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Neotropical Entomology

versión impresa ISSN 1519-566X

Resumen

SILVA, PSD; BIEBER, AGD; CORREA, MM  y  LEAL, IR. Do leaf-litter attributes affect the richness of leaf-litter ants?. Neotrop. entomol. [online]. 2011, vol.40, n.5, pp. 542-547. ISSN 1519-566X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2011000500004.

The search for factors shaping leaf-litter ant communities has received particular attention due to the essential role of these insects in many ecological processes. Here, we aimed to investigate how the number of leaves and leaf morphotypes affect the litter-ant species density at forest edge and interior in an Atlantic Forest remnant in the state of Alagoas, Brazil. This study was developed based on 28 litter plots (1m2 each), 14 in the forest interior and 14 in the forest edge. As we early expected, ant species density increased with increasing both the number of leaves and the number of leaf morphotypes, but this result was clearly influenced by plot location. Contrasting with the forest interior, ant species density did not increase as the number of leaves increased in the forest edge. Possibly, factors such as plant species richness, vegetation structure and environmental conditions affect ant species density as well as promote a patchy distribution of species in ant communities along the edge-to-interior gradient. Our findings suggest that edge-affected forests present more simplified ant communities, with different factors shaping its structure. We encourage future studies to include leaf litter heterogeneity as one of the explanatory variables investigated.

Palabras llave : Ant community; Atlantic forest; edge-effect; Formicidae; litter heterogeneity.

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