Behavioral ecology and natural history of Blepharidatta brasiliensis (Formicidae, Blepharidattini)

C. Rabeling, M. Verhaagh, U. G. Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fungus-growing ants (Attini, Formicidae) originated about 45-65 million years ago when forging a mutualistic association with basidiomycete fungi (Lepiotaceae). Here we use information on the biology of the non-leafcutting fungus-growing ants and their close relatives in the genus Blepharidatta to evaluate hypotheses for the evolutionary origin of fungus-growing behavior in attine ants. Observations on the natural history, ecology, and behavior of the Amazonian species Blepharidatta brasiliensis are reported here for the first time. Like most attine species, B. brasiliensis and the great majority of species in the tribe Blepharidattini are inhabitants of moist tropical rainforest, suggesting a rainforest habitat also for the ancestral attine ant. The ancestral attine was probably a leaf litter dweller, building small to medium sized nests (e.g., 20-200 workers) either between leaves in the litter or in decaying wood on the rainforest floor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
JournalInsectes Sociaux
Volume53
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Attini
  • Colony demography
  • Fungivory
  • Nearest neighbor analysis
  • Nest architecture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

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