The influence of environmental complexity on the worker morphometry of ant assemblages
Keywords:Size-grain hypothesis, environmental body size, complexity, restinga vegetation.
AbstractThe objective of the present study was to test whether environmental complexity influences the morphology of leaf litter worker ants, as predicted by the size-grain hypothesis. We collected data from three types of vegetation (shrubby, shrubby-arboreal, and arboreal) in Restinga da Marambaia, southeastern Brazil. The shrubby vegetation had a very superficial leaf litter compared to the other two vegetation types. We measured head width, body length, and femur length of the ants collected in each vegetation type. We used average head width (HW) as a proxy for body size. The shrubby-arboreal and arboreal vegetation types were assumed to represent more rugose environments than the shrubby vegetation. Leg length allometry was observed in each and all vegetation types. We did not find significant differences in body size and allometry of ant assemblage among vegetation types. Hence, the size-grain hypothesis was corroborated only for leg allometry, but it did not predict a general environmental influence on ant morphometry.
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