Evol Ecol Res 18: 323-333 (2017) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
Weaver ants shift nest location in response to the selective pressures
of habitat disturbance and torrential rain in Sri Lanka
Leonard A. Freed1 and Dulan R. Vidanapathirana2
1Department of Biology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA and 2Herpetological Foundation of Sri Lanka, Wattala, Sri Lanka
Correspondence: L.A. Freed, Department of Biology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA. email: email@example.com
Background: Weaver ants in central Sri Lanka endure two monsoon seasons per year and mowing of the understory in coconut palm plantations.
Hypothesis: Mowing of the understory and torrential rain represent selective pressures.
Organisms: Weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina).
Field sites: Two coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) plantations.
Methods: We documented mowing in June as one selective pressure, and torrential rain in October to December as the second selective pressure. One farmer postponed mowing by a month, although he had mowed in June in previous years. We tagged understory plants and trees and counted weaver ant nests.
Results: Weaver ants suffer nest losses on understory plants but not on trees due to torrential rain. We documented movement onto coconut palms the month before mowing even when not mowed. Altogether, 145 out of 326 palms had weaver ants; 60 of these 145 palms had active ant nests less than 2 m away, suggesting polydomy.
Conclusions: Mowing the understory is a human-caused selective pressure. Torrential rain is a natural selective pressure. The movement of the ants under protective foliage in trees protects their nests because trees are not mowed. This movement enables the ants to persist in the plantations.
Keywords: habitat disturbance, switch in nest sites, torrential rain, weaver ants.
DOWNLOAD A FREE, FULL PDF COPY
IF you are connected using the IP of a subscribing institution (library, laboratory, etc.)
or through its VPN.
© 2017 Leonard A. Freed. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.
Subscribing institutions/libraries may grant individuals the privilege of making a single copy of an EER article for non-commercial educational or non-commercial research purposes. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also use articles for non-commercial educational purposes by making any number of copies for course packs or course reserve collections. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also loan single copies of articles to non-commercial libraries for educational purposes.
All copies of abstracts and articles must preserve their copyright notice without modification.