Foraging ecology and behaviour of the ponerine ant Ectatomma opaciventre Roger in a Brazilian savannah

M. R. Pie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study provides a detailed account of the foraging behaviour of the ponerine ant Ectatomma opaciventre in a 'cerrado' savannah in south-east Brazil. Our observations suggest that this species has an exclusively diurnal foraging pattern. Feeding habits included both predation and scavenging, with termite workers and leaf-cutting ants as the most important food items. Contrary to all other Ectatomma species studied to date, no liquid food such as hemipteran honeydew or plant nectar was collected. Foragers showed clear individual foraging area fidelity. Workers of E. opaciventre employed a typical individual foraging strategy, i.e. there was no co-operation between foragers in the search for or retrieval of food, neither by tandem running nor by trail laying. Nest density was considerably lower than in other Ectatomma (0.015 nests per m2). The observed mean distance to the nearest neighbouring nest was 5.85m, with a significant tendency toward over-dispersion. Nests were more frequently found in specific microhabitats, which may suggest active choice of nesting site by founding queens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-729
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Natural History
Volume38
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2004

Keywords

  • Cerrado
  • Foraging behaviour
  • Nest density
  • Path fidelity

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