Foraging behavior as a determinant of asymmetric competitive interaction between two ant species in a tropical agroecosystem

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Abstract

This work is concerned with elucidating com- petitive interactions between two neotropical ants, Sole- nopsis geminata and Pheidole radoszkowskii, focusing on their foraging behavior. When released from competi- tion from P. radoszkowskii, S. geminata increased its for- aging activity. On the other hand, when released from competition from S. geminata, P. radoszkowskii did not respond, demonstrating asymmetric competition between the two species. Foraging experiments showed that P. ra- doszkowskii is more efficient at finding food resources, whereas S. geminata is better at defending the resources once they are encountered. These differences in foraging behavior appear to permit the coexistence of these two species. The practical implications of the results for the management of ant communities in tropical agroecosys- tems is discussed with respect to the potential use of ants as natural enemies.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Coffee plantations
  • Competition release
  • Formicidae
  • Pheidole radoszkowskii
  • Solenopsis geminata

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