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|Type:||Artigo de periódico|
|Title:||Interactions between ants, fruits and seeds in a restinga forest in south-eastern Brazil|
|Abstract:||Fleshy diaspores (fruits, seeds) comprise a large portion of the litter on the floor of tropical forests, and interactions involving litter-foraging ants and diaspores are common in these areas. In this study, the interactions between ants and non-myrmecochorous diaspores (i.e. not adapted to dispersal by ants) were surveyed along a 1.4-km transect in a restinga forest (sandy soil) on the coast of south-eastern Brazil. During 2 y of monthly samplings, 562 interactions involving 48 ant species and 44 species of diaspore (0.02-11.10 g) were recorded. Ant-diaspore associations involved a considerable part of the ground-dwelling ant community. Large ponerine ants individually removed the diaspores up to 13 m, whereas small ants (myrmicines) normally recruited workers and consumed the diaspore on the spot. Ant-derived benefits to diaspores of non-myrmecochorous plants included secondary dispersal (small to medium-sized diaspores), and increased germination success after seed cleaning by ants. Large ponerine ants such as Odontomachus chelifer and Pachycondyla striata were the main seed vectors. Seedlings of three species were associated with nests of O. chelifer. The results indicate that ants play an important role in fruit/seed biology in the restinga forest.|
|Editor:||Cambridge Univ Press|
|Appears in Collections:||Unicamp - Artigos e Outros Documentos|
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