Food competition mechanism between Solenopsis invicta Buren and Tapinoma melanocephalum Fabricius
Keywords:Solenopsis invicta, Tapinoma melanocephalum, interspecific coexistence, interspecific competition
This study compared the amount of food resource depletion and interference competition at the individual and colony levels between Solenopsis invicta and Tapinoma melanocephalum laboratory colonies. The consumption of sausage, honey water, and mealworm by S. invicta colonies of equal worker number was higher than that by T. melanocephalum colonies. The consumption of sausage and honey water by S. invicta colonies of equal worker number was significantly higher than that by T. melanocephalum colonies. However, the amounts of sausage, honey water, and mealworm depleted by S. invicta colonies of equal worker biomass were lower than those depleted by T. melanocephalum colonies. The consumption of sausage and mealworm by S. invicta colonies of equal worker biomass were also significantly lower than that by T. melanocephalum colonies. Individual-level interference competition between S. invicta and T. melanocephalum colonies in limited space was intense. Competition intensity and the death rate reached their maximum when the worker numbers of both colonies were equal. In any proportion, the death rate of T. melanocephalum reached over 80%, higher than that of S. invicta.
S. invicta colonies of equal worker biomass and equal worker number recruited more workers for colony-level interference competition and used more resources. However, the death rates among S. invicta colonies were higher than those among T. melanocephalum colonies. The active resource plundering of S. invicta reflected their intense competitiveness and limited the range of activity of T. melanocephalum.
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