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Revista Brasileira de Entomologia

Print version ISSN 0085-5626

Abstract

MEDEIROS, Jeniffer et al. Seasonal activity of Dinoponera quadriceps Santschi (Formicidae, Ponerinae) in the semi-arid Caatinga of northeastern Brazil. Rev. Bras. entomol. [online]. 2012, vol.56, n.1, pp. 81-85. ISSN 0085-5626.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0085-56262012000100013.

Seasonal activity of Dinoponera quadriceps Santschi (Formicidae, Ponerinae) in the semi-arid Caatinga of northeastern Brazil. We studied seasonal foraging patterns of the queenless ant D. quadriceps (Formicidae, Ponerinae) for 24 months in a Caatinga area of northeastern Brazil, an ecosystem characterized by strong climatic changes throughout the year, in order to determine if regulation of worker activity is based on environmental conditions (air temperature, relative humidity, precipitation) and/or food resources (potential prey: Coleoptera, Diptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, Orthoptera, Araneae, Chilopoda and Diplopoda). Foraging activity of D. quadriceps varied over the course of both years, with the highest frequency occurring from May to August, corresponding to the late rainy season and early dry season. This foraging activity was negatively correlated with temperature and positively correlated with the availability of potential prey, but not with total abundance of soil arthropods or with rainfall and relative humidity. Diet composition, in relation to the main taxonomic prey groups, seems to be common to the species, regardless of habitat. Our results suggest that D. quadriceps workers adjust foraging activity to the most suitable period of the year, to avoid thermal stress and increase efficiency. Thus, they present an appropriate behavioral response to seasonal fluctuations in the Caatinga.

Keywords : Ants; environmental factors; foraging; Neotropical region; seasonality.

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