Seasonal Patterns of the Foraging Ecology of Myrmelachista arthuri Forel, 1903 (Formicidae: Formicinae)

Gustavo Henrique Castro, Débora Yumi Kayano, Rodrigo Fernando Souza, Alexandre Wagner Hilsdorf, Rodrigo Machado Feitosa, Maria Santina Morini

Abstract


Temporal dynamics of foraging activity, diet and habitat are key to understanding the bioecology of ants. These patterns are poorly studied in many Neotropical species, such as those belonging to genus Myrmelachista. In the present work, we investigate the foraging behavior and diet of M. arthuri and describe aspects of their food-searching behavior. We recorded the dynamics of workers exiting and entering nests built in the stems of native Atlantic forest trees during the cold/dry and warm/wet seasons. Food items carried by workers were also counted and identified. Myrmelachista arthuri foraged throughout the day, but worker activity became more intense as temperature increased and moisture declined, regardless of the season, and especially in the afternoon. This species had a generalist diet: 92% of the food items were live or dead arthropods or their remains, and a small proportion consisted of plant materials, such as seeds. Arthropod fragments, mostly of M. arthuri workers, represented the largest proportion of the diet, followed by whole Collembola individuals. Food items did not vary between seasons, the number of items was higher in the cold/dry season. The results of this work contribute to the understanding of M. arthuri biology, especially related to foraging dynamics.

Keywords


foraging pattern; arboreal ant; diet; Alchornea triplinervia; Mimosa bimucronata

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v64i3.1629

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