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Type: Artigo de periódico
Title: Amazonian ant-plant interactions and the nesting space limitation hypothesis
Author: Fonseca, CR
Abstract: Throughout the tropics there are a few hundred ant species that nest exclusively inside myrmecophytes (i.e. ant-domatia bearing plants). For these ante, nesting space is an essential resource that must be shared among them, therefore opening the possibility for strong intraspecific and interspecific competition. Several ant-myrmecophyte systems from Central Amazonia were investigated to test the relevance and generality of the nesting space limitation hypothesis for plant-ants. Empirical patterns were drawn at four organizational levels: (a) individual level-ant species with small-bodied queens were the most frequent partners of myrmecophyte species offering small-sized domatia, while ants with large-bodied queens dominated host species with large-sized domatia, suggesting that host choice by inseminated queens and interspecific conflicts over host dominance seem to be influenced by space limitation; (b) colony level-in eight independent ant-myrmecophyte systems, ant colony size was positively correlated to the number of domatia provided by the host, and the mean occupancy level of the domatia by ants was 92%, suggesting that space can be limiting to colony growth; (c) population level-ant colony number and distribution was determined by the local availability and distribution of its plant partners; and (d) community level-across ant-myrmecophyte systems, the commonness of ant species were largely determined by the commonness of their specialized host partners. Within ant-myrmecophyte systems, rarity of ants seems to be defined by interspecific conflicts over host dominance. The ecological and evolutionary consequences of those patterns are discussed.
Subject: body size
colony size
community structure
insect-plant interaction
limiting factor
nesting site
population size
Country: EUA
Editor: Cambridge Univ Press
Rights: embargo
Identifier DOI: 10.1017/S0266467499001194
Date Issue: 1999
Appears in Collections:Unicamp - Artigos e Outros Documentos

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