Habitat selection by queens: explaining the distribution of fire ants and native ants

Sunday, November 10, 2013: 4:00 PM
Meeting Room 8 C (Austin Convention Center)
Joshua R. King , University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Walter R. Tschinkel , Department of Biological Science, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Habitat selection is an underappreciated and poorly studied aspect of animal species dispersal.  Here we report on the results of a multi-year experimental study of the dispersal patterns of an ant community in northern Florida.  Results show obvious habitat selection by queens of most species.  Exotic species queens , particularly the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, landed almost exclusively along roadsides and in sites with open sand.  Many native species also appeared to favor these sites.  Thus land use change, where habitat is converted, may represent an ecological trap for many native species.