Bromeliads

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Their Stories Are Here
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Bromeliads are epiphytes, which generally are known to harbor a rich diversity of ants species in some tropical forests.

Talaga et al. (2015) - Tank bromeliads (Bromeliaceae) are flowering plants comprised of 59 genera and some 3140 species native mainly to the Neotropics (Givnish et al., 2011). The interlocking leaves of tank bromeliads form wells that collect rainwater (from a few milliliters to a fewliters), leaf litter and other organic detritus. The rosettes of these plants permit numerous opportunistic ant species to profit from the moist habitat. Most ant-bromeliad associations are not species-specific (Blüthgen et al., 2000), but specialized associations do exist (Dejean et al., 1995).

Recent Studies

DaRocha et al. (2015) studied the diversity of ants found in bromeliads of a single large tree of Erythrina, a common cocoa shade tree, at an agricultural research center in Ilheus, Brazil. Forty-seven species of ants were found in 36 of 52 the bromeliads examined. Bromeliads with suspended soil and those that were larger had higher ant diversity.

A study by Talaga et al. (2015) investigating the species of ants found in Aechmea aquilega found baiting of urban trees containing these bromeliads detected more invasive ants than baiting other trees or on the ground.

References

  • DaRocha, W. D., S. P. Ribeiro, F. S. Neves, G. W. Fernandes, M. Leponce, and J. H. C. Delabie. 2015. How does bromeliad distribution structure the arboreal ant assemblage (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on a single tree in a Brazilian Atlantic forest agroecosystem? Myrmecological News. 21:83-92.
  • Talaga, S., J. H. C. Delabie, O. Dezerald, A. Salas-Lopez, F. Petitclerca, C. Leroy, B. Heraultd, R. Cereghino, and A. Dejean. 2015. A bromeliad species reveals invasive ant presence in urban areas of French Guiana. Ecological Indicators. 58:1-7. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.05.027