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Acta zoológica mexicana

versión On-line ISSN 2448-8445versión impresa ISSN 0065-1737


RICO-GRAY, Victor  y  MORAIS, Helena C.. Efecto de una fuente de alimento experimental sobre una asociación hormiga-hemiptero. Acta Zool. Mex [online]. 2006, vol.22, n.3, pp.23-28. ISSN 2448-8445.

In order to assess if ants attracted to honeydew-producing Hemiptera switched food sources when offered an additional, considerably rich and abundant food source, we studied the interaction between the plant Solanum lycocarpum (Solanaceae), an efn-lacking shrub, the predominantly diurnal ant Camponotus crassus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), and two species of membracids (Enchenopa spp.; Homoptera: Membracidae). The study was done during September of 1999 at the Reserva Ecológica of IBGE (ca. 35 km S of Brasilia-DF, Brasil). The results show that ants were attracted both to the experimental food source and to the membracids. Moreover, the mean number of ants visiting the experimental nectary was significantly higher than those visiting the membracids. However, the membracids were never left unattended, which suggests that ants, even though presented with an abundant and rich food source, do not abandon other sources. The latter can be explained due to an increment in the honeydew production rate by the membracids, thus the attention levels of ants does not vary Another possibility is the fidelity of worker ants to a food source and its location. To show that ants switch food sources based on quality and/or quantity, and not merely based of their presence and/or absence, requires future research, both for plants with and without extrafloral nectaries.

Palabras llave : ant-plant interactions; extrafloral nectaries; Hemiptera.

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