0927 Arboreal twig-nesting ants and agricultural matrix quality: colonization, species richness, and reproductive success

Tuesday, December 15, 2009: 1:47 PM
Room 101, First Floor (Convention Center)
Aldo De la Mora , Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA
Stacy M. Philpott , Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Distance from forest patches and agricultural matrix quality influence insect conservation in agricultural landscapes. Yet, the importance of matrix quality for twig-nesting ants or impacts on nesting phenomena (e.g. reproduction, brood) is unknown. We examined whether distance from a forest fragment or shade management of coffee agroecosystems affects twig-nesting ants by investigating: a) colonization rate, b) richness and species composition, and c) reproductive success of ants colonizing artificial nests. We established plots in three farms differing in shade management (1 traditional polyculture [TP], 1 commercial polyculture [CP], and 1 shade monoculture [SM]) at increasing distances from a forest fragment (0-100 m) and in a nearby forest fragment. In each plot, we selected 10 coffee plants, and placed five artificial nests on coffee twigs. We harvested nests every three months for one year (July 2007 – June 2008). Colonization rates of artificial nests were highest in SM (37.9% ± 2% [SE]) and lowest in forest (1.2% ± 0.62%). Occupation rates did not differ with increasing distance from the forest (P>0.05). Species richness was highest in SM (37 species) and lowest in forest (5). Species composition differed in all sites (ANOSIM, P<0.05) except for CP and SM (P=0.219). Composition did not differ with distance to forest (P>0.05). Distance from forest did not affect reproductive success, but shade cover was important (r2=0.07). Results indicate habitat type, but not distance from forest affect twig-nesting ants. Low occupation in the forest may be due to high nest availability in the canopy, relative to coffee habitats.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.42286