Litter Surface Temperature: A Driving Factor Affecting Foraging Activity in Dinoponera lucida (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Flávio Curbani, Cássio Zocca, Rodrigo B. Ferreira, Cecilia Waichert, Tathiana Guerra Sobrinho, Ana Carolina Srbek-Araujo


Dinoponera lucida is a poneromorph ant endemic to the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. The species is classified as endangered in Brazil’s Red List due to its peculiar reproductive biology and high habitat fragmentation. Herein, we characterize D. lucida foraging activity and response to litter surface temperature in a lowland forest remnant in south-eastern Brazil. The mean flow of workers at nest openings was 3.8 ± 0.6 per hour, mean foraging trip was 14.2 ± 2.2 min, and mean foraging distance was 3.8 ± 0.4 m. The time spent per foraging trip and litter surface temperature were positively correlated. Flow of workers at nest openings was higher with mean temperature of litter surface between 21.0 and 27.0 °C. Our results show that D. lucida has a diurnal foraging activity related to habitat temperature. Our data contribute to the knowledge about the ecology of D. lucida and support the hypothesis of optimal food foraging regulated by habitat temperature. In addition, the better understanding of D. lucida activity patterns can assist on conservation planning of this endangered and endemic ant.


optimal foraging; poneromorph ants; litter surface; microclimate; diet

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