Defining Habitat Use by the Parabiotic Ants Camponotus femoratus (Fabricius, 1804) and Crematogaster levior Longino, 2003

Ricardo Eduardo Vicente, Thiago Junqueira Izzo


Ant-garden ants have a strong relationship with epiphytes that need light to grow, for these reason, it has been previously documented in forest gaps. Moreover, larger gaps have more available area for nesting and habitats for use as forage. Thus we hypothesize that 1) canopy openness influence the presence of ant´s gardens in gaps, and 2) greater gaps will have more nests, and 3) both openness canopy and area determine the colony size in forest gaps. Furthermore, it is known that parabiotic ants foraging on the ground and in vegetation, the nests are arboreal. So, we also hypothesize that 4) parabiotic ants are more often sampled in arboreal strata and 5) increasing vegetation connectivity and the volume of accumulated litter in the soil increase the foraging of the ants in vegetation and ground, respectively, with the increase in canopy openness increasing the activity of the two species in both strata. Presence, number of Ant-gardens, as colony size, was affected by area and locality, but not by canopy openness. Nevertheless, there was not overall difference in the use of strata by Camponotus femoratus, neither by Crematogaster levior. On the other hand, frequency of C. femoratus on the ground decreases with canopy openness but is not affected by the vegetation connectivity.  Also, C. levior frequency on the ground also decreases with the increase of complexity of vegetation and canopy openness. In addition, neither vegetation connectivity, or canopy openness influence the frequency of foraging of these ants in understory.


Canopy openness; Gap size; Habitat Use; Niche partitioning; Vegetation connectivity; Vertical habitat

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