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|Type:||Artigo de periódico|
|Title:||Exploitation of Fallen Diaspores by Ants: Are there Ant-Plant Partner Choices?|
|Abstract:||Ants frequently interact with fleshy fallen diaspores (fruits or seeds) not adapted for ant-dispersal. Such interactions are usually considered as opportunistic, but recent evidence has indicated that these ants may differ in their effects on diaspore survival and plant recruitment. We investigated if partner choices are recognizable among genera of ants and plants, and if ant and plant traits may influence such preferences in cerrado (savanna-like vegetation) from southeast Brazil. During a 2-yr period, 521 antdiaspore interactions were recorded through various methods, yielding 71 ant species and 38 plant species. Exploitation of fallen diaspores was common among several ant genera, and included carnivorous, omnivorous, and fungivorous ants. Contrary to others areas around the world, where true myrmecochory (seed dispersal by ants) is common among shrubs, ants also exploited diaspores from several cerrado trees. Plant life form, diaspore size, and ant body size did not seem to explain the pattern of interactions observed. Two subsets of preferential interactions, however, segregated fungivorous ants from another group composed of carnivorous and omnivorous ants, probably influenced by the chemical composition of the plant diaspores. Omnivorous ants usually remove the fleshy portion of diaspores on spot and probably provide limited benefits to plants. Carnivorous and fungivorous ants usually remove the whole diaspore to the nest. As each of these ant groups may influence the fitness of diaspores in different ways, there are possible subtle pathways for the evolution of partner choices between ants and these non-myrmecochorous diaspores.|
|Appears in Collections:||Unicamp - Artigos e Outros Documentos|
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