Potential damage by Acromyrmex ant species in pine plantations in southern Brazil

Mariane A. Nickele*, Wilson Reis Filho, Susete do R.C. Penteado, Elisiane C. de Queiroz, Erich G. Schaitza, Marcio R. Pie

*Corresponding author for this work

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

5 Citations (Scopus)


Acromyrmex species primarily attack Pinus taeda plantations during the first months after planting, with more intense damage in the first 30 days. We evaluated potential damage by Acromyrmex crassispinus and Acromyrmex subterraneus in 30-day-old P. taeda plantations in southern Brazil by assessing the number of attacked plants and the distance reached by each colony, along with the losses in plant development resulting from different levels of defoliation. Both species were significant pests in newly established pine plantations. A single colony can attack a substantial number of seedlings (up to 453 seedlings). Colonies with larger nests attacked more plants and ranged farther; A. crassispinus reached 59 m and A. subterraneus 87 m. After 10 years, no significant losses in plant development were seen in seedlings defoliated less than 50% at 30 days after planting. But when defoliation of the young plants attained 75%, 100%, and 100%, including the cut of the apical meristem, volume losses reached 32%, 37%, and 43%, respectively. Leaf-cutting ant controls should be carried out in plantations of P. taeda within 30 days of planting to avoid attacks. When seedlings are defoliated more than 75%, they should be replanted to avoid future losses in final wood volume.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-40
Number of pages9
JournalAgricultural and Forest Entomology
Issue number1
Early online date8 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2021


  • Acromyrmex
  • forest pests
  • leaf-cutting ants
  • Pinus taeda


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