A First Checklist and Diversity of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Saline Dry Lake Chott El Hodna in Algeria, a Ramsar Conservation Wetland

Barech G., Khaldi M., Ziane S., Zedam A., Doumandji S., Sharaf M., Espadaler X. (2016) A First Checklist and Diversity of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Saline Dry Lake Chott El Hodna in Algeria, a Ramsar Conservation Wetland. African Entomology. 24: 143-152.
Link
Doi: 10.4001/003.024.0143

Abstract:

In the first study of its kind, ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) were sampled near a unique natural environment, a large saline lake, Chott El Hodna, a Ramsar ConservationWetland in eastern Algeria. The species of ants were determined at two sites, Medbah and Birkraa in spring (March-April) 2011 using pitfall trapping and hand collecting.We provide a checklist and some observations on 24 species belonging to 14 genera and four subfamilies (Dolichoderinae, Dorylinae, Formicinae and Myrmicinae). To evaluate the ant diversity, we used data from pitfall traps for calculating ecological indexes. © Entomological Society of Southern Africa.

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Variability in individual activity bursts improves ant foraging success

Campos, D., Bartumeus, F., Mendez, V., Andrade, J.S., Espadaler, X. (2016) Variability in individual activity bursts improves ant foraging success. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 13: 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1098/rsif.2016.0856

Abstract:

Ant-fungus interactons: Laboulbenia camponot batra in Italy and a new host for L. formicarum thaxter (Fungi: Ascomycota, laboulbeniales)

Gómez, K., Espadaler, X., Santamaria, S. (2016) Ant-fungus interactons: Laboulbenia camponot batra in Italy and a new host for L. formicarum thaxter (Fungi: Ascomycota, laboulbeniales). Sociobiology. 63: 950-955.
Link
Doi: 10.13102/sociobiology.v63i3.1057

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Differential ant exclusion from canopies shows contrasting top-down effects on community structure

Mestre L., Piñol J., Barrientos J.A., Espadaler X. (2016) Differential ant exclusion from canopies shows contrasting top-down effects on community structure. Oecologia. 180: 193-203.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s00442-015-3442-z

Abstract:

Predators have far-reaching effects on communities by triggering top-down trophic cascades that influence ecosystem functioning. Omnivory and intraguild interactions between predators give rise to reticulate food webs and may either strengthen or dampen trophic cascades depending on context. Disentangling the effects of multiple predator species is therefore crucial for predicting the influence of predators on community structure. We focused on ants as dominant generalist predators in arthropod communities and set up a differential ant exclusion from canopies to examine its effects on assemblage species composition and densities of five arthropod groups (psocopterans, aphids, spiders, heteropterans and beetles). We coupled a glue band with tubes allowing only the ant Lasius grandis to reach the canopies to isolate its effect from the rest of crawling predators (ants, earwigs) and compared it against a full exclusion and a control. L. grandis alone had widespread effects on assemblage species composition, with contrasting species-specific responses within groups, where some species affected by L. grandis presence were not further affected by the presence of the whole crawling predator assemblage, and vice versa. Overall, L. grandis caused two- to threefold decreases of generalist predators and a threefold increase of aphids. However, it lacked further top-down effects on primary consumers, which only emerged when all crawling predators were present. This differential exclusion demonstrates the distinctive and widespread intraguild effects on community structure of a single ant species that contrast with the top-down effects exerted by the whole crawling predator assemblage. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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Management implications of earwigs' overwintering sites in a Mediterranean citrus grove

Romeu-Dalmau C., Espadaler X., Piñol J. (2016) Management implications of earwigs' overwintering sites in a Mediterranean citrus grove. International Journal of Pest Management. : 1-6.
Link
Doi: 10.1080/09670874.2015.1129079

Abstract:

To promote earwigs as natural enemies of pests, or to control their populations if they damage crops, earwigs can be managed during their overwintering period on the ground. Here, we obtained more than a ton of soil to study earwigs' overwintering sites in a citrus grove. We found four species of earwigs: Forficula pubescens, Euborellia annulipes, Euborellia moesta, and Nala lividipes. Surprisingly, and although the European earwig Forficula auricularia is abundant in the citrus canopies the rest of the year, we did not find any F. auricularia, indicating that this species spends the winter outside the citrus grove. Therefore, farmers willing to manage European earwig populations in citrus orchards need to consider the possibility that earwigs may spend the winter outside the field. Earwigs that were overwintering in the citrus grove were more abundant at the south side beneath the canopies than at the north side or between rows, indicating that management practices such as soil tillage can impact overwintering earwigs only beneath the canopies, but not between citrus rows. Overall, our results provide insights into how earwig populations can be successfully managed during winter in citrus orchards. © 2016 Taylor & Francis

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Collapse of the invasive garden ant, Lasius neglectus, populations in four European countries

Tartally A., Antonova V., Espadaler X., Csősz S., Czechowski W. (2016) Collapse of the invasive garden ant, Lasius neglectus, populations in four European countries. Biological Invasions. : 1-5.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s10530-016-1227-x

Abstract:

The invasive garden ant Lasius neglectus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) has been spreading rapidly in Europe ever since the 1990s. This ant established enormous supercolonies in many European cities and poses a serious threat to the local native faunas. The spread of this species has not slowed down in the last decades, but in the recent years the sizes of the known L. neglectus populations have generally been declining or have stagnated. For 29 supercolonies checked in four countries, in 10 cases L. neglectus individuals have not been found on the former area of their occurrence. On the other hand, only two supercolonies have expanded. In this paper, we summarize these monitoring data collected by the personal independent, diligent monitoring activities of myrmecologists on populations of the invasive garden ant in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Spain. The reasons for this collapse are thought to be: (1) depletion of the local resources, (2) gradation of pathogens and (social)parasites, (3) climatic factors, (4) intra-population mechanisms, (5) confrontation with highly competitive native species, and (6) lack of suitable nesting microhabitats. As similar phenomena were observed in the cases of supercolonies of other invasive ant species, it seems that they decline more generally than has been thought. © 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

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