Population Dynamics of Acromyrmex crassispinus (Forel) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Attacks on Pinus taeda Linnaeus (Pinaceae) plantations


  • Mariane Aparecida Nickele Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brasil.
  • Wilson Reis Filho Epagri/Embrapa Florestas, Colombo, PR, Brazil.




Control, leaf-cutting ants, nest density, nuptial flight, spatial distribution


This work aimed to study the population dynamics of Acromyrmex crassispinus (Forel) in Pinus taeda L. plantations, evaluating the density and spatial distribution of nests over time, inferring about the period of the first nuptial flight of A. crassispinus colonies, and evaluating the levels of attack of this leaf-cutting ant on P. taeda plants. Assessments were performed monthly in the first year after planting, every three months until the third year and every six months until the plantation was six years old. The presence of nests was observed only after 15 months after planting. The nest density gradually increased until the planting completed 30 months, and decreased when the forest canopy began to close (after 54 months). Spatial distribution of A. crassispinus nests was random. Probably, the first nuptial flight of an A. crassispinus colony occurs after the third year of the colony foundation. Pinus taeda plants were not attacked by A. crassispinus throughout the evaluation period. Then, when dealing with a replanting area of Pinus plantation, where the previous forest has not been subject to pruning nor thinning, the problem with A. crassispinus is almost null if the clearcutting and the new planting occur during the winter. In this case, leaf-cutting ants control can be alleviated and it is not necessary to carry out systematic control of ants where A. crassispinus is the predominant leaf cutting ant species. Acromyrmex crassispinus control should be done only if nests are located or if attacked plants by ants are detected.


Download data is not yet available.


Autuori, M. (1941). Contribuição para o conhecimento da saúva (Atta spp. – Hymenoptera - Formicidae). I – Evolução do sauveiro (Atta sexdens rubropilosa, Forel, 1908). Arquivos do Instituto Biológico, 12: 197-228.

Autuori, M. (1942). Contribuição para o conhecimento da saúva (Atta spp. – Hymenoptera – Formicidae). II. O sauveiro inicial (Atta sexdens rubropilosa, Forel, 1908). Arquivos do Instituto Biológico, 13: 67-86.

Abraf. (2011). Anuário estatístico da ABRAF 2012: ano base 2010. Brasília: ABRAF, 150p.

Boaretto, M. A. C. &Forti, L. C. (1997). Perspectivas no controle de formigas cortadeiras. Série técnica IPEF, 11: 31-46.

Caldeira, M. C., Zanetti, R., Morais, J. C. & Zanúncio, J. C. (2005). Distribuição espacial de sauveiros (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) em eucaliptais. Cerne, 11: 34-39.

Cantarelli, E. B., Costa, E. C., Zanetti, R. & Pezzutti, R. V. (2006). Plano de amostragem de Acromyrmex spp. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) em áreas de pré-plantio de Pinus spp. Ciência Rural, 36: 385-390.

Cherrett, J.M. (1983). The economic importance and control of leafcutting ants. In: VINSON, S.B. (Ed.). Economic impact and control of social insects. New York: Praeger, 1986. p.165‑192.

Croft, B. A. &Hoyt, S. C. (1983). Integrated management of insects pests of pome and stone fruits. New York, Wiley Interscience, 454 p.

Davis, P. M. (1993). Statistics for describing populations. p. 33-54. In: Pedigo, L.; Buntin, G. D. (Eds.). Handbook of sampling methods for arthropods in agriculture. Boca Raton, CRC Press, 714 p.

De Fine Licht, H.H. & Boomsma, J.J. (2010). Forage collection, substrate preparation, and diet composition in fungus-growing ants. Ecological Entomology, 35: 259–269. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2311.2010.01193.x

Diehl-Fleig, E. (1993). Sex ratio and nuptial flight pattern of the leaf-cutting ants Acromyrmex heyeri and A. striatus (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Insectes Sociaux, 40: 111-113.

Fernández-Marín, H., Zimmerman, J.K. & Wcislo, W.T. (2003). Nest-founding in Acromyrmex octospinosus (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Attini): demography and putative prophylactic behaviours. Insectes Sociaux, 50: 304-308. DOI 10.1007/s00040-003-0687-z

Farji‑Brener, A.G. (2001). Why are leaf‑cutting ants more common in early secondary forests than in old‑growth tropical forests? An evaluation of the palatable forage hypothesis. Oikos, 92:169‑177.

Forti, L. C., Andrade, M. L. de, Andrade, A. P. P., Lopes, J. F. S. & Ramos, V. M. (2006). Bionomics and identification of Acromyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) through an illustrated key. Sociobiology, 48: 1-18.

Gonçalves, C. R. (1961). O gênero Acromyrmex no Brasil (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Studia Entomologica, 4: 113-180.

