Revista Brasileira de Zoologia
versão impressa ISSN 0101-8175
MONTEIRO, André F. M.; SUJII, Edison R. e MORAIS, Helena C.. Chemically based interactions and nutritional ecology of Labidus praedator (Formicidae: Ecitoninae) in an agroecosystem adjacent to a gallery forest. Rev. Bras. Zool. [online]. 2008, vol.25, n.4, pp. 674-681. ISSN 0101-8175. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0101-81752008000400012.
New World army ants species have an important role in structuring invertebrate communities. Labidus praedator (Fr. Smith, 1858) is a generalist top predator that can reduce pest densities in agroecosystems. The aim of this study was to describe behavioral attributes, diet composition and interspecific interactions of the ant L. praedator. We searched for army ant raids using standardized trail-walk surveys and plotted army ants raids positions on an aerial image. We photographed events at swarm raids of L. praedator and recorded its diet items in basal columns near bivouacs. Six species from four Ecitoninae genera - Labidus (Jurine, 1807), Nomamyrmex (Borgmeier, 1936), Neivamyrmex (Borgmeier, 1940) and Eciton (Latreille, 1804) - were recorded. Caterpillars dominated the composition of the diet of L. praedator. Flowers and diaspores of weeds and aril and flesh of fruits were also transported to bivouacs. One colony stopped foraging after intense rainfall and discrete groups of hundreds of L. praedator ants were separated under patches covered by shrubs. Groups of Crotophaginae birds, Sarcophaginae flies and Polistinae wasps followed L. praedator swarm raids. We discuss the importance of landscape structure for agroecosystem colonization by Ecitoninae and the existence of chemical opportunism between army ants species through the reuse of unoccupied trails.
Palavras-chave : Army ants; Cerrado; chemical opportunism; diet; swarm followers.