We analyzed the foraging activity and the dietary spectrum of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile Mayr) and select native ants on cork oaks from Mediterranean open cork oak (Quercus suber) secondary forests. The study areas included invaded and noninvaded zones in close proximity. The Argentine ant’s daily foraging activity was correlated to the abiotic factors studied, whereas the seasonal foraging activity was related not only to the variations in the average air temperature, but also to the trophic needs of the colony. Argentine ant workers focused their attention on protein foods during the queens’ oviposition periods and during the larvae development phase, and on carbohydrate foods, such as honeydew, when males and workers were hatching. There were no significant differences over the entire year in the quantity of liquid food collected by the Argentine ant workers in comparison with the native ants studied. The solid diet of the Argentine ant on cork oaks is composed of insects, most of which are aphids. Our results have clear applications for control methods based on toxic baits in the invaded natural ecosystems of the Iberian Peninsula.
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