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Type: Artigo de periódico
Title: Foliage-dwelling Ants In A Neotropical Savanna: Effects Of Plant And Insect Exudates On Ant Communities
Abstract: Ant dominance in tropical ecosystems can be explained by a capacity to exploit liquid foods such as extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) and secretions from honeydew-producing hemipterans (HPHs). Such nutritious exudates may determine ant distribution in space and shape specialization in ant–plant interactions. We provide a first assessment of how EFNs and HPHs mediate the structure of ant assemblages, ant visitation intensity, and characteristics of ant–plant interaction networks across space in Brazilian “cerrado” savanna. We used arboreal pitfall traps to sample visiting ants in four cerrado localities and recorded the presence of lepidopteran larvae to determine their possible response to ant visitation. Ant species composition and richness did not differ regardless of the presence of liquid rewards on plants, and most network patterns did not show consistent differences. However, in two of the four sites, ant densities were higher on plants with HPHs or EFNs due to increased activity by Camponotus and Pseudomyrmex ants. At these two sites, plants with liquid food sources had a more specific ant assemblage (higher specialization d′) than did plants without resources, and caterpillars were more frequently found on plants with fewer workers of Camponotus and Pseudomyrmex. Plants with HPHs had increased ant visitation and accumulated more ant species than did plants with EFNs or without liquid foods. Ant response to such food sources may thus depend on local conditions and identity of ant species, and may determine how ant assemblages are structured. Results highlight how different patterns of ant visitation to liquid resources can produce distinctive effects on herbivore infestation. © 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Editor: Springer Netherlands
Rights: fechado
Identifier DOI: 10.1007/s11829-016-9423-2
Date Issue: 2016
Appears in Collections:Unicamp - Artigos e Outros Documentos

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