Daily Foraging Activity of Acromyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Leaf-cutting ants
Keywords:Attini, ecology behavior, forest pests, Pinus
Leaf-cutting ants are well-known insects due to their remarkable activity as herbivores and the considerable economic damage they cause to many crops. The identification of season and time of day when leaf-cutting ants are most active is an important tool, not just to understand the foraging ecology of these ants, but also to optimize their control in plantation areas where they were pests. Thus, the aims of this study are to evaluate the daily foraging activity of leaf-cutting ant species of the genus Acromyrmex, which occur in forest plantations in Southern Brazil. Foraging activity of Acromyrmex crassispinus (Forel) and Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus (Forel) were correlated with weather conditions, and it was more intense during spring and summer. Workers that forage at night are significantly heavier than workers that forage during the day. This study showed that A. crassispinus and A. subterraneus subterraneus did not forage at temperatures below 10-11°C. Then, the use of granulated baits to control these leaf-cutting ants species where they were pests should be done just under favorable conditions of temperature for Acromyrmex foraging activity (over 12°C), to ensure maximum collection of baits by ants and the least left-over baits.
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