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RAFAEL-VALDEZ, Javier et al. Foraging and nesting substrates of the escamolera ant (Liometopum apiculatum Mayr, Himenoptera: Formicidae) in Villa González Ortega, Zacatecas, México. Agrociencia [online]. 2017, vol.51, n.7, pp.755-769. ISSN 2521-9766.

The escamolera ant (Liometopum apiculatum Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) has an ecological and socioeconomic importance for the state of Zacatecas, Mexico. There are not enough studies of this species and of its foraging activity. The objectives of this study were to determine the relationship between the distance and the number of trails with the forage substrate of L. apiculatum and to identify the forage and nesting substrates, and its foraging effort. The hypotheses were: 1) there is not direct relationship between the distance and the number of trails with the forage substrate of the escamolera ant; and 2) the use of substrates is homogeneous. From June to August 2014, we carried out a daily sampling (90 d), through field surveys from 7:00 h to 14:00 h within the habitat of the escamolera ant. The following analyses were carried out: linear regression (LR), observation frequency rate (OF), stepwise logistic regression (LR), main components (PCA), stepwise Poisson regression (PRA), simple correspondence (SCA), and Kruskal-Wallis analysis. The substrates in which the ant foraged were Yucca spp. (63.8 %), Agave salmiana (21.6 %), and Opuntia rastrera (14.7%). The ant nested (n=31) under A. salmiana (45.2 %), Yucca spp. (38.7 %), O. rastrera (12.9 %), and Dalea bicolor (3.2 %). The correlation between linear and foraging distances (R2=0.80) was significant. Ants travelled longer distances (greater foraging effort) to forage on palm trees. The ants assigned less foraging effort when their colonies had more trails. The probability of finding colonies with three or four trails was higher than finding colonies with two, five, and six trails (p≤0.05). This information can support the management and conservation of the habitat of the escamolera ant in central Mexico.

Palavras-chave : insect; habitat; arid zone; foraging distance; conservation.

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