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Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher K. Starr

Ant Mosaics

  • Nico BlüthgenEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_9-1
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Ant mosaics occur when two or more competitively dominant ant species show a nonoverlapping, checkerboard-like spatial distribution pattern within a forest or other habitat. Such a pattern was originally described by Room in 1971 [10] and termed an ant mosaic 2 years later by Leston [7]. Since then, ant mosaics have been studied across different continents and habitats. Among social insects, mosaic-like distribution patterns are not exclusive to ants and have been found for termites as well [6].

Ant colonies commonly vigorously defend their nest sites, and aggression against non-nestmates often extends well beyond the nest entrance, sometimes involving territorial exclusion of other ant species. As a result, competitively superior ant species with relatively large colonies and an aggressive behavioral dominance of other species are expected to mutually exclude each other from their territories. Ant species co-existing within the territories of dominant ants are regarded as...
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References

  1. 1.
    Blüthgen, N., & Stork, N. E. (2007). Ant mosaics in a tropical rainforest in Australia and elsewhere: A critical review. Austral Ecology, 32, 93–104.
  2. 2.
    Davidson, D. W. (1997). The role of resource imbalances in the evolutionary ecology of tropical arboreal ants. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 61, 153–181.
  3. 3.
    Dejean, A., Corbara, B., Orivel, J., & Leponce, M. (2007). Rainforest canopy ants: The implications of territoriality and predatory behavior. Functional Ecosystems and Communities, 1, 105–120.
  4. 4.
    Fayle, T. M., Turner, E. C., & Foster, W. A. (2013). Ant mosaics occur in SE Asian oil palm plantation but not rain forest and are influenced by the presence of nest-sites and non-native species. Ecography, 36, 1051–1057.
  5. 5.
    Gibb, H., & Hochuli, D. F. (2004). Removal experiment reveals limited effects of an behaviorally dominant species on ant assemblages. Ecology, 85, 648–657.
  6. 6.
    Leponce, M., Roisin, Y., & Pasteels, J. M. (1997). Structure and dynamics of the arboreal termite community in New Guinean coconut plantations. Biotropica, 29, 193–203.
  7. 7.
    Leston, D. (1973). The ant mosaic – Tropical tree crops and the limiting of pests and diseases. PANS (Pest Articles and News Summaries), 19, 311–341.
  8. 8.
    Majer, J. D. (1976). The ant mosaic in Ghana cocoa farms: Further structural considerations. Journal of Applied Ecology, 13, 145–155.
  9. 9.
    Ribas, C. R., & Schoereder, J. H. (2002). Are all ant mosaics caused by competition? Oecologia, 131, 606–611.
  10. 10.
    Room, P. M. (1971). The relative distributions of ant species in Ghana’s cocoa farms. Journal of Animal Ecology, 40, 735–751.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecological Networks, Department of BiologyTechnische Universität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany