new host associations for Kapala are reported, all of them involving medium- to large-size poneromorph ant species from 4 genera: Ectatomma brunneum Fr. Smith, Gnamptogenys tortuolosa (Fr. Smith, Odontomachus haematodus (L., O. mayi Mann, and Pachycondyla verenae (Forel. Three other associations involving O. hastatus (Fabr., P. apicalis (Latreille, and P. stigma (Fabr., already reported for other countries but new for French Guiana, are confirmed. The data extend the number of hosts for Kapala to 24 ant species from 7 genera. The high diversity of the ant host genera associated with Kapala, combined with the fact that these ant genera are the most widely distributed among Neotropical poneromorph ants, could account for the dominant status of the genus Kapala among the eucharitine wasps of Central and South America.

  4. The Fynbos and sUcculent Karoo biomes do not have exceptional local ant richness.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braschler, Brigitte; Chown, Steven L; Gaston, Kevin J

    2012-01-01

    The Fynbos (FB) and Succulent Karoo biomes (SKB) have high regional plant diversity despite relatively low productivity. Local diversity in the region varies but is moderate. For insects, previous work suggests that strict phytophages, but not other taxa, may have high regional richness. However, what has yet to be investigated is whether the local insect species richness of FB and SKB is unusual for a region of this productivity level at this latitude, and whether regional richness is also high. Here we determine whether this is the case for ants. We use species richness data from pitfall traps in the FB and SKB in the Western Cape Province, South Africa and a global dataset of local ant richness extracted from the literature. We then relate the globally derived values of local richness to two energy-related predictors--productive energy (NDVI) and temperature, and to precipitation, and compare the data from the FB and SKB with these relationships. We further compare our local richness estimates with that of similar habitats worldwide, and regional ant richness with estimates derived from other regions. The local ant species richness of the FB and SKB falls within the general global pattern relating ant richness to energy, and is similar to that in comparable habitats elsewhere. At a regional scale, the richness of ants across all of our sites is not exceptional by comparison with other regional estimates from across the globe. Local richness of ants in the FB and SKB is not exceptional by global standards. Initial analyses suggest that regional diversity is also not exceptional for the group. It seems unlikely that the mechanisms which have contributed to the development of extraordinarily high regional plant diversity in these biomes have had a strong influence on the ants.

  5. orco Mutagenesis Causes Loss of Antennal Lobe Glomeruli and Impaired Social Behavior in Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trible, Waring; Olivos-Cisneros, Leonora; McKenzie, Sean K; Saragosti, Jonathan; Chang, Ni-Chen; Matthews, Benjamin J; Oxley, Peter R; Kronauer, Daniel J C

    2017-08-10

    Life inside ant colonies is orchestrated with diverse pheromones, but it is not clear how ants perceive these social signals. It has been proposed that pheromone perception in ants evolved via expansions in the numbers of odorant receptors (ORs) and antennal lobe glomeruli. Here, we generate the first mutant lines in the clonal raider ant, Ooceraea biroi, by disrupting orco, a gene required for the function of all ORs. We find that orco mutants exhibit severe deficiencies in social behavior and fitness, suggesting they are unable to perceive pheromones. Surprisingly, unlike in Drosophila melanogaster, orco mutant ants also lack most of the ∼500 antennal lobe glomeruli found in wild-type ants. These results illustrate that ORs are essential for ant social organization and raise the possibility that, similar to mammals, receptor function is required for the development and/or maintenance of the highly complex olfactory processing areas in the ant brain. VIDEO ABSTRACT. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. 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).

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  8. Ant community composition across a gradient of disturbed military landscapes at Fort Benning, Georgia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, J.H.; Krzysik, A.J.; Kovacic, D.A.; Duda, J.J.; Freeman, D.C.; Emlen, J.M.; Zak, J.C.; Long, W.R.; Wallace, M.P.; Chamberlin-Graham, C.; Nutter, J.P.; Balbach, H.E.

    2008-01-01

    Military training, soil texture, and ground cover influence ant communities at Fort Benning, a military installation in west-central Georgia. We sampled 81,237 ground-dwelling ants (47 species in 20 genera) with pitfall traps at 40 sites on a continuum from nearly pristine forest to highly disturbed training areas. We also measured 15 environmental variables related to vegetation and soil. Sites disturbed by military training had fewer trees, less canopy cover, more bare ground, and more compact soils with shallower A-horizons than comparable undisturbed sites. Pheidole bicarinata, Dorymyrmex smithi, and Pogonomyrmex badius dominated the most highly disturbed sites. Competitively submissive myrmicines, such as Aphaenogaster and Crematogaster, and formicines, such as Camponotus and Formica, were abundant in the undisturbed sites. Solenopsis invicta occurred in all but the least disturbed sites. Ant community composition was a useful indicator of disturbance at Fort Benning.

  9. Imidacloprid seed treatments affect individual ant behavior and community structure but not egg predation, pest abundance or soybean yield.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Penn, Hannah J; Dale, Andrew M

    2017-08-01

    Neonicotinoid seed treatments are under scrutiny because of their variable efficacy against crop pests and for their potential negative impacts on non-target organisms. Ants provide important biocontrol services in agroecosystems and can be indicators of ecosystem health. This study tested for effects of exposure to imidacloprid plus fungicide or fungicide-treated seeds on individual ant survival, locomotion and foraging capabilities and on field ant community structure, pest abundance, ant predation and yield. Cohorts of ants exposed to either type of treated seed had impaired locomotion and a higher incidence of morbidity and mortality but no loss of foraging capacity. In the field, we saw no difference in ant species richness, regardless of seed treatment. Blocks with imidacloprid did have higher species evenness and diversity, probably owing to variable effects of the insecticide on different ant species, particularly Tetramorium caespitum. Ant predation on sentinel eggs, pest abundance and soybean growth and yield were similar in the two treatments. Both seed treatments had lethal and sublethal effects on ant individuals, and the influence of imidacloprid seed coating in the field was manifested in altered ant community composition. Those effects, however, were not strong enough to affect egg predation, pest abundance or soybean yield in field blocks. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.

  10. Patterns of diversity and abundance of fungus-growing ants (Formicidae: Attini in areas of the Brazilian Cerrado Padrões de diversidade e abundância de formigas cultivadoras de fungo (Formicidade: Attini em áreas do Cerrado Brasileiro

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Heraldo L. Vasconcelos

    2008-09-01

    Full Text Available Fungus-growing ants (tribe Attini are characteristic elements of the New World fauna. However, there is little information on the patterns of diversity, abundance, and distribution of attine species in their native ecosystems, especially for the so-called "lower" genera of the tribe. A survey of attine ant nests (excluding Atta Fabricus, 1804 and Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865 was conducted in a variety of savanna and forest habitats of the Cerrado biome near Uberlândia, Brazil. In total, 314 nests from 21 species of nine genera were found. Trachymyrmex Forel, 1893 was the most diverse genus with 10 species. Eighteen species were found in the savannas, including Mycetagroicus cerradensis Brandão & Mayhé-Nunes, 2001, a species from a recently-described genus of Attini, whereas in the forests only 12 species were found. Forest and savannas support relatively distinct faunas, each with a number of unique species; the species present in the forest habitats did not represent a nested subset of the species found in the savannas. Furthermore, although many species were common to both types of vegetation, their abundances were quite different. The density of attine nests is relatively high at some sites, exceeding an estimated 4,000 nests per hectare. In this sense, attine ants can be regarded as prevalent invertebrate taxa in the Brazilian Cerrado.As formigas cultivadoras de fungos (tribo Attini são exclusivas da fauna do Novo Mundo. Entretanto, existem poucas informações sobre os padrões de diversidade, abundância e distribuição das espécies de Attini em seus ecossistemas nativos, em especial para os gêneros menos derivados desta tribo. Um levantamento de ninhos de Attini (excluindo Atta Fabricius, 1804 e Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865 foi realizado em diversos ambientes savânicos e de floresta do bioma Cerrado próximos à Uberlândia, Brasil. Encontramos 314 ninhos de 21 espécies pertencentes a nove gêneros da tribo. Trachymyrmex Forel, 1893 foi o g

  11. Land cover diversity increases predator aggregation and consumption of prey.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Penn, Hannah J; Athey, Kacie J; Lee, Brian D

    2017-05-01

    A lower diversity of land cover types is purported to decrease arthropod diversity in agroecosystems and is dependent on patterns of land use and fragmentation. Ants, important providers of ecosystem services such as biological control, are susceptible to landscape-level changes. We determined the relationships between land cover diversity and fragmentation on the within-field spatial associations of ants to pests and resulting predation events by combining mapping and molecular tools. Increased land cover diversity and decreased fragmentation increased ant abundance, spatial association to pests and predation. Land cover diversity and fragmentation were more explanatory than land cover types. Even so, specific land cover types, such as deciduous forest, influenced ant and pest diversity more so than abundance. These results indicate that geospatial techniques and molecular gut content analysis can be combined to determine the role of land use in influencing predator-prey interactions and resulting predation events in agroecosystems. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  12. 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....

  13. 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.

  14. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) associated with pig carcasses in Malaysia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heo, C C; Mohamad, A R; Rosli, H; Nurul Ashikin, A; Chen, C D; John, J; Hiromu, K; Baharudin, O

    2009-04-01

    An observational study was conducted in an oil palm plantation in Tanjung Sepat, Selangor, Malaysia on August until September 2007 to note the decomposition process of pigs and their related faunal succession. We collected six species of ants (Formicidae) from 3 subfamilies: Formicinae (Oecophylla smaragdina and Anoplolepis gracilipes), Myrmicinae (Tetramorium sp. and Pheidologeton sp.) and Ponerinae (Odontoponera sp. and Diacamma sp.) that were associated with pig carcasses placed on the ground. Oecophylla smaragdina, Pheidologeton sp. and Tetramorium sp. were found on a partially burnt pig carcass whereas the other species were recovered from unburned pig carcass. These ants predated on fly eggs, larvae, pupae and adults. Ants could be found at all stages of decomposition starting from fresh until dry stage. Predatory ants can reduce fly population and thus may affect the rate of carcass decomposition but this was not seen in our study. Even though O. smaragdina was seen at all stages of decomposition of the burnt pig, this did not alter much the decomposition process by fly larvae.

  15. On the wettability diversity of C/SiC surface: Comparison of the ground C/SiC surface and ablated C/SiC surface from three aspects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, M. L.; Ren, C. Z.; Xu, H. Z.

    2016-11-01

    The coefficient of thermal conductivity was influenced by the wetting state of material. The wetting state usually depends on the surface wettability. C/SiC is a promising ceramic composites with multi-components. The wettability of C/SiC composites is hard to resort to the classical wetting theory directly. So far, few investigations focused on C/SiC surface wettability diversity after different material removal processes. In this investigation, comparative studies of surface wettability of ground C/SiC surface and laser-ablated C/SiC surface were carried out through apparent contact angle (APCA) measurements. The results showed that water droplets easily reached stable state on ground C/SiC surface; while the water droplets rappidly penetrated into the laser-ablated C/SiC surface. In order to find out the reason for wettability distinctions between the ground C/SiC surface and the laser-ablated C/SiC surface, comparative studies on the surface micro-structure, surface C-O-Si distribution, and surface C-O-Si weight percentage were carried out. The results showed that (1) A large number of micro cracks in the fuzzy pattern layer over laser-ablated C/SiC surfaces easily destoried the surface tension of water droplets, while only a few cracks existed over the ground C/SiC surfaces. (2) Chemical components (C, O, Si) were non-uniformly distributed on ground C/SiC surfaces, while the chemical components (C, O, Si) were uniformly distributed on laser-ablated C/SiC surfaces. (3) The carbon weight percentage on ground C/SiC surfaces were higher than that on laser-ablated C/SiC surfaces. All these made an essential contribution to the surface wettability diversity of C/SiC surface. Although more investigations about the quantitative influence of surface topography and surface chemical composition on composites wettability are still needed, the conslusion can be used in application: the wettability of C/SiC surface can be controlled by different material removal process

  16. Dynamics and kinematics of ant locomotion: do wood ants climb on level surfaces?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reinhardt, Lars; Weihmann, Tom; Blickhan, Reinhard

    2009-08-01

    The biomechanics of running in small animals have remained poorly characterized because of the difficulty of recording three-dimensional ground reaction forces. Available techniques limit investigations to animals with a body mass above 1 g. Here we present, for the first time, single-leg ground reaction forces of ants (body mass 10 mg), measured with a custom-built miniature force plate. We investigated forces and high-speed kinematics for straight level runs (average speed: 8.4 cm s(-1)) of Formica polyctena workers. The major finding was that the time course of ground reaction forces strongly differed from previous observations of larger insects. Maximum vertical force was reached during the first third of the tripod contact phase. During this period the body was decelerated predominantly by the front legs. Subsequently, the front legs pulled and accelerated the body. This 'climbing' type of stride may be useful on the bumpy and unstable substrates that the animals face in their natural habitats, and may therefore also occur on level ground. Propulsive forces were generated predominantly by the front and hind legs. Dragging of the gaster on the substrate resulted in a breaking momentum, which was compensated by the legs. Future investigations will reveal, whether the identified pattern is due to specialization.

  17. 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.

  18. Floral visitation by the Argentine ant reduces bee visitation and plant seed set.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hanna, Cause; Naughton, Ida; Boser, Christina; Alarcón, Ruben; Hung, Keng-Lou James; Holway, David

    2015-01-01

    Ants often visit flowers, but have only seldom been documented to provide effective pollination services. Floral visitation by ants can also compromise plant reproduction in situations where ants interfere with more effective pollinators. Introduced ants may be especially likely to reduce plant reproductive success through floral visitation, but existing experimental studies have found little support for this hypothesis. Here, we combine experimental and observational approaches to examine the importance of floral visitation by the nonnative Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) on plant species native to Santa Cruz Island, California, USA. First, we determine how L. humile affects floral visitor diversity, bee visitation rates, and levels of pollen limitation for the common, focal plant species island morning glory (Calystegia macrostegia ssp. macrostegia). Second, we assess the broader ecological consequences of floral visitation by L. humile by comparing floral visitation networks between invaded and uninvaded sites. The Argentine ant and native ants both visited island morning glory flowers, but L. humile was much more likely to behave aggressively towards other floral visitors and to be the sole floral occupant. The presence of L. humile in morning glory flowers reduced floral visitor diversity, decreased rates of bee visitation, and increased levels of pollen limitation. Network comparisons between invaded and uninvaded. sites revealed differences in both network structure and species-level attributes. In. invaded sites, floral visitors were observed on fewer plant species, ants had a higher per-plant interaction strength relative to that of other visitors, and interaction strengths between bees and plants were weaker. These results illustrate that introduced ants can negatively affect plant reproduction and potentially disrupt pollination services at an ecosystem scale.

  19. Habitat and species identity, not diversity, predict the extent of refuse consumption by urban arthropods.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Youngsteadt, Elsa; Henderson, Ryanna C; Savage, Amy M; Ernst, Andrew F; Dunn, Robert R; Frank, Steven D

    2015-03-01

    Urban green spaces provide ecosystem services to city residents, but their management is hindered by a poor understanding of their ecology. We examined a novel ecosystem service relevant to urban public health and esthetics: the consumption of littered food waste by arthropods. Theory and data from natural systems suggest that the magnitude and resilience of this service should increase with biological diversity. We measured food removal by presenting known quantities of cookies, potato chips, and hot dogs in street medians (24 sites) and parks (21 sites) in New York City, USA. At the same sites, we assessed ground-arthropod diversity and abiotic conditions, including history of flooding during Hurricane Sandy 7 months prior to the study. Arthropod diversity was greater in parks (on average 11 hexapod families and 4.7 ant species per site), than in medians (nine hexapod families and 2.7 ant species per site). However, counter to our diversity-based prediction, arthropods in medians removed 2-3 times more food per day than did those in parks. We detected no effect of flooding (at 19 sites) on this service. Instead, greater food removal was associated with the presence of the introduced pavement ant (Tetramorium sp. E) and with hotter, drier conditions that may have increased arthropod metabolism. When vertebrates also had access to food, more was removed, indicating that arthropods and vertebrates compete for littered food. We estimate that arthropods alone could remove 4-6.5 kg of food per year in a single street median, reducing its availability to less desirable fauna such as rats. Our results suggest that species identity and habitat may be more relevant than diversity for predicting urban ecosystem services. Even small green spaces such as street medians provide ecosystem services that may complement those of larger habitat patches across the urban landscape.

  20. 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.

  1. Mitochondrial genome evolution in fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gotzek, Dietrich; Clarke, Jessica; Shoemaker, DeWayne

    2010-10-07

    Complete mitochondrial genome sequences have become important tools for the study of genome architecture, phylogeny, and molecular evolution. Despite the rapid increase in available mitogenomes, the taxonomic sampling often poorly reflects phylogenetic diversity and is often also biased to represent deeper (family-level) evolutionary relationships. We present the first fully sequenced ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) mitochondrial genomes. We sampled four mitogenomes from three species of fire ants, genus Solenopsis, which represent various evolutionary depths. Overall, ant mitogenomes appear to be typical of hymenopteran mitogenomes, displaying a general A+T-bias. The Solenopsis mitogenomes are slightly more compact than other hymentoperan mitogenomes (~15.5 kb), retaining all protein coding genes, ribosomal, and transfer RNAs. We also present evidence of recombination between the mitogenomes of the two conspecific Solenopsis mitogenomes. Finally, we discuss potential ways to improve the estimation of phylogenies using complete mitochondrial genome sequences. The ant mitogenome presents an important addition to the continued efforts in studying hymenopteran mitogenome architecture, evolution, and phylogenetics. We provide further evidence that the sampling across many taxonomic levels (including conspecifics and congeners) is useful and important to gain detailed insights into mitogenome evolution. We also discuss ways that may help improve the use of mitogenomes in phylogenetic analyses by accounting for non-stationary and non-homogeneous evolution among branches.

  2. Caste development and evolution in ants: it's all about size.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trible, Waring; Kronauer, Daniel J C

    2017-01-01

    Female ants display a wide variety of morphological castes, including workers, soldiers, ergatoid (worker-like) queens and queens. Alternative caste development within a species arises from a variable array of genetic and environmental factors. Castes themselves are also variable across species and have been repeatedly gained and lost throughout the evolutionary history of ants. Here, we propose a simple theory of caste development and evolution. We propose that female morphology varies as a function of size, such that larger individuals possess more queen-like traits. Thus, the diverse mechanisms that influence caste development are simply mechanisms that affect size in ants. Each caste-associated trait has a unique relationship with size, producing a phenotypic space that permits some combinations of worker- and queen-like traits, but not others. We propose that castes are gained and lost by modifying the regions of this phenotypic space that are realized within a species. These modifications can result from changing the size-frequency distribution of individuals within a species, or by changing the association of tissue growth and size. We hope this synthesis will help unify the literature on caste in ants, and facilitate the discovery of molecular mechanisms underlying caste development and evolution. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  3. The effect of fertilization on the below-ground diversity and community composition of ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wright, Shannon H A; Berch, Shannon M; Berbee, Mary L

    2009-04-01

    Fertilization typically reduces ectomycorrhizal diversity shortly after its application but less is known about its longer-term influence on fungal species. Long-term effects are important in forests where fertilizer is rarely applied. We compared fungal species composition in western hemlock control plots with plots last fertilized 7 years ago with nitrogen (N) or nitrogen plus phosphorus (N + P). The N + P fertilization had a significant lingering effect, increasing the tree size and foliar P content of the western hemlocks. From ectomycorrhizal roots of 24-year-old trees from northern Vancouver Island, Canada, we identified fungi from 12 samples per treatment, by amplifying, cloning, and sequencing fungal ribosomal DNA fragments, placing sequences with 97% or more identity in the same operational taxonomic unit (OTU). Diversity was high across treatments; we detected 77 fungal OTUs, 52 from ectomycorrhizal genera, among 922 clone sequences. The five most frequent OTUs were similar in abundance across treatments. Only 19 OTUs matched any of the 197 previously reported ectomycorrhizal species of western hemlock. Species composition but not diversity in nitrogen plus phosphorus plots differed significantly from control or nitrogen plots. Two Cortinarius OTUs were indicator species for nitrogen plus phosphorus plots and presence of Cortinarius cinnamomeus was correlated with control or nitrogen plots. After 7 years, fertilization history had made no detectable difference in ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity, but long-lasting changes in environment resulting from fertilization had a lingering effect on fungal ectomycorrhizal species composition.

  4. Non-specific association between filamentous bacteria and fungus-growing ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kost, Christian; Lakatos, Tanja; Böttcher, Ingo; Arendholz, Wolf-Rüdiger; Redenbach, Matthias; Wirth, Rainer

    2007-10-01

    Fungus-growing ants and their fungal cultivar form a highly evolved mutualism that is negatively affected by the specialized parasitic fungus Escovopsis. Filamentous Pseudonocardia bacteria occurring on the cuticle of attine ants have been proposed to form a mutualistic interaction with these ants in which they are vertically transmitted (i.e. from parent to offspring colonies). Given a strictly vertical transmission of Pseudonocardia, the evolutionary theory predicts a reduced genetic variability of symbionts among ant lineages. The aim of this study was to verify whether actinomycetes, which occur on Acromyrmex octospinosus leaf-cutting ants, meet this expectation by comparing their genotypic variability with restriction fragment length polymorphisms. Multiple actinomycete strains could be isolated from both individual ant workers and colonies (one to seven strains per colony). The colony specificity of actinomycete communities was high: Only 15% of all strains were isolated from more than one colony, and just 5% were present in both populations investigated. Partial sequencing of 16S ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid of two of the isolated strains assigned both of them to the genus Streptomyces. Actinomycetes could also be isolated from workers of the two non-attine ant species Myrmica rugulosa and Lasius flavus. Sixty-two percent of the strains derived from attine ants and 80% of the strains isolated from non-attine ants inhibited the growth of Escovopsis. Our data suggest that the association between attine ants and their actinomycete symbionts is less specific then previously thought. Soil-dwelling actinomycetes may have been dynamically recruited from the environment (horizontal transmission), probably reflecting an adaptation to a diverse community of microbial pathogens.

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. 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…

  8. 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...

  9. 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).

  10. Invention and modification of a new tool use behavior: ant-fishing in trees by a wild chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) at Bossou, Guinea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamamoto, Shinya; Yamakoshi, Gen; Humle, Tatyana; Matsuzawa, Tetsuro

    2008-07-01

    Wild chimpanzees are known to have a different repertoire of tool use unique to each community. For example, "ant-dipping" is a tool use behavior known in several chimpanzee communities across Africa targeted at driver ants (Dorylus spp.) on the ground, whereas "ant-fishing," which is aimed at carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.) in trees, has primarily been observed among the chimpanzees of Mahale in Tanzania. Although the evidence for differences between field sites is accumulating, we have little knowledge on how these tool use behaviors appear at each site and on how these are modified over time. This study reports two"ant-fishing" sessions which occurred 2 years apart by a young male chimpanzee at Bossou, Guinea. Ant-fishing had never been observed before in this community over the past 27 years. During the first session, at the age of 5, he employed wands of similar length when ant-fishing in trees to those used for ant-dipping on the ground, which is a customary tool use behavior of this community. Two years later, at the age of 7, his tools for ant-fishing were shorter and more suitable for capturing carpenter ants. This observation is a rare example of innovation in the wild and does provide insights into problem-solving and learning processes in chimpanzees.

  11. 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...

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. 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....

  18. 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....

  19. Senescent stem-galls in trees of Eremanthus erythropappus as a resource for arboreal ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria Fernanda B. de Almeida

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Senescent stem-galls in trees of Eremanthus erythropappus as a resource for arboreal ants. Members of the dipteran families Tephritidae and Cecidomyiidae are inducers of stem-galls in Eremanthus erythropappus (DC. MacLeish (Asteraceae, a tree common in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. When senescent, these galls become available to other organisms, such as ants. The present study describes a community of ants having benefitted from this process of ecosystem-engineering. The colonies in question inhabit the senescent stem-galls of trees of E. erythropappus and were examined in view of answering the following questions: i whether the presence of stem-galls had any bearing on the richness, composition, or size of the ant colonies therein; and ii whether the ants displayed any preferences regarding the shape and/or size of the galls. The study was conducted in populations of E. erythropappus trees near the city of Ouro Preto, MG. A total of 227 galls were collected, 14% of which were occupied by ants, belonging to eight different species. Half of the species occupied galls of both morphotypes (fusiform and globular, although we observed a marked preference for larger, globular shapes. Overall, our results showed the galls to be an effective and abundant resource, helping to maintain the diversity of the ants in the canopy. We also observed the occurrence of outstations and polydomic nests, although an in-depth examination of the influence of galls on this type of structuring has not been investigated.

  20. 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.

  1. Sugar and amino acid preference in the black garden ant Lasius niger (L.).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Madsen, Natalia E L; Sørensen, Peter B; Offenberg, Joachim

    2017-07-01

    The mutualistic relationship that the garden ant Lasius niger (L.) establishes with trophobiotic homopterans makes this ant an unwelcome host in commercial crops, as ants improve the survival of homopteran pests from which they collect honeydew as a source of carbohydrates. Because the offering of alternative sugar sources can be used to disrupt this relationship, the present study explored L. niger's preference towards sugar and amino acid components that may be used in sugar solutions to increase their attractiveness. We tested the ant's preference between basic sugars (mono- and disaccharides) used as main ingredients and attractants (trisaccharides and amino acid (AA) sources) added to basic sugar in small amounts. Results showed that ants preferred disaccharides over monosaccharides, and that trisaccharides increased the attractiveness of sucrose solutions, albeit not when a protein source was added to the mix. In the case of AA sources, ants preferred components with a more diverse composition. In conclusion, trisaccharides and AA sources can be used to increase the attractiveness of sugar solutions, leading to the development of solutions that when supplied in artificial feeders can out-compete honeydew and disrupt harmful ant-homopteran mutualisms in agriculture. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. 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.

  3. Differential effects of land use on ant and herbivore insect communities associated with Caryocar brasiliense (Caryocaraceae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Frederico S. Neves

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Simplification of natural habitats leads to a modification of the community associated with a host plant. Pequi trees (Caryocar brasiliense are common to find in central Brazil, especially in the middle of monocultures, such as soy, corn, pasturelands or Eucalyptus plantations. On this scenario we hypothesized that habitat modification differentially affects the diversity of ants and herbivore insects associated with this species. The aim of the work was to test if C. brasiliense trees located in human modified habitats, support a lower species richness and abundance of ants, and a greater species richness and abundance of insect herbivores, compared to preserved cerrado habitats. The study was conducted in a Cerrado area located in Northern Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Ants and herbivore insects were collected monthly during 2005 using beating technique. The results showed that ant species richness was higher in pequi trees located in preserved Cerrado, followed by trees in pastureland and Eucalyptus plantation, respectively. The ant abundance was lower in the Eucalyptus plantation but no difference in ant abundance was observed between trees in pastureland and the preserved Cerrado. Moreover, herbivore insects exhibited lower number of species and individuals in trees located in the preserved Cerrado than in the pastureland and Eucalyptus plantation. We concluded that habitats simplified by human activities may result in diversity loss and may change species interactions.

  4. Vinasse and Its Influence on Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Communities in Sugarcane Crops

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saad, L. P.; Souza-Campana, D. R.; Bueno, O. C.

    2017-01-01

    Sugarcane is an important crop within the Brazilian socioeconomic landscape. There is a constant need for approaches to increase sustainability at all steps of the production chain. Irrigating sugarcane crops with vinasse is one of these approaches, because vinasse is a residue of sugarcane processing that can be used to fertilize these same crops. However, due to its chemical properties, vinasse may be harmful to soil fauna. Analyzing the structure and functional organization of ant communities is a fast and practical way to monitor sites affected by the addition of chemicals. This study compared the structure of soil ant communities in vinasse-irrigated sugarcane crops to those in secondary forests adjacent to the crops. In total, 32 genera and 107 species of ants were observed; of these, 30 species foraged in crop fields and 102 foraged in forests. Twenty-five percent of the species were present in both crops and forests. Ant communities in crop soil had poorer taxonomic composition and lower richness in each functional group compared to communities in forest remnants. However, regardless of vegetation type, epigeic ants were more diverse, and Dorymyrmex brunneus (crop) and Pachycondyla striata (forest) were very frequent. Vinasse did not increase the diversity of epigeic and hypogeic ants, but it may affect the community composition. PMID:28130455

  5. 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.

  6. Distribution of invasive ants and methods for their control in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peck, Robert W.; Banko, Paul C.; Snook, Kirsten; Euaparadorn, Melody

    2013-01-01

    The first invasive ants were detected in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO) more than 80 years ago. Ecological impacts of these ants are largely unknown, but studies in Hawai`i and elsewhere increasingly show that invasive ants can reduce abundance and diversity of native arthropod communities as well as disrupt pollination and food webs. Prior to the present study, knowledge of ant distributions in HAVO has primarily been restricted to road- and trail-side surveys of the Kīlauea and Mauna Loa Strip sections of the park. Due to the risks that ants pose to HAVO resources, understanding their distributions and identifying tools to eradicate or control populations of the most aggressive species is an important objective of park managers. We mapped ant distributions in two of the most intensively managed sections of the park, Mauna Loa Strip and Kahuku. We also tested the efficacy of baits to control the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) and the big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala), two of the most aggressive and ecologically destructive species in Hawai`i. Efficacy testing of formicidal bait was designed to provide park managers with options for eradicating small populations or controlling populations that occur at levels beyond which they can be eradicated. Within the Mauna Loa Strip and Kahuku sections of HAVO we conducted systematic surveys of ant distributions at 1625 stations covering nearly 200 km of roads, fences, and transects between August 2008 and April 2010. Overall, 15 ant species were collected in the two areas, with 12 being found on Mauna Loa Strip and 11 at Kahuku. Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi was most widespread at both sites, ranging in elevation from 920 to 2014 m, and was the only species found above 1530 m. Argentine ants and big-headed ants were also found in both areas, but their distributions did not overlap. Surveys of Argentine ants identified areas of infestation covering 560 ha at Mauna Loa Strip and 585 ha at Kahuku. At both sites

  7. The hyper-diverse ant genus Tetramorium Mayr (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in the Malagasy region taxonomic revision of the T. naganum, T. plesiarum, T. schaufussii, and T. severini species groups.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hita Garcia, Francisco; Fisher, Brian L

    2014-01-01

    The taxonomy of the Tetramorium naganum, T. plesiarum, T. schaufussii, and T. severini species groups are revised for the Malagasy region. A total of 31 species are treated, of which 22 are newly described and nine redescribed. This increases the richness of the hyper-diverse genus Tetramorium in the Malagasy region to 106 species, which makes it the most species-rich genus in the region. Twenty-nine of the treated species are endemic to Madagascar, one is endemic to the Comoros, and one species is found predominantly in Madagascar but also on the island of Reunion. The T. naganum species group contains five species, which are mainly distributed in the rainforests and montane rainforests of eastern and northern Madagascar: T. alperti sp. n., T. dalek sp. n., T. enkidu sp. n., T. gilgamesh sp. n., and T. naganum Bolton, 1979. The T. plesiarum species group holds five species: T. bressleri sp. n., T. hobbit sp. n., T. gollum sp. n., T. mars sp. n., and T. plesiarum Bolton, 1979. All five are arid-adapted species occurring in the southwest and west of Madagascar. The second-most species-rich group in the region is the T. schaufussii species group with 20 species, most of which inhabit rainforests or montane rainforests of eastern and northern Madagascar. This group includes two species complexes each containing ten species: the T. cognatum complex with the species T. aspis sp. n., T. camelliae sp. n., T. cognatum Bolton, 1979, T. freya sp. n., T. gladius sp. n., T. karthala sp. n., T. myrmidon sp. n., T. proximum Bolton, 1979, T. rumo sp. n., and T. tenuinode sp. n.; and the T. schaufussii complex with the species T. merina sp. n., T. monticola sp. n., T. nassonowii Forel, 1892 stat. n., T. obiwan sp. n., T. pseudogladius sp. n., T. rala sp. n., T. schaufussii Forel, 1891, T. sikorae Forel, 1892 (= T. latior (Santschi, 1926)), T. scutum sp. n., T. xanthogaster Santschi, 1911. The last group treated in this study is the T. severini species group, which contains only

  8. The hyper-diverse ant genus Tetramorium Mayr (Hymenoptera, Formicidae in the Malagasy region ‑ taxonomic revision of the T. naganum, T. plesiarum, T. schaufussii, and T. severini species groups

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Francisco Hita Garcia

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available The taxonomy of the Tetramorium naganum, T. plesiarum, T. schaufussii, and T. severini species groups are revised for the Malagasy region. A total of 31 species are treated, of which 22 are newly described and nine redescribed. This increases the richness of the hyper-diverse genus Tetramorium in the Malagasy region to 106 species, which makes it the most species-rich genus in the region. Twenty-nine of the treated species are endemic to Madagascar, one is endemic to the Comoros, and one species is found predominantly in Madagascar but also on the island of Reunion. The T. naganum species group contains five species, which are mainly distributed in the rainforests and montane rainforests of eastern and northern Madagascar: T. alperti sp. n., T. dalek sp. n., T. enkidu sp. n., T. gilgamesh sp. n., and T. naganum Bolton, 1979. The T.plesiarum species group holds five species: T. bressleri sp. n., T. hobbit sp. n., T. gollum sp. n., T. mars sp.n., and T. plesiarum Bolton, 1979. All five are arid-adapted species occurring in the southwest and west of Madagascar. The second-most species-rich group in the region is the T. schaufussii species group with 20 species, most of which inhabit rainforests or montane rainforests of eastern and northern Madagascar. This group includes two species complexes each containing ten species: the T. cognatum complex with the species T. aspis sp. n., T. camelliae sp. n., T. cognatum Bolton, 1979, T. freya sp. n., T. gladius sp. n., T.karthala sp. n., T. myrmidon sp. n., T. proximum Bolton, 1979, T. rumo sp. n., and T. tenuinode sp. n.; and the T. schaufussii complex with the species T. merina sp. n., T. monticola sp. n., T. nassonowii Forel, 1892 stat. n., T. obiwan sp. n., T. pseudogladius sp. n., T. rala sp. n., T. schaufussii Forel, 1891, T. sikorae Forel, 1892 (=T. latior (Santschi, 1926, T. scutum sp. n., T. xanthogaster Santschi, 1911. The last group treated in this study is the T. severini species group, which

  9. 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...

  10. Co-evolution of enzyme function in the attine ant-fungus symbiosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    Introduction: Fungus-growing ants cultivate specialized fungi in the tribe Leucocoprineae (Lepiotaceae: Basidiomycota) inside their nests. The conspicuous leaf-cutting ants in the genus Atta build huge nests displacing several cubic meters of soil, whereas lower attine genera such as Cyphomyrmex...... have small nests with a fungus garden the size of a table-tennis ball. Only the leaf-cutting ants are specialized on using fresh leaves as substrate for their fungus gardens, whereas the more basal attine genera use substrates such as dry plant material (leaf litter and small twigs) and also 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. Methods: (1.) We made a literature survey...

  11. Evolutionary transition from single to multiple mating in fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Villesen, Palle; Gertsch, P J; Frydenberg, Jane

    1999-01-01

    Queens of leafcutter ants exhibit the highest known levels of multiple mating (up to 10 mates per queen) among ants. Multiple mating may have been selected to increase genetic diversity among nestmate workers, which is hypothesized to be critical in social systems with large, long-lived colonies...... under severe pressure of pathogens. Advanced fungus-growing (leafcutter) ants have large numbers (104-106 workers) and long-lived colonies, whereas basal genera in the attine tribe have small (... to have lower queen mating frequencies, similar to those found in most other ants. We tested this prediction by analysing queen mating frequency and colony kin structure in three basal attine species: Myrmicocrypta ednaella, Apterostigma collare and Cyphomyrmex longiscapus. Microsatellite marker analyses...

  12. Invasive ants carry novel viruses in their new range and form reservoirs for a honeybee pathogen.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sébastien, Alexandra; Lester, Philip J; Hall, Richard J; Wang, Jing; Moore, Nicole E; Gruber, Monica A M

    2015-09-01

    When exotic animal species invade new environments they also bring an often unknown microbial diversity, including pathogens. We describe a novel and widely distributed virus in one of the most globally widespread, abundant and damaging invasive ants (Argentine ants, Linepithema humile). The Linepithema humile virus 1 is a dicistrovirus, a viral family including species known to cause widespread arthropod disease. It was detected in samples from Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. Argentine ants in New Zealand were also infected with a strain of Deformed wing virus common to local hymenopteran species, which is a major pathogen widely associated with honeybee mortality. Evidence for active replication of viral RNA was apparent for both viruses. Our results suggest co-introduction and exchange of pathogens within local hymenopteran communities. These viral species may contribute to the collapse of Argentine ant populations and offer new options for the control of a globally widespread invader.

  13. Few Ant Species Play a Central Role Linking Different Plant Resources in a Network in Rupestrian Grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Costa, Fernanda V; Mello, Marco A R; Bronstein, Judith L; Guerra, Tadeu J; Muylaert, Renata L; Leite, Alice C; Neves, Frederico S

    2016-01-01

    Ant-plant associations are an outstanding model to study the entangled ecological interactions that structure communities. However, most studies of plant-animal networks focus on only one type of resource that mediates these interactions (e.g, nectar or fruits), leading to a biased understanding of community structure. New approaches, however, have made possible to study several interaction types simultaneously through multilayer networks models. Here, we use this approach to ask whether the structural patterns described to date for ant-plant networks hold when multiple interactions with plant-derived food rewards are considered. We tested whether networks characterized by different resource types differ in specialization and resource partitioning among ants, and whether the identity of the core ant species is similar among resource types. We monitored ant interactions with extrafloral nectaries, flowers, and fruits, as well as trophobiont hemipterans feeding on plants, for one year, in seven rupestrian grassland (campo rupestre) sites in southeastern Brazil. We found a highly tangled ant-plant network in which plants offering different resource types are connected by a few central ant species. The multilayer network had low modularity and specialization, but ant specialization and niche overlap differed according to the type of resource used. Beyond detecting structural differences across networks, our study demonstrates empirically that the core of most central ant species is similar across them. We suggest that foraging strategies of ant species, such as massive recruitment, may determine specialization and resource partitioning in ant-plant interactions. As this core of ant species is involved in multiple ecosystem functions, it may drive the diversity and evolution of the entire campo rupestre community.

  14. Few Ant Species Play a Central Role Linking Different Plant Resources in a Network in Rupestrian Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mello, Marco A. R.; Bronstein, Judith L.; Guerra, Tadeu J.; Muylaert, Renata L.; Leite, Alice C.; Neves, Frederico S.

    2016-01-01

    Ant-plant associations are an outstanding model to study the entangled ecological interactions that structure communities. However, most studies of plant-animal networks focus on only one type of resource that mediates these interactions (e.g, nectar or fruits), leading to a biased understanding of community structure. New approaches, however, have made possible to study several interaction types simultaneously through multilayer networks models. Here, we use this approach to ask whether the structural patterns described to date for ant-plant networks hold when multiple interactions with plant-derived food rewards are considered. We tested whether networks characterized by different resource types differ in specialization and resource partitioning among ants, and whether the identity of the core ant species is similar among resource types. We monitored ant interactions with extrafloral nectaries, flowers, and fruits, as well as trophobiont hemipterans feeding on plants, for one year, in seven rupestrian grassland (campo rupestre) sites in southeastern Brazil. We found a highly tangled ant-plant network in which plants offering different resource types are connected by a few central ant species. The multilayer network had low modularity and specialization, but ant specialization and niche overlap differed according to the type of resource used. Beyond detecting structural differences across networks, our study demonstrates empirically that the core of most central ant species is similar across them. We suggest that foraging strategies of ant species, such as massive recruitment, may determine specialization and resource partitioning in ant-plant interactions. As this core of ant species is involved in multiple ecosystem functions, it may drive the diversity and evolution of the entire campo rupestre community. PMID:27911919

  15. Annealing Ant Colony Optimization with Mutation Operator for Solving TSP

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Abdulqader M. Mohsen

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Ant Colony Optimization (ACO has been successfully applied to solve a wide range of combinatorial optimization problems such as minimum spanning tree, traveling salesman problem, and quadratic assignment problem. Basic ACO has drawbacks of trapping into local minimum and low convergence rate. Simulated annealing (SA and mutation operator have the jumping ability and global convergence; and local search has the ability to speed up the convergence. Therefore, this paper proposed a hybrid ACO algorithm integrating the advantages of ACO, SA, mutation operator, and local search procedure to solve the traveling salesman problem. The core of algorithm is based on the ACO. SA and mutation operator were used to increase the ants population diversity from time to time and the local search was used to exploit the current search area efficiently. The comparative experiments, using 24 TSP instances from TSPLIB, show that the proposed algorithm outperformed some well-known algorithms in the literature in terms of solution quality.

  16. Annealing Ant Colony Optimization with Mutation Operator for Solving TSP.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mohsen, Abdulqader M

    2016-01-01

    Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) has been successfully applied to solve a wide range of combinatorial optimization problems such as minimum spanning tree, traveling salesman problem, and quadratic assignment problem. Basic ACO has drawbacks of trapping into local minimum and low convergence rate. Simulated annealing (SA) and mutation operator have the jumping ability and global convergence; and local search has the ability to speed up the convergence. Therefore, this paper proposed a hybrid ACO algorithm integrating the advantages of ACO, SA, mutation operator, and local search procedure to solve the traveling salesman problem. The core of algorithm is based on the ACO. SA and mutation operator were used to increase the ants population diversity from time to time and the local search was used to exploit the current search area efficiently. The comparative experiments, using 24 TSP instances from TSPLIB, show that the proposed algorithm outperformed some well-known algorithms in the literature in terms of solution quality.

  17. 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.

  18. Global-scale analyses of chemical ecology and population genetics in the invasive Argentine ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandt, M; Van Wilgenburg, E; Tsutsui, N D

    2009-03-01

    Ants are some of the most abundant and ecologically successful terrestrial organisms, and invasive ants rank among the most damaging invasive species. The Argentine ant is a particularly well-studied invader, in part because of the extreme social structure of introduced populations, known as unicoloniality. Unicolonial ants form geographically vast supercolonies, within which territorial behaviour and intraspecific aggression are absent. Because the extreme social structure of introduced populations arises from the widespread acceptance of conspecifics, understanding how this colonymate recognition occurs is key to explaining their success as invaders. Here, we present analyses of Argentine ant recognition cues (cuticular hydrocarbons) and population genetic characteristics from 25 sites across four continents and the Hawaiian Islands. By examining both hydrocarbon profiles and microsatellite genotypes in the same individual ants, we show that native and introduced populations differ in several respects. Both individual workers and groups of nestmates in the introduced range possess less diverse chemical profiles than ants in the native range. As previous studies have reported, we also find that introduced populations possess much lower levels of genetic diversity than populations in the native range. Interestingly, the largest supercolonies on several continents are strikingly similar to each other, suggesting that they arose from a shared introduction pathway. This high similarity suggests that these geographically far-flung ants may still recognize and accept each other as colonymates, thus representing distant nodes of a single, widely distributed supercolony. These findings shed light on the behaviour and sociality of these unicolonial invaders, and pose new questions about the history and origins of introduced populations.

  19. Seasonal Dynamics of Ant Community Structure in the Moroccan Argan Forest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keroumi, Abderrahim El; Naamani, Khalid; Soummane, Hassna; Dahbi, Abdallah

    2012-01-01

    In this study we describe the structure and composition of ant communities in the endemic Moroccan Argan forest, using pitfall traps sampling technique throughout the four seasons between May 2006 and February 2007. The study focused on two distinct climatic habitats within the Essaouira Argan forest, a semi-continental site at Lahssinate, and a coastal site at Boutazarte. Thirteen different ant species were identified, belonging to seven genera. Monomorium subopacum Smith and Tapinoma simrothi Krausse-Heldrungen (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) were the most abundant and behaviorally dominant ant species in the arganeraie. In addition, more specimens were captured in the semi-continental site than in the coastal area. However, no significant difference was observed in species richness, evenness, or diversity between both sites. Composition and community structure showed clear seasonal dynamics. The number of species, their abundance, their diversity, and their evenness per Argan tree were significantly dissimilar among seasons. The richness (except between summer and autumn), and the abundance and the evenness of ant species among communities, showed a significant difference between the dry period (summer and spring) and the rainy period (winter and autumn). Higher abundance and richness values occurred in the dry period of the year. Ant species dominance and seasonal climatic variations in the arganeraie might be among the main factors affecting the composition, structure, and foraging activity of ant communities. This study, together with recent findings on ant predation behavior below Argan trees, highlights the promising use of dominant ant species as potential agents of Mediterranean fruit fly bio-control in the Argan forest and surrounding ecosystems. PMID:23421815

  20. 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.

  1. Dynamics of the association between a long-lived understory myrmecophyte and its specific associated ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Orivel, Jérôme; Lambs, Luc; Malé, Pierre-Jean G; Leroy, Céline; Grangier, Julien; Otto, Thierry; Quilichini, Angélique; Dejean, Alain

    2011-02-01

    Myrmecophytic symbioses are widespread in tropical ecosystems and their diversity makes them useful tools for understanding the origin and evolution of mutualisms. Obligate ant-plants, or myrmecophytes, provide a nesting place, and, often, food to a limited number of plant-ant species. In exchange, plant-ants protect their host plants from herbivores, competitors and pathogens, and can provide them with nutrients. Although most studies to date have highlighted a similar global pattern of interactions in these systems, little is known about the temporal structuring and dynamics of most of these associations. In this study we focused on the association between the understory myrmecophyte Hirtella physophora (Chrysobalanaceae) and its obligate ant partner Allomerus decemarticulatus (Myrmicinae). An examination of the life histories and growth rates of both partners demonstrated that this plant species has a much longer lifespan (up to about 350 years) than its associated ant colonies (up to about 21 years). The size of the ant colonies and their reproductive success were strongly limited by the available nesting space provided by the host plants. Moreover, the resident ants positively affected the vegetative growth of their host plant, but had a negative effect on its reproduction by reducing the number of flowers and fruits by more than 50%. Altogether our results are important to understanding the evolutionary dynamics of ant-plant symbioses. The highly specialized interaction between long-lived plants and ants with a shorter lifespan produces an asymmetry in the evolutionary rates of the interaction which, in return, can affect the degree to which the interests of the two partners converge.

  2. 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...

  3. Plant Killing by Mutualistic Ants Increases the Density of Host Species Seedlings in the Dry Forest of Costa Rica

    OpenAIRE

    Sabrina Amador-Vargas

    2012-01-01

    Some species of plant-mutualistic ants kill the vegetation growing in the vicinities of their host plant, creating an area of bare ground (clearing). The reduced competition in the clearing may facilitate the establishment of host species sprouts (clones and seedlings), which in turn benefits the ants with additional food and shelter (“sprout-establishment hypothesis”). To test this hypothesis, the density and origin of Acacia collinsii sprouts growing inside clearings and in the vicinities o...

  4. Opposable spines facilitate fine and gross object manipulation in fire ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cassill, Deby; Greco, Anthony; Silwal, Rajesh; Wang, Xuefeng

    2007-04-01

    Ants inhabit diverse terrestrial biomes from the Sahara Desert to the Arctic tundra. One factor contributing to the ants’ successful colonization of diverse geographical regions is their ability to manipulate objects when excavating nests, capturing, transporting and rendering prey or grooming, feeding and transporting helpless brood. This paper is the first to report the form and function of opposable spines on the foretarsi of queens and workers used during fine motor and gross motor object manipulation in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. In conjunction with their mandibles, queens and workers used their foretarsi to grasp and rotate eggs, push or pull thread-like objects out of their way or push excavated soil pellets behind them for disposal by other workers. Opposable spines were found on the foretarsi of workers from seven of eight other ant species suggesting that they might be a common feature in the Formicidae.

  5. Cognitive LF-Ant: A Novel Protocol for Healthcare Wireless Sensor Networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcelo Alencar

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available In this paper, the authors present the Cognitive LF-Ant protocol for emergency reporting in healthcare wireless sensor networks. The protocol is inspired by the natural behaviour of ants and a cognitive component provides the capabilities to dynamically allocate resources, in accordance with the emergency degree of each patient. The intra-cluster emergency reporting is inspired by the different capabilities of leg-manipulated ants. The inter-cluster reporting is aided by the cooperative modulation diversity with spectrum sensing, which can detect new emergency reporting requests and forward them. Simulations results show the decrease of average delay time as the probability of opportunistic access increases, which privileges the emergency reporting related to the patients with higher priority of resources’ usage. Furthermore, the packet loss rate is decreased by the use of cooperative modulation diversity with spectrum sensing.

  6. Elevation and forest clearing effects on foraging differ between surface--and subterranean--foraging army ants (Formicidae: Ecitoninae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kumar, Anjali; O'Donnell, Sean

    2009-01-01

    1. Forest fragmentation often results in a matrix of open areas mixed with patches of forest. Both biotic and abiotic factors can affect consumer species' ability to utilize the altered habitat, especially for species that range over large areas searching for prey. 2. Army ants (Formicidae: Ecitoninae) are highly mobile top predators in terrestrial Neotropical ecosystems. Army ant foraging behaviour is influenced by forest clearing at lowland sites, and clearing can reduce army ant population persistence. 3. Because high temperatures are implicated in hindering above-ground army ant foraging, we predicted that forest clearing effects on army ant foraging would be reduced at higher (cooler) elevations in montane forest. We also predicted that subterranean foraging, employed by some army ant species, would buffer them from the negative effects of forest clearing. 4. We quantified the foraging rates of above-ground and underground foraging army ants at eight sites along an elevational gradient from 1090 to 1540 m a.s.l. We asked whether these two foraging strategies cause a difference in the ability of army ants to forage in open matrix areas relative to elevationally matched forested habitats, and whether elevation predicts open area vs. forest foraging rate differences. 5. As predicted, army ants that forage above-ground had lower foraging rates in open areas, but the open area vs. forest difference declined with elevation. In contrast, underground foragers were not affected by habitat type, and underground foraging rates increased with elevation. Ground surface temperatures were higher in open areas than forested areas. Temperatures declined with elevation, and temperature differences between open and forested areas decreased with elevation. 6. We conclude that army ants that forage above-ground may be restricted to forested areas due to a thermal tolerance threshold, but that they are released from this limitation at higher elevations. We further suggest that

  7. Empirical test of the influence of global warming and forest disturbance on ant fauna at the Gwangneung Forest Long Term Ecological Research site, South Korea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tae-Sung Kwon

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available This study examined the effects of forest disturbance and climate change on the ant fauna at the Long Term Ecological Research site in Gwangneung Forest, Korea in 2003 and 2012. After forest disturbance, the occurrence and abundance of ants belonging to the functional groups of forest ground forager and soil and litter dweller are predicted to decrease, while the occurrence and abundance of ants belonging to the open land forager and forest vegetation forager functional groups are predicted to increase. In terms of the effects of climate change, if the optimum temperature of the ants is lower than the annual average temperature in the survey area, the occurrence and abundance of the ants are predicted to decrease and vice versa. Ant surveys were carried out using pitfall traps. Changes in the dominant species, occurrence, and abundance mostly corresponded to the predictions for forest disturbance, but did not match the prediction for an increase in temperature.

  8. 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...

  9. 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.

  10. 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...

  11. The small impact of various partial charge distributions in ground and excited state on the computational Stokes shift of 1-methyl-6-oxyquinolinium betaine in diverse water models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heid, Esther; Harringer, Sophia; Schröder, Christian

    2016-10-01

    The influence of the partial charge distribution obtained from quantum mechanics of the solute 1-methyl-6-oxyquinolinium betaine in the ground- and first excited state on the time-dependent Stokes shift is studied via molecular dynamics computer simulation. Furthermore, the effect of the employed solvent model — here the non-polarizable SPC, TIP4P and TIP4P/2005 and the polarizable SWM4 water model — on the solvation dynamics of the system is investigated. The use of different functionals and calculation methods influences the partial charge distribution and the magnitude of the dipole moment of the solute, but not the orientation of the dipole moment. Simulations based on the calculated charge distributions show nearly the same relaxation behavior. Approximating the whole solute molecule by a dipole results in the same relaxation behavior, but lower solvation energies, indicating that the time scale of the Stokes shift does not depend on peculiarities of the solute. However, the SPC and TIP4P water models show too fast dynamics which can be ascribed to a too large diffusion coefficient and too low viscosity. The calculated diffusion coefficient and viscosity for the SWM4 and TIP4P/2005 models coincide well with experimental values and the corresponding relaxation behavior is comparable to experimental values. Furthermore we found that for a quantitative description of the Stokes shift of the applied system at least two solvation shells around the solute have to be taken into account.

  12. Articulated navigation testbed (ANT): an example of adaptable intrinsic mobility

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brosinsky, Chris A.; Hanna, Doug M.; Penzes, Steven G.

    2000-07-01

    An important but oft overlooked aspect of any robotic system is the synergistic benefit of designing the chassis to have high intrinsic mobility which complements rather than limits, its system capabilities. This novel concept continues to be investigated by the Defence Research Establishment Suffield (DRES) with the Articulated Navigation Testbed (ANT) Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV). The ANT demonstrates high mobility through the combination of articulated steering and a hybrid locomotion scheme which utilizes individually powered wheels on the edge of rigid legs; legs which are capable of approximately 450 degrees of rotation. The configuration can be minimally configured as a 4x4 and modularly expanded to 6x6, 8x8, and so on. This enhanced mobility configuration permits pose control and novel maneuvers such as stepping, bridging, crawling, etc. Resultant mobility improvements, particularly in unstructured and off-road environments, will reduce the resolution with which the UGV sensor systems must perceive its surroundings and decreases the computational requirements of the UGV's perception systems1 for successful semi-autonomous or autonomous terrain negotiation. This paper reviews critical vehicle developments leading up to the ANT concept, describes the basis for its configuration and speculates on the impact of the intrinsic mobility concept for UGV effectiveness.

  13. Postfire Succession of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Nesting in Dead Wood of Northern Boreal Forest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boucher, Philippe; Hébert, Christian; Francoeur, André; Sirois, Luc

    2015-10-01

    Dead wood decomposition begins immediately after tree death and involves a large array of invertebrates. Ecological successions are still poorly known for saproxylic organisms, particularly in boreal forests. We investigated the use of dead wood as nesting sites for ants along a 60-yr postfire chronosequence in northeastern coniferous forests. We sampled a total of 1,625 pieces of dead wood, in which 263 ant nests were found. Overall, ant abundance increased during the first 30 yr after wildfire, and then declined. Leptothorax cf. canadensis Provancher, the most abundant species in our study, was absent during the first 2 yr postfire, but increased steadily until 30 yr after fire, whereas Myrmica alaskensis Wheeler, second in abundance, was found at all stages of succession in the chronosequence. Six other species were less frequently found, among which Camponotus herculeanus (Linné), Formica neorufibarbis Emery, and Formica aserva Forel were locally abundant, but more scarcely distributed. Dead wood lying on the ground and showing numerous woodborer holes had a higher probability of being colonized by ants. The C:N ratio was lower for dead wood colonized by ants than for noncolonized dead wood, showing that the continuous occupation of dead wood by ants influences the carbon and nitrogen dynamics of dead wood after wildfire in northern boreal forests. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  14. Nasa's Ant-Inspired Swarmie Robots

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leucht, Kurt W.

    2016-01-01

    As humans push further beyond the grasp of earth, robotic missions in advance of human missions will play an increasingly important role. These robotic systems will find and retrieve valuable resources as part of an in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) strategy. They will need to be highly autonomous while maintaining high task performance levels. NASA Kennedy Space Center has teamed up with the Biological Computation Lab at the University of New Mexico to create a swarm of small, low-cost, autonomous robots to be used as a ground-based research platform for ISRU missions. The behavior of the robot swarm mimics the central-place foraging strategy of ants to find and collect resources in a previously unmapped environment and return those resources to a central site. This talk will guide the audience through the Swarmie robot project from its conception by students in a New Mexico research lab to its robot trials in an outdoor parking lot at NASA. The software technologies and techniques used on the project will be discussed, as well as various challenges and solutions that were encountered by the development team along the way.

  15. Variable interaction specificity and symbiont performance in Panamanian Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex fungus-growing ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Fine Licht, Henrik H; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2014-12-04

    tolerance, disease susceptibility and temperature sensitivity may apply in some combinations but not in others. We hypothesize that this may be related to ecological specialization in general, but this awaits further testing. Our finding of both cryptic ant species and extensive cultivar diversity underlines the importance of identifying all species-level variation before embarking on estimates of interaction specificity.

  16. Influence of plant genetic diversity on interactions between higher trophic levels.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreira, Xoaquín; Mooney, Kailen A

    2013-06-23

    While the ecological consequences of plant diversity have received much attention, the mechanisms by which intraspecific diversity affects associated communities remains understudied. We report on a field experiment documenting the effects of patch diversity in the plant Baccharis salicifolia (genotypic monocultures versus polycultures of four genotypes), ants (presence versus absence) and their interaction on ant-tended aphids, ants and parasitic wasps, and the mechanistic pathways by which diversity influences their multi-trophic interactions. Five months after planting, polycultures (versus monocultures) had increased abundances of aphids (threefold), ants (3.2-fold) and parasitoids (1.7-fold) owing to non-additive effects of genetic diversity. The effect on aphids was direct, as plant genetic diversity did not mediate ant-aphid, parasitoid-aphid or ant-parasitoid interactions. This increase in aphid abundance occurred even though plant growth (and thus aphid resources) was not higher in polycultures. The increase in ants and parasitoids was an indirect effect, due entirely to higher aphid abundance. Ants reduced parasitoid abundance by 60 per cent, but did not affect aphid abundance or plant growth, and these top-down effects were equivalent between monocultures and polycultures. In summary, intraspecific plant diversity did not increase primary productivity, but nevertheless had strong effects across multiple trophic levels, and effects on both herbivore mutualists and enemies could be predicted entirely as an extension of plant-herbivore interactions.

  17. 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...

  18. 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.

  19. 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...

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Multiple Levels of Recognition in Ants: A Feature of Complex Societies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    D'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2008-01-01

    diverse. In ants, social interactions are regulated by at least three levels of recognition. Nestmate recognition occurs between colonies, is very effective, and involves fast processing. Within a colony, division of labor is enhanced by recognition of different classes of individuals. Ultimately...

  5. Ants of three adjacent habitats of a transition region between the cerrado and caatinga biomes: the effects of heterogeneity and variation in canopy cover.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neves, F S; Queiroz-Dantas, K S; da Rocha, W D; Delabie, J H C

    2013-06-01

    Habitat heterogeneity and complexity associated with variations in climatic conditions are important factors determining the structure of ant communities in different terrestrial ecosystems. The objective of this study was to describe the horizontal and vertical distribution patterns of the ant community associated with three adjacent habitats in a transition area between the Cerrado and Caatinga biomes at the Pandeiros River, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. We tested the following hypotheses: (1) the richness and composition of ant species and functional group structure changes between different habitats and strata; (2) habitats with higher tree species richness and density support higher ant species richness; and (3) habitats with lower variation in canopy cover support higher ant species richness. Sampling was conducted in three adjacent habitats and at three vertical strata. Ant species richness was significantly different among vertical strata. Ant species composition was different among both habitats and vertical strata and functional group structure was divergent among habitats. Partitioning of the diversity revealed that the diversity for the three components was statistically different from the one expected by the null model; α and β 2 were higher and β 1 was lower than the values expected by chance. Tree density and variation in canopy cover negatively affected ant species richness. The occurrence of different species and the changing of functional group structures in different habitats and strata suggest an ecological-evolutionary relationship between ants and their habitats and emphasize the need to implement local conservation strategies in the ecotones between biomes.

  6. A survey paper on Ant Colony Optimization Routing algorithm for selecting Multiple Feasible Paths for Packet Switched Networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Meenakshi R Patel

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available ACO algorithms for datagram networks was given by Di Caro Dorigo, in year 1996. Basic mechanisms in typical ACO routing algorithms is Ant-like agents are proactively generated at the nodes to find/check paths toward assigned destinations Ants move hop-by-hop according to a exploratory routing policy based on the local routing .After reaching their destination, ants retrace their path and update nodes routing information according to the quality of the path. Routing information is statistical estimates of the time-to-go to the destination maintained in pheromone arrays. Data are probabilistically spread over the paths according to their estimated quality as stored in the pheromone variables. AntNet algorithms may cause the network congestion and stagnation as the routing table converges. In this paper we perform a survey on modified AntNet routing algorithm using Multiple Ant-Colony Optimization. Multiple ant colonies with different pheromone updating mechanism have different searching traits. By leveraging this feature, much of work is done by designing a set of adaptive rules to facilitate the collaboration between these colonies. This approach can balance the diversity and convergence of solutions generated by different ant colonies and also overcome the problem of Stagnation.

  7. Ant colonies prefer infected over uninfected nest sites

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pontieri, Luigi; Vojvodic, Svjetlana; Graham, Riley;

    2014-01-01

    During colony relocation, the selection of a new nest involves exploration and assessment of potential sites followed by colony movement on the basis of a collective decision making process. Hygiene and pathogen load of the potential nest sites are factors worker scouts might evaluate, given...... and low genetic diversity, likely making these species particularly vulnerable to parasites and diseases. We investigated the nest site preference of the invasive pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis, through binary choice tests between three nest types: nests containing dead nestmates overgrown...

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Species-Specific Cuticular Hydrocarbon Stability within European Myrmica Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guillem, Rhian M; Drijfhout, Falko P; Martin, Stephen J

    2016-10-01

    Recognition is a fundamental process on which all subsequent behaviors are based at every organizational level, from the gene up to the super-organism. At the whole organism level, visual recognition is the best understood. However, chemical communication is far more widespread than visual communication, but despite its importance is much less understood. Ants provide an excellent model system for chemical ecology studies as it is well established that compounds known as cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) are used as recognition cues in ants. Therefore, stable species-specific odors should exist, irrespective of geographic locality. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the CHC profiles of workers of twelve species of Myrmica ants from four countries across Europe, from Iberia to the Balkans and from the Mediterranean to Fennoscandia. CHCs remained qualitatively stable within each species, right down to the isomer level. Despite the morphological similarity that occurs within the genus Myrmica, their CHCs were highly diverse but remarkably species-specific and stable across wide geographical areas. This indicates a genetic mechanism under strong selection that produces these species-specific chemical profiles, despite each species encountering different environmental conditions across its range.

  12. Evolution of cold-tolerant fungal symbionts permits winter fungiculture by leafcutter ants at the northern frontier of a tropical ant-fungus symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, Ulrich G; Mikheyev, Alexander S; Hong, Eunki; Sen, Ruchira; Warren, Dan L; Solomon, Scott E; Ishak, Heather D; Cooper, Mike; Miller, Jessica L; Shaffer, Kimberly A; Juenger, Thomas E

    2011-03-08

    The obligate mutualism between leafcutter ants and their Attamyces fungi originated 8 to 12 million years ago in the tropics, but extends today also into temperate regions in South and North America. The northernmost leafcutter ant Atta texana sustains fungiculture during winter temperatures that would harm the cold-sensitive Attamyces cultivars of tropical leafcutter ants. Cold-tolerance of Attamyces cultivars increases with winter harshness along a south-to-north temperature gradient across the range of A. texana, indicating selection for cold-tolerant Attamyces variants along the temperature cline. Ecological niche modeling corroborates winter temperature as a key range-limiting factor impeding northward expansion of A. texana. The northernmost A. texana populations are able to sustain fungiculture throughout winter because of their cold-adapted fungi and because of seasonal, vertical garden relocation (maintaining gardens deep in the ground in winter to protect them from extreme cold, then moving gardens to warmer, shallow depths in spring). Although the origin of leafcutter fungiculture was an evolutionary breakthrough that revolutionized the food niche of tropical fungus-growing ants, the original adaptations of this host-microbe symbiosis to tropical temperatures and the dependence on cold-sensitive fungal symbionts eventually constrained expansion into temperate habitats. Evolution of cold-tolerant fungi within the symbiosis relaxed constraints on winter fungiculture at the northern frontier of the leafcutter ant distribution, thereby expanding the ecological niche of an obligate host-microbe symbiosis.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  14. Modelling Vulnerability and Range Shifts in Ant Communities Responding to Future Global Warming in Temperate Forests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kwon, Tae-Sung; Li, Fengqing; Kim, Sung-Soo; Chun, Jung Hwa; Park, Young-Seuk

    2016-01-01

    Global warming is likely leading to species' distributional shifts, resulting in changes in local community compositions and diversity patterns. In this study, we applied species distribution models to evaluate the potential impacts of temperature increase on ant communities in Korean temperate forests, by testing hypotheses that 1) the risk of extinction of forest ant species would increase over time, and 2) the changes in species distribution ranges could drive upward movements of ant communities and further alter patterns of species richness. We sampled ant communities at 335 evenly distributed sites across South Korea and modelled the future distribution range for each species using generalized additive models. To account for spatial autocorrelation, autocovariate regressions were conducted prior to generalized additive models. Among 29 common ant species, 12 species were estimated to shrink their suitable geographic areas, whereas five species would benefit from future global warming. Species richness was highest at low altitudes in the current period, and it was projected to be highest at the mid-altitudes in the 2080s, resulting in an upward movement of 4.9 m yr-1. This altered the altitudinal pattern of species richness from a monotonic-decrease curve (common in temperate regions) to a bell-shaped curve (common in tropical regions). Overall, ant communities in temperate forests are vulnerable to the on-going global warming and their altitudinal movements are similar to other faunal communities.

  15. Unraveling Trichoderma species in the attine ant environment: description of three new taxa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montoya, Quimi Vidaurre; Meirelles, Lucas Andrade; Chaverri, Priscila; Rodrigues, Andre

    2016-05-01

    Fungus-growing "attine" ants forage diverse substrates to grow fungi for food. In addition to the mutualistic fungal partner, the colonies of these insects harbor a rich microbiome composed of bacteria, filamentous fungi and yeasts. Previous work reported some Trichoderma species in the fungus gardens of leafcutter ants. However, no studies systematically addressed the putative association of Trichoderma with attine ants, especially in non-leafcutter ants. Here, a total of 62 strains of Trichoderma were analyzed using three molecular markers (ITS, tef1 and rpb2). In addition, 30 out of 62 strains were also morphologically examined. The strains studied correspond to the largest sampling carried out so far for Trichoderma in the attine ant environment. Our results revealed the richness of Trichoderma in this environment, since we found 20 Trichoderma species, including three new taxa described in the present work (Trichoderma attinorum, Trichoderma texanum and Trichoderma longifialidicum spp. nov.) as well as a new phylogenetic taxon (LESF 545). Moreover, we show that all 62 strains grouped within different clades across the Trichoderma phylogeny, which are identical or closely related to strains derived from several other environments. This evidence supports the transient nature of the genus Trichoderma in the attine ant colonies. The discovery of three new species suggests that the dynamic foraging behavior of these insects might be responsible for accumulation of transient fungi into their colonies, which might hold additional fungal taxa still unknown to science.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  17. Broad Escovopsis-inhibition activity of Pseudonocardia associated with Trachymyrmex ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meirelles, Lucas A; Mendes, Thaís D; Solomon, Scott E; Bueno, Odair C; Pagnocca, Fernando C; Rodrigues, Andre

    2014-08-01

    Attine ants maintain an association with antibiotic-producing Actinobacteria found on their integuments. Evidence supports these bacteria as auxiliary symbionts that help ants to defend the fungus gardens against pathogens. Using Pseudonocardia strains isolated from Trachymyrmex ants, we tested whether the inhibitory capabilities of such strains are restricted to Escovopsis parasites that infect gardens of this ant genus. Twelve Pseudonocardia strains were tested in in vitro bioassays against Escovopsis strains derived from fungus gardens of Trachymyrmex (n = 1) and leaf-cutting ants (n = 3). Overall, significant differences were observed in the mycelial growth among each Escovopsis strain in the presence of Pseudonocardia. Particularly, Escovopsis from Acromyrmex and Trachymyrmex were the most inhibited strains in comparison to Escovopsis isolated from Atta. This result suggests that Pseudonocardia isolated from Trachymyrmex possibly secrete antimicrobial compounds effective against diverse Escovopsis strains. The fact that Trachymyrmex ants harbour Pseudonocardia strains with broad spectrum of activity and its defensive role on attine gardens are discussed.

  18. Nesting habits shape feeding preferences and predatory behavior in an ant genus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dejean, Alain; Labrière, Nicolas; Touchard, Axel; Petitclerc, Frédéric; Roux, Olivier

    2014-04-01

    We tested if nesting habits influence ant feeding preferences and predatory behavior in the monophyletic genus Pseudomyrmex (Pseudomyrmecinae) which comprises terrestrial and arboreal species, and, among the latter, plant-ants which are obligate inhabitants of myrmecophytes (i.e., plants sheltering so-called plant-ants in hollow structures). A cafeteria experiment revealed that the diet of ground-nesting Pseudomyrmex consists mostly of prey and that of arboreal species consists mostly of sugary substances, whereas the plant-ants discarded all the food we provided. Workers forage solitarily, detecting prey from a distance thanks to their hypertrophied eyes. Approach is followed by antennal contact, seizure, and the manipulation of the prey to sting it under its thorax (next to the ventral nerve cord). Arboreal species were not more efficient at capturing prey than were ground-nesting species. A large worker size favors prey capture. Workers from ground- and arboreal-nesting species show several uncommon behavioral traits, each known in different ant genera from different subfamilies: leaping abilities, the use of surface tension strengths to transport liquids, short-range recruitment followed by conflicts between nestmates, the consumption of the prey's hemolymph, and the retrieval of entire prey or pieces of prey after having cut it up. Yet, we never noted group ambushing. We also confirmed that Pseudomyrmex plant-ants live in a kind of food autarky as they feed only on rewards produced by their host myrmecophyte, or on honeydew produced by the hemipterans they attend and possibly on the fungi they cultivate.

  19. Public goods dilemma in asexual ant societies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dobata, Shigeto; Tsuji, Kazuki

    2013-10-01

    Cooperation in biological, social, and economic groups is underpinned by public goods that are generated by group members at some personal cost. Theory predicts that public goods will be exploited by cheaters who benefit from the goods by not paying for them, thereby leading to the collapse of cooperation. This situation, described as the "public goods dilemma" in game theory, makes the ubiquity of cooperation a major evolutionary puzzle. Despite this generalization, the demonstration of genetic background and fitness effects of the public goods dilemma has been limited to interactions between viruses and between cells, and thus its relevance at higher levels of organismal complexity is still largely unexplored. Here we provide experimental evidence for the public goods dilemma in a social insect, the ant Pristomyrmex punctatus. In this species, all workers are involved in both asexual reproduction and cooperative tasks. Genetic cheaters infiltrate field colonies, reproducing more than the workers but shunning cooperative tasks. In laboratory experiments, cheaters outcompeted coexisting workers in both survival and reproduction, although a group composed only of cheaters failed to produce offspring. The operations of the public goods dilemma in P. punctatus showed a remarkable convergence with those in microbial societies, not only in fitness consequences but also in behavioral mechanisms. Our study reinforces the evolutionary impact of cheaters on diverse cooperative systems in the laboratory and in the field.

  20. Grounded theory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, Tina

    2015-04-29

    Grounded theory is a popular research approach in health care and the social sciences. This article provides a description of grounded theory methodology and its key components, using examples from published studies to demonstrate practical application. It aims to demystify grounded theory for novice nurse researchers, by explaining what it is, when to use it, why they would want to use it and how to use it. It should enable nurse researchers to decide if grounded theory is an appropriate approach for their research, and to determine the quality of any grounded theory research they read.

  1. Prevalence of the genus Cladosporium on the integument of leaf-cutting ants characterized by 454 pyrosequencing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duarte, A P M; Ferro, M; Rodrigues, A; Bacci, M; Nagamoto, N S; Forti, L C; Pagnocca, F C

    2016-09-01

    The relationship of attine ants with their mutualistic fungus and other microorganisms has been studied during the last two centuries. However, previous studies about the diversity of fungi in the ants' microenvironment are based mostly on culture-dependent approaches, lacking a broad characterization of the fungal ant-associated community. Here, we analysed the fungal diversity found on the integument of Atta capiguara and Atta laevigata alate ants using 454 pyrosequencing. We obtained 35,453 ITS reads grouped into 99 molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTUs). Data analysis revealed that A. capiguara drones had the highest diversity of MOTUs. Besides the occurrence of several uncultured fungi, the mycobiota analysis revealed that the most abundant taxa were the Cladosporium-complex, Cryptococcus laurentii and Epicoccum sp. Taxa in the genus Cladosporium were predominant in all samples, comprising 67.9 % of all reads. The remarkable presence of the genus Cladosporium on the integument of leaf-cutting ants alates from distinct ant species suggests that this fungus is favored in this microenvironment.

  2. Seasonal contrasts in the response of coffee ants to agroforestry shade-tree management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teodoro, A V; Sousa-Souto, L; Klein, A-M; Tscharntke, T

    2010-12-01

    In many tropical landscapes, agroforestry systems are the last forested ecosystems, providing shade, having higher humidity, mitigating potential droughts, and possessing more species than any other crop system. Here, we tested the hypothesis that higher levels of shade and associated humidity in agroforestry enhance coffee ant richness more during the dry than rainy season, comparing ant richness in 22 plots of three coffee agroforestry types in coastal Ecuador: simple-shade agroforests (intensively managed with low tree species diversity), complex-shade agroforests (extensively managed with intermediate tree species diversity) and abandoned coffee agroforests (abandoned for 10-15 yr and resembling secondary forests). Seasonality affected responses of ant richness but not composition to agroforestry management, in that most species were observed in abandoned coffee agroforests in the dry season. In the rainy season, however, most species were found in simple-shade agroforests, and complex agroforestry being intermediate. Foraging coffee ants species composition did not change differently according to agroforestry type and season. Results show that shade appears to be most important in the dry seasons, while a mosaic of different land-use types may provide adequate environmental conditions to ant species, maximizing landscape-wide richness throughout the year.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 ...

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

  2. 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.

  3. Ant community structure in citrus orchards in the mediterranean basin: impoverishment as a consequence of habitat homogeneity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cerdá, X; Palacios, R; Retana, J

    2009-04-01

    This study analyzes the structure and composition of ant communities in citrus orchards in Catalonia (northeast Spain) and compares them with the ant fauna found in natural communities of the region. In the citrus orchards considered in this study, the most abundant species were Lasius niger and Pheidole pallidula, which are behaviorally dominant species. Two other dominant species, Linepithema humile and Tetramorium caespitum, were also abundant, although only in one orchard. Species richness and diversity in the studied orchards were low compared with natural communities: although in orchards, there were few species and low diversity values, in natural communities, the number of species was higher and diversity also increased. This reduction of species richness and diversity was not modified by edge effects: only light and local differences were found between the inner part of the orchards and the orchard margins, and differences among orchards were greater than differences between inner parts and edges. The activity peaks of the different ant species actively foraging on these citrus orchards were distributed throughout the whole activity period of ants. Overall, the composition of ant communities present in the citrus orchards of this study was extremely poor. This agrees with the fact that monocultures are ecosystems associated with an inevitable loss of biodiversity and abundance of insect populations.

  4. Grounded cognition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barsalou, Lawrence W

    2008-01-01

    Grounded cognition rejects traditional views that cognition is computation on amodal symbols in a modular system, independent of the brain's modal systems for perception, action, and introspection. Instead, grounded cognition proposes that modal simulations, bodily states, and situated action underlie cognition. Accumulating behavioral and neural evidence supporting this view is reviewed from research on perception, memory, knowledge, language, thought, social cognition, and development. Theories of grounded cognition are also reviewed, as are origins of the area and common misperceptions of it. Theoretical, empirical, and methodological issues are raised whose future treatment is likely to affect the growth and impact of grounded cognition.

  5. Karyotype instability in the ponerine ant genus Diacamma

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Nutan Karnik; H. Channaveerappa; H. A. Ranganath; Raghavendra Gadagkar

    2010-08-01

    The queenless ponerine ant Diacamma ceylonense and a population of Diacamma from the Nilgiri hills which we refer to as ‘nilgiri’, exhibit interesting similarities as well as dissimilarities. Molecular phylogenetic study of these morphologically almost similar taxa has shown that D. ceylonense is closely related to ‘nilgiri’ and indicates that ‘nilgiri’ is a recent diversion in the Diacamma phylogenetic tree. However, there is a striking behavioural difference in the way reproductive monopoly is maintained by the respective gamergates (mated egg laying workers), and there is evidence that they are genetically differentiated, suggesting a lack of gene flow. To develop a better understanding of the mechanism involved in speciation of Diacamma, we have analysed karyotypes of D. ceylonense and ‘nilgiri’. In both, we found surprising inter-individual and intra-individual karyotypic mosaicism. The observed numerical variability, both at intra-individual and inter-individual levels, does not appear to have hampered the sustainability of the chromosomal diversity in each population under study. Since the related D. indicum displays no such intra-individual or inter-individual variability whatsoever under identical experimental conditions, these results are unlikely to be artifacts. Although no known mechanisms can account for the observed karyotypic variability of this nature, we believe that the present findings on the ants under study would provide opportunities for exciting new discoveries concerning the origin, maintenance and significance of intra-individual and inter-individual karyotypic mosaicism.

  6. 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...

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. “Going Beyond the Call of Doula”: A Grounded Theory Analysis of the Diverse Roles Community-Based Doulas Play in the Lives of Pregnant and Parenting Adolescent Mothers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gentry, Quinn M.; Nolte, Kim M.; Gonzalez, Ainka; Pearson, Magan; Ivey, Symeon

    2010-01-01

    This article presents some of the most salient qualitative results from a larger program evaluation of pregnant and parenting adolescents who participated in a community-based doula program. Using grounded theory analysis, seven problem-solving strategies emerged that doulas apply in helping pregnant and parenting adolescents navigate multiple social and health settings that often serve as barriers to positive maternal- and child-health outcomes. The ethnographic findings of this study suggest that the doulas provide valuable assistance to pregnant and parenting adolescents by addressing social-psychological issues and socio-economic disparities. “Diverse role-taking” results in doulas helping pregnant adolescents navigate more successfully through fragmented social and health service systems that are less supportive of low-income adolescents, who are often perceived to be draining scarce resources. The findings have implications for the roles of community-based doulas assigned to low-income adolescents of color seeking to overcome obstacles and attain better educational and economic opportunities. PMID:21886419

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Inflorescences of the Bromeliad Vriesea friburgensis as Nest Sites and Food Resources for Ants and Other Arthropods in Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Volker S. Schmid

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available For the first time, the usage of bromeliad inflorescences as nesting sites for ants and other arthropods was studied. Frequencies of occurrence of nests were recorded from hollow stems of dried infructescences of the bromeliad Vriesea friburgensis on Santa Catarina Island, southern Brazil. Three habitat types were studied: miconietum and two types of restinga, one with low (restinga-low and one with high vegetation cover (restinga-high. Additionally, flower visitation by ants was examined in restinga-low. Out of 619 infructescences, 33% contained nests. Ants were the most frequent occupants (82–96% of nests, followed by termites (3–18% and bees (0–0.6%. Species accumulation curves and diversity indices indicate that the diversity of stem-occupying ant species is highest in restinga-low (eight species observed, 18 predicted and lowest in restinga-high (four observed and predicted. Highest similarity of compositions of infructescence-inhabiting ant species was recorded between miconietum and restinga-high, lowest between restinga-low and restinga-high. Similarity between compositions of inflorescence-visiting and infructescence-inhabiting species in restinga-low was even higher (compared with the cases described in the previous sentence although 50% of the involved species were present in only one of the samples. Altogether, our results indicate that inflorescences are important resources for ants and other nest-building insects from flowering season to past-fruiting season.

  15. Evolutionary transition from single to multiple mating in fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Villesen, Palle; Gertsch, P J; Frydenberg, Jane

    1999-01-01

    Queens of leafcutter ants exhibit the highest known levels of multiple mating (up to 10 mates per queen) among ants. Multiple mating may have been selected to increase genetic diversity among nestmate workers, which is hypothesized to be critical in social systems with large, long-lived colonies...... revealed that queens in all three species were single mated, and that worker-to-worker relatedness in these basal attine species is very close to 0.75, the value expected under exclusively single mating. Fungus growing per se has therefore not selected for multiple queen mating. Instead, the advanced...... to have lower queen mating frequencies, similar to those found in most other ants. We tested this prediction by analysing queen mating frequency and colony kin structure in three basal attine species: Myrmicocrypta ednaella, Apterostigma collare and Cyphomyrmex longiscapus. Microsatellite marker analyses...

  16. Dynamic disease management in trachymyrmex fungus-growing ants (Attini: Formicidae)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Bruner, Gaspar; Gomez, Ernesto B.

    2013-01-01

    Abstract Multipartner mutualisms have potentially complex dynamics, with compensatory responses when one partner is lost or relegated to a minor role. Fungus-growing ants (Attini) are mutualistic associates of basidiomycete fungi and antibiotic-producing actinomycete bacteria; the former are atta......Abstract Multipartner mutualisms have potentially complex dynamics, with compensatory responses when one partner is lost or relegated to a minor role. Fungus-growing ants (Attini) are mutualistic associates of basidiomycete fungi and antibiotic-producing actinomycete bacteria; the former...... are attacked by specialized fungi (Escovopsis) and diverse generalist microbes. Ants deploy biochemical defenses from bacteria and metapleural glands (MGs) and express different behaviors to control contaminants. We studied four Trachymyrmex species that differed in relative abundance of actinomycetes...

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Microbial community structure of leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens and refuse dumps.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jarrod J Scott

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Leaf-cutter ants use fresh plant material to grow a mutualistic fungus that serves as the ants' primary food source. Within fungus gardens, various plant compounds are metabolized and transformed into nutrients suitable for ant consumption. This symbiotic association produces a large amount of refuse consisting primarily of partly degraded plant material. A leaf-cutter ant colony is thus divided into two spatially and chemically distinct environments that together represent a plant biomass degradation gradient. Little is known about the microbial community structure in gardens and dumps or variation between lab and field colonies. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using microbial membrane lipid analysis and a variety of community metrics, we assessed and compared the microbiota of fungus gardens and refuse dumps from both laboratory-maintained and field-collected colonies. We found that gardens contained a diverse and consistent community of microbes, dominated by Gram-negative bacteria, particularly gamma-Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. These findings were consistent across lab and field gardens, as well as host ant taxa. In contrast, dumps were enriched for Gram-positive and anaerobic bacteria. Broad-scale clustering analyses revealed that community relatedness between samples reflected system component (gardens/dumps rather than colony source (lab/field. At finer scales samples clustered according to colony source. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Here we report the first comparative analysis of the microbiota from leaf-cutter ant colonies. Our work reveals the presence of two distinct communities: one in the fungus garden and the other in the refuse dump. Though we find some effect of colony source on community structure, our data indicate the presence of consistently associated microbes within gardens and dumps. Substrate composition and system component appear to be the most important factor in structuring the microbial communities

  20. A mixed community of actinomycetes produce multiple antibiotics for the fungus farming ant Acromyrmex octospinosus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Barke Jörg

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Attine ants live in an intensely studied tripartite mutualism with the fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, which provides food to the ants, and with antibiotic-producing actinomycete bacteria. One hypothesis suggests that bacteria from the genus Pseudonocardia are the sole, co-evolved mutualists of attine ants and are transmitted vertically by the queens. A recent study identified a Pseudonocardia-produced antifungal, named dentigerumycin, associated with the lower attine Apterostigma dentigerum consistent with the idea that co-evolved Pseudonocardia make novel antibiotics. An alternative possibility is that attine ants sample actinomycete bacteria from the soil, selecting and maintaining those species that make useful antibiotics. Consistent with this idea, a Streptomyces species associated with the higher attine Acromyrmex octospinosus was recently shown to produce the well-known antifungal candicidin. Candicidin production is widespread in environmental isolates of Streptomyces, so this could either be an environmental contaminant or evidence of recruitment of useful actinomycetes from the environment. It should be noted that the two possibilities for actinomycete acquisition are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Results In order to test these possibilities we isolated bacteria from a geographically distinct population of A. octospinosus and identified a candicidin-producing Streptomyces species, which suggests that they are common mutualists of attine ants, most probably recruited from the environment. We also identified a Pseudonocardia species in the same ant colony that produces an unusual polyene antifungal, providing evidence for co-evolution of Pseudonocardia with A. octospinosus. Conclusions Our results show that a combination of co-evolution and environmental sampling results in the diversity of actinomycete symbionts and antibiotics associated with attine ants.

  1. 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...

  2. 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...

  3. Polarization Diversity for HF Ground Wave Radar

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    QIAO Xiaolin; JIN Ming

    2001-01-01

    A new method of single sample polar-ization filtering is proposed.The algorithm is fast andsuitable for the polarization processing of stationaryor nonstationary polarized disturbed signals with oneor more independent sources of disturbance.An HFground wave polarimetric radar with the ability of ra-dio disturbance suppression is then introduced.Somenumerical results demonstrate the effectiveness of sin-gle sample polarization filtering method for groundwave polarimetric radar.

  4. 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...

  5. 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.

  6. Discovery of defense- and neuropeptides in social ants by genome-mining.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gruber, Christian W; Muttenthaler, Markus

    2012-01-01

    Natural peptides of great number and diversity occur in all organisms, but analyzing their peptidome is often difficult. With natural product drug discovery in mind, we devised a genome-mining approach to identify defense- and neuropeptides in the genomes of social ants from Atta cephalotes (leaf-cutter ant), Camponotus floridanus (carpenter ant) and Harpegnathos saltator (basal genus). Numerous peptide-encoding genes of defense peptides, in particular defensins, and neuropeptides or regulatory peptide hormones, such as allatostatins and tachykinins, were identified and analyzed. Most interestingly we annotated genes that encode oxytocin/vasopressin-related peptides (inotocins) and their putative receptors. This is the first piece of evidence for the existence of this nonapeptide hormone system in ants (Formicidae) and supports recent findings in Tribolium castaneum (red flour beetle) and Nasonia vitripennis (parasitoid wasp), and therefore its confinement to some basal holometabolous insects. By contrast, the absence of the inotocin hormone system in Apis mellifera (honeybee), another closely-related member of the eusocial Hymenoptera clade, establishes the basis for future studies on the molecular evolution and physiological function of oxytocin/vasopressin-related peptides (vasotocin nonapeptide family) and their receptors in social insects. Particularly the identification of ant inotocin and defensin peptide sequences will provide a basis for future pharmacological characterization in the quest for potent and selective lead compounds of therapeutic value.

  7. Defensive traits exhibit an evolutionary trade-off and drive diversification in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blanchard, Benjamin D; Moreau, Corrie S

    2017-02-01

    Evolutionary biologists have long predicted that evolutionary trade-offs among traits should constrain morphological divergence and species diversification. However, this prediction has yet to be tested in a broad evolutionary context in many diverse clades, including ants. Here, we reconstruct an expanded ant phylogeny representing 82% of ant genera, compile a new family-wide trait database, and conduct various trait-based analyses to show that defensive traits in ants do exhibit an evolutionary trade-off. In particular, the use of a functional sting negatively correlates with a suite of other defensive traits including spines, large eye size, and large colony size. Furthermore, we find that several of the defensive traits that trade off with a sting are also positively correlated with each other and drive increased diversification, further suggesting that these traits form a defensive suite. Our results support the hypothesis that trade-offs in defensive traits significantly constrain trait evolution and influence species diversification in ants. © 2016 The Author(s). Evolution © 2016 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  8. Genetic caste polymorphism and the evolution of polyandry in Atta leaf-cutting ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evison, Sophie Elizabeth Frances; Hughes, William O. H.

    2011-08-01

    Multiple mating by females with different males (polyandry) is difficult to explain in many taxa because it carries significant costs to females, yet benefits are often hard to identify. Polyandry is a derived trait in social insects, the evolutionary origins of which remain unclear. One of several leading hypotheses for its evolution is that it improves division of labour by increasing intra-colonial genetic diversity. Division of labour is a key player in the ecological success of social insects, and in many successful species of ants is based on morphologically distinct castes of workers, each with their own task specialisations. Atta leaf-cutting ants exhibit one of the most extreme and complicated forms of morphologically specialised worker castes and have been reported to be polyandrous but with relatively low mating frequencies (~2.5 on average). Here, we show for the first time that there is a significant genetic influence on worker size in Atta colombica leaf-cutting ants. We also provide the first estimate of the mating frequency of Atta cephalotes (four matings) and, by analysing much higher within-colony sample sizes, find that Atta are more polyandrous than previously thought (approximately six to seven matings). The results show that high polyandry and a genetic influence on worker caste are present in both genera of leaf-cutting ants and add weight to the hypothesis that division of labour is a potential driver of the evolution of polyandry in this clade of ants.

  9. Discovery of defense- and neuropeptides in social ants by genome-mining.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian W Gruber

    Full Text Available Natural peptides of great number and diversity occur in all organisms, but analyzing their peptidome is often difficult. With natural product drug discovery in mind, we devised a genome-mining approach to identify defense- and neuropeptides in the genomes of social ants from Atta cephalotes (leaf-cutter ant, Camponotus floridanus (carpenter ant and Harpegnathos saltator (basal genus. Numerous peptide-encoding genes of defense peptides, in particular defensins, and neuropeptides or regulatory peptide hormones, such as allatostatins and tachykinins, were identified and analyzed. Most interestingly we annotated genes that encode oxytocin/vasopressin-related peptides (inotocins and their putative receptors. This is the first piece of evidence for the existence of this nonapeptide hormone system in ants (Formicidae and supports recent findings in Tribolium castaneum (red flour beetle and Nasonia vitripennis (parasitoid wasp, and therefore its confinement to some basal holometabolous insects. By contrast, the absence of the inotocin hormone system in Apis mellifera (honeybee, another closely-related member of the eusocial Hymenoptera clade, establishes the basis for future studies on the molecular evolution and physiological function of oxytocin/vasopressin-related peptides (vasotocin nonapeptide family and their receptors in social insects. Particularly the identification of ant inotocin and defensin peptide sequences will provide a basis for future pharmacological characterization in the quest for potent and selective lead compounds of therapeutic value.

  10. Single-stranded RNA viruses infecting the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gruber, Monica A M; Cooling, Meghan; Baty, James W; Buckley, Kevin; Friedlander, Anna; Quinn, Oliver; Russell, Jessica F E J; Sébastien, Alexandra; Lester, Philip J

    2017-06-12

    Social insects host a diversity of viruses. We examined New Zealand populations of the globally widely distributed invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) for RNA viruses. We used metatranscriptomic analysis, which identified six potential novel viruses in the Dicistroviridae family. Of these, three contigs were confirmed by Sanger sequencing as Linepithema humile virus-1 (LHUV-1), a novel strain of Kashmir bee virus (KBV) and Black queen cell virus (BQCV), while the others were chimeric or misassembled sequences. We extended the known sequence of LHUV-1 to confirm its placement in the Dicistroviridae and categorised its relationship to closest relatives, which were all viruses infecting Hymenoptera. We examined further for known viruses by mapping our metatranscriptomic sequences to all viral genomes, and confirmed KBV, BQCV, LHUV-1 and Deformed wing virus (DWV) presence using qRT-PCR. Viral replication was confirmed for DWV, KBV and LHUV-1. Viral titers in ants were higher in the presence of honey bee hives. Argentine ants appear to host a range of' honey bee' pathogens in addition to a virus currently described only from this invasive ant. The role of these viruses in the population dynamics of the ant remain to be determined, but offer potential targets for biocontrol approaches.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. 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...

  18. Ground Wars

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis

    Political campaigns today are won or lost in the so-called ground war--the strategic deployment of teams of staffers, volunteers, and paid part-timers who work the phones and canvass block by block, house by house, voter by voter. Ground Wars provides an in-depth ethnographic portrait of two...... infrastructures that utilize large databases with detailed individual-level information for targeting voters, and armies of dedicated volunteers and paid part-timers. Nielsen challenges the notion that political communication in America must be tightly scripted, controlled, and conducted by a select coterie...... of professionals. Yet he also quashes the romantic idea that canvassing is a purer form of grassroots politics. In today's political ground wars, Nielsen demonstrates, even the most ordinary-seeming volunteer knocking at your door is backed up by high-tech targeting technologies and party expertise. Ground Wars...

  19. 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...

  20. 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...

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Fire in the Amazon: impact of experimental fuel addition on responses of ants and their interactions with myrmecochorous seeds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paolucci, Lucas N; Maia, Maria L B; Solar, Ricardo R C; Campos, Ricardo I; Schoereder, José H; Andersen, Alan N

    2016-10-01

    The widespread clearing of tropical forests causes lower tree cover, drier microclimate, and higher and drier fuel loads of forest edges, increasing the risk of fire occurrence and its intensity. We used a manipulative field experiment to investigate the influence of fire and fuel loads on ant communities and their interactions with myrmecochorous seeds in the southern Amazon, a region currently undergoing extreme land-use intensification. Experimental fires and fuel addition were applied to 40 × 40-m plots in six replicated blocks, and ants were sampled between 15 and 30 days after fires in four strata: subterranean, litter, epigaeic, and arboreal. Fire had extensive negative effects on ant communities. Highly specialized cryptobiotic and predator species of the litter layer and epigaeic specialist predators were among the most sensitive, but we did not find evidence of overall biotic homogenization following fire. Fire reduced rates of location and transport of myrmecochorous seeds, and therefore the effectiveness of a key ecosystem service provided by ants, which we attribute to lower ant abundance and increased thermal stress. Experimental fuel addition had only minor effects on attributes of fire severity, and limited effects on ant responses to fire. Our findings indicate that enhanced fuel loads will not decrease ant diversity and ecosystem services through increased fire severity, at least in wetter years. However, higher fuel loads can still have a significant effect on ants from Amazonian rainforests because they increase the risk of fire occurrence, which has a detrimental impact on ant communities and a key ecosystem service they provide.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Metagenomic and metaproteomic insights into bacterial communities in leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aylward, Frank O; Burnum, Kristin E; Scott, Jarrod J; Suen, Garret; Tringe, Susannah G; Adams, Sandra M; Barry, Kerrie W; Nicora, Carrie D; Piehowski, Paul D; Purvine, Samuel O; Starrett, Gabriel J; Goodwin, Lynne A; Smith, Richard D; Lipton, Mary S; Currie, Cameron R

    2012-09-01

    Herbivores gain access to nutrients stored in plant biomass largely by harnessing the metabolic activities of microbes. Leaf-cutter ants of the genus Atta are a hallmark example; these dominant neotropical herbivores cultivate symbiotic fungus gardens on large quantities of fresh plant forage. As the external digestive system of the ants, fungus gardens facilitate the production and sustenance of millions of workers. Using metagenomic and metaproteomic techniques, we characterize the bacterial diversity and physiological potential of fungus gardens from two species of Atta. Our analysis of over 1.2 Gbp of community metagenomic sequence and three 16S pyrotag libraries reveals that in addition to harboring the dominant fungal crop, these ecosystems contain abundant populations of Enterobacteriaceae, including the genera Enterobacter, Pantoea, Klebsiella, Citrobacter and Escherichia. We show that these bacterial communities possess genes associated with lignocellulose degradation and diverse biosynthetic pathways, suggesting that they play a role in nutrient cycling by converting the nitrogen-poor forage of the ants into B-vitamins, amino acids and other cellular components. Our metaproteomic analysis confirms that bacterial glycosyl hydrolases and proteins with putative biosynthetic functions are produced in both field-collected and laboratory-reared colonies. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that fungus gardens are specialized fungus-bacteria communities that convert plant material into energy for their ant hosts. Together with recent investigations into the microbial symbionts of vertebrates, our work underscores the importance of microbial communities in the ecology and evolution of herbivorous metazoans.

