Sunday, October 10, 2004

From the September issue of Biotropica:

Schonberg, Lisa A., Longino, John T., Nadkarni, Nalini M., Yanoviak, Stephen P., Gering, Jon C. 2004. Arboreal Ant Species Richness in Primary Forest, Secondary Forest, and Pasture Habitats of a Tropical Montane Landscape. BIOTROPICA 36: 402-409.

ABSTRACT: Canopy invertebrates may reflect changes in tree structure and microhabitat that are brought about by human activities. We used the canopy fogging method to collect ants from tree crowns in primary forest, secondary forest, and pasture in a Neotropical cloud forest landscape. The total number of species collected was similar in primary forest (21) and pasture (20) habitats, but lower in secondary forest (9). Lower diversity in secondary forest was caused by lower species density (no. of species per sample). Rarefaction curves based on number of species occurrences suggest similar community species richness among the three habitats. This study has implications for conservation of tropical montane habitats in two ways. First, arboreal ant species density is reduced if secondary forest replaces primary forest, which increases the chance of extinction among rare species. Second, pasture trees may serve as repositories of primary forest ant communities due to similar tree structure.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

For all you ant taxonomy fans, from the online journal Zootaxa:

Longino, J. T. and S. Cover. (2004) A revision of the Aphaenogaster phalangium complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae). Zootaxa 655: 1-12.

These Aphaenogaster are beautiful, gracile ants. I encountered the phalangium complex for the first time in Guatemala last year. Longino and Cover have cleaned up the taxonony and after extensive synonymy we are left with two species, araneioides and phalangium. Here is A. araneioides:

(photo from

From Physiological Entomology:

Rojas, Julio C., Brindis, Yolanda, Malo, Edi A. & Cruz-López, Leopoldo (2004) Influence of queen weight and colony origin on worker response in Solenopsis geminata. Physiological Entomology 29 (4), 356-362.

ABSTRACT: The influence of weight and colony origin of the queen of Solenopsis geminata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on worker attraction is studied under laboratory conditions. In the first experiment, worker response to individual queens of different weight from the same colony is evaluated. Heavier queens are more attractive than smaller queens to their own workers. In subsequent experiments, the colony origin effect is investigated and worker response to a pair of queens of the same weight from the same or different colonies is compared. When queens are from the same colony, workers do not show a significant preference between queens. However, when queens are from a different colony, workers are significantly more attracted to their own queen than to the foreign queen. Finally, the response of workers to queens of different weight from the same or different colonies is investigated. In both cases, workers are significantly more attracted to a heavier queen than a lighter queen, even if the lighter queen is their own queen. A putative pheromonal component (E)-6-(1-pentenyl)-2H-2-pyranone, is not positively correlated with queen weight.

A trio of ant articles in this month's Ecological Entomology:
Mehdiabadi, Natasha J., Kawazoe, Elizabeth A. & Gilbert, Lawrence E. (2004). Phorid fly parasitoids of invasive fire ants indirectly improve the competitive ability of a native ant. Ecological Entomology 29 (5), 621-627.

Ichinose, K., Rinaldi, I. & Forti, L. C. (2004) Winged leaf-cutting ants on nuptial flights used as transport by Attacobius spiders for dispersal. Ecological Entomology 29 (5), 628-631.

Sanders, Nathan J. & Gordon, Deborah M. (2004) The interactive effects of climate, life history, and interspecific neighbours on mortality in a population of seed harvester ants. Ecological Entomology 29 (5), 632-637.