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Environ Entomol. 2007 Oct;36(5):1100-11.

Exploitative strategies of the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) and native ant species in a southern Spanish pine forest.

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  • 1Department of Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y Naturales (Area de Zoología), Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Ctra, de Utrera km 1-41013 Sevilla, Spain.


The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr, 1868), is displacing native ant species in Doñana National Park (Spain). This paper discusses the results of experiments aimed at analyzing exploitation competition between the invading species and other ant species in a park community. The Argentine ant was found to implement several strategies favoring its success in exploitation competition: mass recruitment, use of various microhabitats (on the ground and in trees), and activity over a wide range of temperatures. Although these strategies were not exclusive to L. humile, their joint use, together with the large number of workers forming each "unicolony," conferred a clear advantage for resource exploitation. Some native species were more severely affected than others by the presence of L. humile in terms of both abundance and behavior. The worst affected species were those whose ecological characteristics were similar to those of the Argentine ant, e.g., Pheidole pallidula (Nylander, 1849); the species least affected was Cataglyphis floricola Tinaut, 1993, possibly because of its subordinate and thermophilous nature (little overlap of daily activity rhythms with the exotic species).

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