  12. Metagenomic and metaproteomic insights into bacterial communities in leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Aylward, Frank O.; Burnum, Kristin E.; Scott, Jarrod J.; Suen, Garret; Tringe, Susannah G.; Adams, Sandra M.; Barry, Kerrie W.; Nicora, Carrie D.; Piehowski, Paul D.; Purvine, Samuel O.; Starrett, Gabriel J.; Goodwin, Lynne A.; Smith, Richard D.; Lipton, Mary S.; Currie, Cameron R.

    2012-09-01

    Herbivores gain access to nutrients stored in plant biomass largely by harnessing the metabolic activities of microbes. Leaf-cutter ants of the genus Atta are a hallmark example; these dominant Neotropical herbivores cultivate symbiotic fungus gardens on massive quantities of fresh plant forage. As the external digestive system of the ants, fungus gardens facilitate the production and sustenance of millions of workers in mature Atta colonies. Here we use metagenomic, and metaproteomic techniques to characterize the bacterial diversity and overall physiological potential of fungus gardens from two species of Atta. Our analysis of over 1.2 Gbp of community metagenomic sequence and three 16S pyrotag libraries reveals that, in addition to harboring the dominant fungal crop, these ecosystems contain abundant populations of Enterobacteriaceae, including the genera Enterobacter, Pantoea, Klebsiella, Citrobacter, and Escherichia. We show that these bacterial communities possess genes commonly associated with lignocellulose degradation, and likely participate in the processing of plant biomass. Additionally, we demonstrate that bacteria in these environments encode a diverse suite of biosynthetic pathways, and that they may enrich the nitrogen-poor forage of the ants with B-vitamins, amino acids, and proteins. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that fungus gardens are highly-specialized fungus-bacteria communities that efficiently convert plant material into usable energy for their ant hosts. Together with recent investigations into the microbial symbionts of vertebrates, our work underscores the importance of microbial communities to the ecology and evolution of herbivorous metazoans.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  14. Indirect interactions between ant-tended hemipterans, a dominant ant Azteca instabilis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), and shade trees in a tropical agroecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Livingston, George F; White, Adam M; Kratz, Carley J

    2008-06-01

    The occurrence, intensity, and composition of mutualisms are dependent not only on the co-occurrence of mutualists, but also the broader biotic context in which they are embedded. Here, the influence of the specific nest tree identity of the ant Azteca instabilis (F. Smith) on the density of the green coffee scale (Coccus viridis Green) was studied in a coffee agroecosystem in southern Mexico. The hypothesis that an indirect competitive interaction for ant attendance occurs between a scale species (Octolecanium sp. Kondo) in the canopy of the shade tree Inga micheliana Harms and C. viridis, which inhabits coffee bushes (Coffea arabica) beneath the shade trees was tested. Coffee bushes beneath a different shade tree species (Alchornea latifolia Swartz) were used as an indication of C. viridis density in a noncompetitive environment. Results indicate that C. viridis occurs in significantly lower density adjacent to nests in Inga, supporting the hypothesis of indirect competition. Additional experimentation suggests that there is a mutualism between Azteca and Octolecanium and that this interaction may be mediated by a hierarchy in ant attendance of scale insects. Our results show the importance of considering the biotic context of ant-hemipteran mutualisms. In coffee agroecosystems, consideration of shade tree diversity and species composition may be directly applicable to the biological control of insect pests.

  15. Colonization and persistence of urban ant populations as revealed by joint estimation of kinship and population genetic parameters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamamoto, Junpei; Uchida, Kei; Takami, Yasuoki

    2013-01-01

    The decrease in biodiversity due to increasing urbanization has been well documented, but the processes of colonization and maintenance of wildlife populations in urban areas remain poorly understood. We address this issue using 462 individuals from 10 urban populations of the ant Formica japonica in Kobe City, Japan. We sampled workers regardless of colony identity, genotyped them using 6 microsatellite loci, and estimated allele frequencies and genotypes of reproductive individuals, together with other population genetic parameters, by estimating kinship structure using a likelihood method. Estimated genetic diversity and effective size of populations were not associated with environmental parameters, suggesting that populations are unaffected by urbanization. However, effective population sizes were small, and frequent population bottlenecks were detected. These results suggest that urban F. japonica populations are unstable, and the possibility of frequent extinctions and recolonizations in urban habitats. Populations were moderately differentiated without isolation by distance, suggesting a strong dispersal ability that enables colonization of urban habitats. Dispersal was male biased. Collectively, F. japonica was regarded as an urban adapter, which can colonize urban habitats by virtue of its preference for open ground and high dispersal ability but can persist in urban populations for only a short time, showing a tendency as a temporary urban inhabitant.

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. The expression and impact of antifungal grooming in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reber, A; Purcell, J; Buechel, S D; Buri, P; Chapuisat, M

    2011-05-01

    Parasites can cause extensive damage to animal societies in which many related individuals frequently interact. In response, social animals have evolved diverse individual and collective defences. Here, we measured the expression and efficiency of self-grooming and allo-grooming when workers of the ant Formica selysi were contaminated with spores of the fungal entomopathogen Metarhizium anisopliae. The amount of self-grooming increased in the presence of fungal spores, which shows that the ants are able to detect the risk of infection. In contrast, the amount of allo-grooming did not depend on fungal contamination. Workers groomed all nestmate workers that were re-introduced into their groups. The amount of allo-grooming towards noncontaminated individuals was higher when the group had been previously exposed to the pathogen. Allo-grooming decreased the number of fungal spores on the surface of contaminated workers, but did not prevent infection in the conditions tested (high dose of spores and late allo-grooming). The rate of disease transmission to groomers and other nestmates was extremely low. The systematic allo-grooming of all individuals returning to the colony, be they contaminated or not, is probably a simple but robust prophylactic defence preventing the spread of fungal diseases in insect societies.

  19. Mutualistic ants contribute to tank-bromeliad nutrition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leroy, Céline; Carrias, Jean-François; Corbara, Bruno; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Dézerald, Olivier; Brouard, Olivier; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2013-09-01

    Epiphytism imposes physiological constraints resulting from the lack of access to the nutrient sources available to ground-rooted plants. A conspicuous adaptation in response to that lack is the phytotelm (plant-held waters) of tank-bromeliad species that are often nutrient-rich. Associations with terrestrial invertebrates also result in higher plant nutrient acquisition. Assuming that tank-bromeliads rely on reservoir-assisted nutrition, it was hypothesized that the dual association with mutualistic ants and the phytotelm food web provides greater nutritional benefits to the plant compared with those bromeliads involved in only one of these two associations. Quantitative (water volume, amount of fine particulate organic matter, predator/prey ratio, algal density) and qualitative variables (ant-association and photosynthetic pathways) were compared for eight tank- and one tankless-bromeliad morphospecies from French Guiana. An analysis was also made of which of these variables affect nitrogen acquisition (leaf N and δ(15)N). All variables were significantly different between tank-bromeliad species. Leaf N concentrations and leaf δ(15)N were both positively correlated with the presence of mutualistic ants. The amount of fine particulate organic matter and predator/prey ratio had a positive and negative effect on leaf δ(15)N, respectively. Water volume was positively correlated with leaf N concentration whereas algal density was negatively correlated. Finally, the photosynthetic pathway (C3 vs. CAM) was positively correlated with leaf N concentration with a slightly higher N concentration for C3-Tillandsioideae compared with CAM-Bromelioideae. The study suggests that some of the differences in N nutrition between bromeliad species can be explained by the presence of mutualistic ants. From a nutritional standpoint, it is more advantageous for a bromeliad to use myrmecotrophy via its roots than to use carnivory via its tank. The results highlight a gap in our

  20. 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.

  1. Plant Killing by Mutualistic Ants Increases the Density of Host Species Seedlings in the Dry Forest of Costa Rica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sabrina Amador-Vargas

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Some species of plant-mutualistic ants kill the vegetation growing in the vicinities of their host plant, creating an area of bare ground (clearing. The reduced competition in the clearing may facilitate the establishment of host species sprouts (clones and seedlings, which in turn benefits the ants with additional food and shelter (“sprout-establishment hypothesis”. To test this hypothesis, the density and origin of Acacia collinsii sprouts growing inside clearings and in the vicinities of acacia plants without clearings were compared. Also, to assess the pruning selectivity of acacia ants (Pseudomyrmex spinicola, seedlings were transplanted into clearings. The reaction of ants towards unrewarding acacia seedlings (without food and shelter was also tested. The density of acacia sprouts growing inside clearings was almost twice that in the vicinities of host plants without clearings, and sprouts were inhabited by nestmates of the colony that made the clearing. Clones and seedlings were found in similar proportions in the clearings, and ants did not kill unrewarding acacia seedlings or seedlings unrelated to their host. The benefit reported here for the ants could be in conflict with the host plant, especially when the plant has rhizomal reproduction.

  2. 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

    Full Text Available Prey diversity and temporal foraging patterns of six abundant, predatory ant species were investigated seasonally in an agroecosystem with two main vegetable crops. Pheidole sp. demonstrated the highest predation success and therefore appears to be the dominant species while Tapinoma melanocephalum showed the lowest success under the natural field conditions. Investigation of prey diversity and temporal activity patterns with the null model tests of niche overlap revealed a significant overlap indicating that the activity periods and prey diversity may not be solely influenced by interactions among the co-existing ant species. However, niche partitioning in the daily peak activity periods was demonstrated during all the three seasons (summer, rainy and winter particularly between Pheidole sp. and T. melanocephalum. Pheidole sp. exhibited a high intensity, broadly extended mono-modal foraging pattern. Camponotus compressus and C. paria showed bi-modality in their foraging activity during the rainy season and mono-modal patterns during summer and winter seasons. Pachycondyla tesserinoda, Tetramorium sp. and T. melanocephalum exhibited peak foraging activities in the morning hours during the summer and rainy seasons. The activity profiles of C. compressus and T. melanocephalum were skewed towards late afternoon hours during the winter season indicating avoidance of foraging activity during the favourable periods when the more aggressive Pheidole sp. is active. In the sponge gourd agroecosystem, the ants captured predominantly hymenopteran, orthopteran and coleopteran insects. While Pheidole sp. hunted mainly the large orthopteran prey, other ant species captured worker ants in the sponge gourd agroecosystem. In the cauliflower agroecosystem, while other species captured prey chiefly belonging to six orders, i.e., Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Isoptera and Diptera, Pheidole sp. was the only species to also hunt orthopteran prey

  3. 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 diversity and temporal foraging patterns of six abundant, predatory ant species were investigated seasonally in an ngroeeosystem with two main vegetable crops. Pheidole sp. demonstrated the highest predation success and therefore appears to be the dominant species while Tapinoma melanocephalum showed the lowest success under the natural field conditions. Investigation of prey diversity and temporal activity patterns with the null model tests of niche overlap revealed a significant overlap indicating that the activity periods and prey diversity may not be solely influenced by interactions among the co-existing ant species. However, niche partitioning in the daily peak activity periods was demonstrated during all the three seasons (summer, rainy and winter) particularly between Pheidole sp. and T. melanocephalum. Pheidole sp. exhibited a high intensity, broadly extended mono-modal foraging pattern. Camponotus compressus and C. paria showed bi-modality in their foraging activity during the rainy season and mono-modal patterns during summer and winter seasons. Pachycondyla tesserinoda, Tetramorium sp. and T. melanocephalum exhibited peak foraging activities in the morning hours during the summer and rainy seasons. The activity profiles of C. compressus and T. melanocephalum were skewed towards late afternoon hours during the winter season indicating avoidance of foraging activity during the favourable periods when the more aggressive Phe/do/e sp. is active. In the sponge gourd agroecosystem, the ants captured predominantly hymenopteran, orthopteran and eoleopteran insects. While Pheidole sp. hunted mainly the large orthopteran prey, other ant species captured worker ants in the sponge gourd ngroeeosystem. In the cauliflower ngroecosystem, while other species captured prey chiefly belonging to six orders, i. e., Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Isoptera and Diptera, Pheidole sp. and P. tesserinoda were the only species to also hunt many orthopteran

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  6. 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