Revista Brasileira de Entomologia
Print version ISSN 0085-5626
SANTOS, Pollyanna Pereira; VASCONCELLOS, Alexandre; JAHYNY, Benoit and DELABIE, Jacques Hubert Charles. Ant fauna (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) associated to arboreal nests of Nasutitermes spp: (Isoptera, Termitidae) in a cacao plantation in southeastern Bahia, Brazil. Rev. Bras. entomol. [online]. 2010, vol.54, n.3, pp. 450-454. ISSN 0085-5626. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0085-56262010000300016.
Ants are among the most common arthropods that colonize termite nests. The aim of this study was to identify the ant fauna associated to termite nests found in a cacao plantation in the county of Ilhéus, Bahia, Brazil, with emphasis on the fauna that uses the nests as foraging and/or nesting environment. For this purpose, 34 active, decadent and abandoned nests of Nasutitermes corniger, N. ephratae and Nasutitermes sp., with different volumes and degrees of activity, were dissected. A total of 54 ant species, belonging to 23 genera and five subfamilies, was found in the constructions. The active, decadent and abandoned termite nests presented, respectively, six, eight and 48 ant species. Crematogaster acuta and Ectatomma tuberculatum were the most frequent species in the active and decadent nests, respectively, while the most frequent species in the abandoned nests were Solenopsis pollux, Thaumatomyrmex contumax and Thaumatomyrmex sp. Twenty-six ant species had true colonies within the termitaria. The Formicidae species richness in the nests was inversely related to the degree of termite activity in the nests. The occurrence of living, decadent or abandoned termitaria of Nasutitermes spp. in cacao plantations foments the heterogeneity of habitats available in the plantations and favors the maintenance of high diversity of organisms that use obligatory or opportunistically this substrate.
Keywords : Agricultural forest system; diversity; nesting; Theobroma cacao.