Arboreal Ant Assemblages Respond Differently to Food Source and Vegetation Physiognomies: a Study in the Brazilian Atlantic Rain Forest

Janete Jane Resende, Paulo Enrique Cardoso Peixoto, Evandro Nascimento Silva, Jacques Hubert Charles Delabie, Gilberto M. M. Santos


This study aimed to analyze assemblages of arboreal ants in different vegetation physiognomies within the Tropical Moist Forest (Atlantic Rain Forest) domain. The study was carried out at the Michelin Ecological Reserve, State of Bahia, Northeast of Brazil. We used sardine (protein resource) and honey (carbohydrate resource) baits to collect ants foraging in three vegetation types: (1) preserved native forest, (2) forest in regeneration (capoeira) with many invasive plants and (3) a mixed agroystem of rubber and cocoa tree plantation. We recorded 69 ant species attracted to the baits, 21 of them exclusive to honey bait and 25 exclusive to the sardine baits. The vegetation physiognomies preserved forest and rubber/cacao agrosystem showed higher species richness in relation to the forest in regeneration (capoeira), suggesting that rubber tree plantations can be a good matrix for the maintenance of some ant species typical of the forest matrix. The type of resource used is important for the structuring of the arboreal ant assemblages. The ants that were attracted to protein resources showed a guild composition that is more differentiated between vegetation types that of ants attracted to glucose resources.


preference; resource preference; matrix quality; Formicidae, Community Ecology

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