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Community of ants that nest in dead twigs on the ground of central Amazonian forest, Brazil Comunidade de formigas que nidificam em pequenos galhos da serrapilheira em floresta da Amazonia Central, Brasil



Community of ants that nest in dead twigs on the ground of central Amazonian forest, Brazil Comunidade de formigas que nidificam em pequenos galhos da serrapilheira em floresta da Amazonia Central, Brasil



Revista Brasileira de Entomologia. Junho; 462: 115-121



A total area of 2,880 m2 in four forest sites, near Manaus, Brazil, was searched for ant colonies nesting in dead twigs on the ground. An amount of 3,706 twigs (0.5-5 cm in diameter) were gathered, of which only 623 (16.8%) had ants, which is equivalent to a density of 0.22 nests per m2. Seventy species have been found. The predominant genera were Pheidole (Westwood), Crematogaster (Lund), and Solenopsis (Westwood). For most species, many of the nests found had only workers and brood, suggesting that colonies either use multiple twigs to nest or do not live exclusively in the twigs, using other types of substrate (e.g., leaf-litter, soil, fruit pods) to nest. Most colonized twigs were hollow or partially hollow inside and relatively easy to break apart. There were significant differences among species with respect to the size (diameter) of twig used as nest. No correlation was found between the number of twigs available and the number colonized by ants, suggesting that ant populations were not limited by the amount of nesting sites (twigs). The three most common Pheidole species had small colonies with less than 200 workers. Colony size was not related to twig size (volume), for any of these three species.

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