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DOI: https://doi.org/10.25849/myrmecol.news_032:103

Open Access: CC BY 4.0

Author:

Soares, G.R., Lourenço, G.M., Costa, F.V., Lopes, I., Felisberto, B.H., Pinto, V.D., Campos, R.I. & Ribeiro, S.P.



Year: 2022

Title:

Territory and trophic cascading effects of the ant Azteca chartifex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a tropical canopy



Journal: Myrmecological News

Pages: 103-113

Type of contribution: Original Article

Supplementary material: Yes

Abstract:

Consumer pressure on species interactions is considered one of the major forces in organizing ecological communities. Dominant ants are commonly reported to be efficient predators and, by constantly patrolling their territories, can regulate prey / enemy population sizes and distribution. However, cascading effects involving dominant ants in tropical forest canopy are poorly understood, especially when taking a multitrophic approach. Here, we evaluated the trophic cascading effect caused by the arboreal ant species Azteca chartifex Forel, 1896 on coexisting arthropods (other predators and chewing herbivores) and leaf herbivory levels in a tropical forest canopy associated with the dominant tree species Byrsonima sericea (Malpighiaceae). We investigated the effects of the presence of A. chartifex on: i) arthropod diversity (species richness, abundance, and composition) and ii) host plant herbivory levels. We sampled 68 trees, half of which had no records of A. chartifex patrolling their crowns while the other half has constantly been patrolled by this ant species for about two decades. The presence of A. chartifex corresponded to lower species richness and abundance of other predators, and reduced chewing herbivores abundance. Our findings suggest that A. chartifex may be capable of modifying the arthropod species composition and have important top-down effects on the community structure of arthropods in B. sericea, though manipulative experiments are needed to test this hypothesis. Our results help to understand how top-down cascading effects influence the community structure of forest canopies. We also added some important implications on how canopy communities are assembled and maintained over time.

Open access, licensed under CC BY 4.0. © 2022 The Author(s).



Key words: Arthropods, multitrophic systems, top-down effect, trophic cascade.

Publisher: The Austrian Society of Entomofaunistics

ISSN: 1997-3500

Check out the accompanying blog contribution: https://blog.myrmecologicalnews.org/2022/07/27/effects-of-an-arboreal-ant-on-brazilian-arthropod-diversity/


Interested in receiving weekly updates on Myrmecol. News & Myrmecol. News Blog? Follow the link & subscribe: https://myrmecologicalnews.org/cms/index.php?option=com_jnews&act=subone&listid=1&itemid=78&Itemid=107

DOI: https://doi.org/10.25849/myrmecol.news_032:103

Open Access: CC BY 4.0

Author:

Soares, G.R., Lourenço, G.M., Costa, F.V., Lopes, I., Felisberto, B.H., Pinto, V.D., Campos, R.I. & Ribeiro, S.P.



Year: 2022

Title:

Territory and trophic cascading effects of the ant Azteca chartifex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a tropical canopy



Journal: Myrmecological News

Pages: 103-113

Type of contribution: Original Article

Supplementary material: Yes

Abstract:

Consumer pressure on species interactions is considered one of the major forces in organizing ecological communities. Dominant ants are commonly reported to be efficient predators and, by constantly patrolling their territories, can regulate prey / enemy population sizes and distribution. However, cascading effects involving dominant ants in tropical forest canopy are poorly understood, especially when taking a multitrophic approach. Here, we evaluated the trophic cascading effect caused by the arboreal ant species Azteca chartifex Forel, 1896 on coexisting arthropods (other predators and chewing herbivores) and leaf herbivory levels in a tropical forest canopy associated with the dominant tree species Byrsonima sericea (Malpighiaceae). We investigated the effects of the presence of A. chartifex on: i) arthropod diversity (species richness, abundance, and composition) and ii) host plant herbivory levels. We sampled 68 trees, half of which had no records of A. chartifex patrolling their crowns while the other half has constantly been patrolled by this ant species for about two decades. The presence of A. chartifex corresponded to lower species richness and abundance of other predators, and reduced chewing herbivores abundance. Our findings suggest that A. chartifex may be capable of modifying the arthropod species composition and have important top-down effects on the community structure of arthropods in B. sericea, though manipulative experiments are needed to test this hypothesis. Our results help to understand how top-down cascading effects influence the community structure of forest canopies. We also added some important implications on how canopy communities are assembled and maintained over time.

Open access, licensed under CC BY 4.0. © 2022 The Author(s).



Key words: Arthropods, multitrophic systems, top-down effect, trophic cascade.

Publisher: The Austrian Society of Entomofaunistics

ISSN: 1997-3500

Check out the accompanying blog contribution: https://blog.myrmecologicalnews.org/2022/07/27/effects-of-an-arboreal-ant-on-brazilian-arthropod-diversity/