Short-term change in a population of the meat ant Iridomyrmex purpureus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
Australian Journal of Zoology 23(4): 511-522
A population of Iridomyrmex purpureus (F. Sm.) sens. strict. was studied from 1971 to 1974 in the Belair National Park, South Australia, near the cool, wet end of its range in that State [see preceding abstract]. Seasonal variation in the numbers of nest mounds, and in the number of entrance holes used by the population, indicated that it was under climatic stress in winter and summer. It was also subject to human interference and many mounds had been damaged; the fate of such colonies indicates that the mounds affect nest temperatures and are important in reducing winter stress. Comparisons of parts of the population from areas differing in aspect and drainage showed that the size and structure of tm colonies were controlled by the rates of growth and the survival of the nests, depending largely on summer and winter stress, respectively. The latter appears to be the critical factor in this population.