Hölldobler, B. & Wilson, E. O. (1990). The ants. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 732 p.

Jaffé, K. &Vilela, E. (1989). On nest densities of the leaf-cutting ant Atta cephalotes in tropical primary forest. Biotropica, 21: 234–236.

Krebs, C. J. (1989). Ecological methodology. New York, Harper and Hall, 654 p.

Mundim, F.M., Bruna, E.M., Vieira-Neto, E.H.M. & Vasconcelos, H.L. (2012). Attack frequency and the tolerance to herbivory of Neotropical savanna trees. Oecologia, 168:405- 414. DOI 10.1007/s00442-011-2088-8

Nickele, M.A., Reis Filho, W., Oliveira, E.B. de. & Iede, E.T. (2009). Densidade e tamanho de formigueiros de Acromyrmex crassispinus em plantios de Pinus taeda. Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira, 44: 347‑353.

Nickele, M. A., Oliveira, E. B. de., Reis Filho, W., Iede, E. T. & Ribeiro, R. D. (2010). Distribuição Espacial de Formigueiros de Acromyrmex crassispinus (Forel) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) em Plantios de Pinus taeda L. Neotropical Entomology, 39: 862-872.

Nickele, M. A., Pie, M. R. & Reis Filho, W. (2012a). Emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex heyeri (Forel) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Revista Brasileira de Entomologia, 56: 385–386.

Nickele, M. A., Reis Filho, W., Oliveira, E. B. de, Iede, E. T., Caldato, N. &Strapasson, P. (2012b). Attack of leaf-cutting ants in initial pine plantations and growth of plants artificially defoliated. Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira, 47: 892-899.

Pereira, R. de C., Della Lucia, T.M.C. & Mayhé-Nunes, A.J. (1999). Levantamento de Attini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) em povoamentos de Eucalyptus grandis W. Hill ex Maiden em Minas Gerais. Revista Árvore, 23: 341-349.

Peñaloza, C. & Farji-Brener, A. G. (2003). The importance of treefall gaps as foraging sites for leaf-cutting ants depends on forest age. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 19: 603–605. DOI:10.1017/S0266467403003675

Rando, J.S.S. & Forti, L.C. (2005). Ocorrência de formigas Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865, em alguns municípios do Brasil. Acta Scientiarum. Biological Sciences, 27: 129‑133.

Reis Filho, W. & Oliveira, S. de. (2002). Atividade externa, carregamento de isca granulada e controle de Acromyrmex crassispinus em floresta de Pinus taeda. Colombo: Embrapa Florestas, 3 p. (Comunicado Técnico, 78).

Silva Junior, M.R., Castellani, M.A., Moreira, A.A., D’Esquivel, M., Forti, L.C. &Lacau, S. (2013). Spatial distribution and architecture of Acromyrmex landolti Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) nests in pastures of Southwestern Bahia, Brazil. Sociobiology, 60: 20-29.

DOI: 10.13102/sociobiology.v60i1.20-29

Sousa-Souto, L., Viana-Junior, A.B. & Nascimento, E.S. (2013). Spatial Distribution of Acromyrmex balzani (Emery) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Attini) Nests Using Two Sampling Methods. Sociobiology, 60: 162-168. DOI: 10.13102/sociobiology.v60i2.162-168

Vasconcelos, H. (1990). Habitat selection by the queens of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens L. in Brazil. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 6: 249–252.

Vasconcelos, H.L. & Cherrett, J.M. (1997). Leaf‑cutting ants and early forest regeneration in central Amazonia: effects of herbivory on tree seedling establishment. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 13: 357‑370.

Weber, N. A. (1972). Gardening-ants: the attines. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 146 p.

Wetterer, J. K. (1994). Ontogenetic changes in forager polymorphism and foraging ecology in the leaf-cutting ant Atta cephalotes. Oecologia, 98: 235-238.

Ying, G.G. & Kookana, R.S. (2006). Persistence and movement of fipronil termiticide with under slab and trenching treatments. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 25: 2045‑2050.

Zanetti, R., Vilela, E. F., Zanúncio, J. C., Leite, H. G. & Freitas, G. D. (2000). Influência da espécie cultivada e da vegetação nativa circundante na densidade de sauveiros em eucaliptais. Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira, 35: 1911-1918.

Zanuncio, J. C., Lopes, E. T., Zanetti, R., Pratissoli, D. & Couto, L. (2000). Spatial distribuition of nests of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in plantations of Eucalyptus urophylla in Brasil. Sociobiology, 39: 231-242.




How to Cite

Nickele, M. A., & Reis Filho, W. (2015). Population Dynamics of Acromyrmex crassispinus (Forel) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Attacks on Pinus taeda Linnaeus (Pinaceae) plantations. Sociobiology, 62(3), 340–346. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v62i3.422



Research Article - Ants

Most read articles by the same author(s)