Does body size of neotropical ant species influence their recruitment speed?

O tamanho corpóreo de espécies de formigas neotropicais influencia na velocidade de recrutamento?

Ants are one of the most important animal groups in tropical forests because of its abundance and number of species. An important characteristic of the group is the eusociality, which allows the occurrence of a recruitment behavior when food resource is found. However, there are two main questions regarding this behavior: (i) the recruitment is a product of environmental or phylogenetic pressures, and (ii) the recruitment speed is related to the body size of the ant species. In this work we addressed these two questions using 17 species of neotropical ants, in the Amazonic lowland dense rain forest. According to results, recruitment behavior is related to ant size, where smaller species exhibit this trait when finding a protein resource. However, species size is not important in recruitment speed, which suggests that speed can be best explained by the type of food resources needed in the ant colony.

formicidae; foraging behavior; phylogenetic contrasts; social insects; Amazon

Instituto Virtual da Biodiversidade | BIOTA - FAPESP Departamento de Biologia Vegetal - Instituto de Biologia, UNICAMP CP 6109, 13083-970 - Campinas/SP, Tel.: (+55 19) 3521-6166, Fax: (+55 19) 3521-6168 - Campinas - SP - Brazil