Actividad de la hormiga Linepithema dispertitum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) a lo largo del día y en diferentes estados de inflorescencia de  Heliconia rostrata (Heliconiaceae)

Pablo R. Gutiérrez Martínez

Abstract


Activity of the ant Linepithema dispertitum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) at different times of day and in different stages of inflorescence of Heliconia rostrata (Heliconiaceae). Ants are eusocial insects found in most zoogeographic areas and are of great relevance in trophic interactions. This study was conducted in Costa Rica with a colony of Linepithema dispertitum at the base of the pseudostem of Heliconia rostrata. The ants did not appear to defend the plant and indeed may have a negative impact by way of their partnership with Pseudococcidae in withered inflorescences. In order to understand the activity of the ants at different times of day, their abundance during five different stages of  inflorescence and to learn more about the interactions between plants and ants, two replicates of 255 observations were carried out. Ants were counted in inflorescences from 6:00 h to 24:00 h, corresponding in each replicate to 85 counts at all times of day, and with 51 counts in each stage of inflorescence; to analyze the data the Kruskal-Wallis nonparametric test was used. Both replicates, despite some differences, share several characteristics:  the average number of ants found in the inflorescences in each moment of the day was different in the morning (being the lowest), afternoon (intermediate), and evening (being the highest). Linepithema dispertitum was least abundant in the closed inflorescences and those with withered bracts, on the other hand, the highest averages were in inflorescences that not wilted and when there was greater availability of food.

KEYWORDS

Trophic association, bracts, inflorescence, Linepithema dispertitum, nectar.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22458/urj.v5i1.192

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