The 2005 ESA Annual Meeting and Exhibition
December 15-18, 2005
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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Saturday, December 17, 2005 - 2:30 PM

Excavation of Atta texana (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) colonies: a rare view into the life history of the species

Michael A. Seymour, mseymour@agctr.lsu.edu1, Shawn T. Dash, sdash1@lsu.edu1, Linda Hooper-Bi, Lhooper@agctr.lsu.edu1, and John C. Moser, jmoser@fs.fed.us2. (1) Louisiana State University, Dept. of Entomology, 404 Life Sciences Building, Baton Rouge, LA, (2) USDA Southern Research Station, 2500 Shreveport Hwy, Pineville, LA

In the United States, the Texas Leafcutting Ant, Atta texana (Buckley), a New World fungus-growing ant, is restricted to the eastern half of Texas and portions of Louisiana west of the Mississippi River. The biology of this ant species is of strong interest to scientists and nonscientists alike due to its social nature, its massive nests, and its pest status. In summer 2004 and spring 2005, four Texas Leafcutting Ant colonies were excavated using a backhoe to determine nest structure and nutrient content, and to search for rare inquilines. In addition to multiple Attaphila fungicola Wheeler, an inquilinous cockroach species, captured in the field, several roaches were discovered to have been inadvertently collected in the masses of live ants and fungi procured from fungus gardens. Several Tenebrionid beetles were found within the colony, and 17 species of mites were also found in these samples.

Species 1: Hymenoptera Formicidae Atta texana (Texas Leafcutting Ant)
Keywords: inquilines, biodiversity