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Title: Ants and plant size shape the structure of the arthropod community of Hirtella myrmecophila, an Amazonian ant-plant
Authors: Izzo, Thiago Junqueira
Vasconcelos, Heraldo L.
Keywords: Abundance
Guild Structure
Plant Insect Interaction
Size Effect
Species Diversity
Allomerus Octoarticulatus
Hirtella Myrmecophila
Issue Date: 2005
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Ecological Entomology
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 30, Número 6, Pags. 650-656
Abstract: 1. To investigate the influence of plant size and the presence of resident ants on the arthropod community associated with the ant-plant Hirtella myrmecophila, ants (Allomerus octoarticulatus) were experimentally removed from plants of various sizes, with a second group of similar-sized plants remaining as controls. The abundance and diversity of arthropods on these plants were determined at 45-day intervals for 7 months. Collected arthropods were assigned into one of three predetermined groups: herbivores, spiders (mostly web-building spiders), or 'tourists' (mostly non-resident ants, hemipterans, dipterans, or scarabeid beetles). 2. Ant removal had a positive influence on the abundance and diversity of herbivores, but no measurable effects on the abundance and diversity of 'tourists', while the effect on spider abundance was significant only when data from Dipoena sp. nov. were removed from the analysis. While A. octoarticulatus had a negative effect on most spiders, it favoured Dipoena sp. nov., which was found to be a specialist predator of A. octoarticulatus. 3. Plant size positively affected the abundance and diversity of 'tourists' in plants with and without ants, but for herbivores and spiders this effect was dependent on ant treatment. In ant-maintained plants the per-plant abundance of herbivores and spiders was independent of plant size, whereas in ant-removed plants it was not. 4. These results suggest that A. octoarticulatus affects all arthropods found on its host plant, except those presenting an occasional and temporary association with the plant, and that the magnitude of ant effects on the susceptible guilds increases as plant size increases. © Royal Entomological Society, 2005.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1111/j.0307-6946.2005.00736.x
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