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Acta Amazonica

Print version ISSN 0044-5967

Abstract

PAULA, Joana D'Arc de  and  LOPES, Aline. Ants gardens in the Central Amazon: a field experiment using live termites as bait. Acta Amaz. [online]. 2013, vol.43, n.4, pp.447-453. ISSN 0044-5967.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0044-59672013000400006.

Ant gardens are a special association type between ants and epiphytes, in which two or more ant species can share the same nest in a parabiotic relationship. This association that occurs in tropical forests is still poorly understood. The aim of this study was to evaluate ants gardens in the Central Amazon and to determine if ants identify and remove potential herbivores that are visiting the host tree of ants gardens occupied by the species Camponotus femoratus and Crematogaster levior. In this study, it was observed 42 trees occupied by ants gardens. In each tree it was inserted a termite as bait at different distances from the nest, the time of the termites' removal was recorded and it was observed if there was the need of assistance from other ants to perform the removal of the bait. The results revealed that both species examined the tree host to forage. During the capture of the bait, C. levior was more efficient to detect the termite, and it was not observed the need of recruits to carry it to the nest. In some cases, individuals of de C. femoratus identified the bait and individuals of C. levior carried to the nest. The relationship between the host tree and ants is beneficial to both of them, since the tree receives indirect protection against termites and gives support to the ants nest.

Keywords : Camponotus femoratus; Crematogaster levior; parabiosis; mutualism.

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