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1 March 2010 Indirect Effects in Boreal Ant Assemblages: Territorial Wood Ants Protect Potential Slaves Against Enslaving Ants
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Abstract

The facultative enslaver Formica sanguinea Latr. uses as slaves F. fusca L. and other species of the subgenus Serviformica For. Earlier observations have shown or suggested that strong territorial wood-ant species, by defending their own territories, interfere with raids by F. sanguinea such that colonies of potential slave species gain protection against raids. At the population level, such protection should be visible as higher nest densities of F. fusca within than outside wood-ant territories, when both areas are within raiding distance of F. sanguinea. Here we tested this hypothesis by mapping nest densities of F. fusca. As expected, nest densities of F. fusca were higher within than outside wood-ant territories. In contrast, nest densities of two aggressive species, Lasius platythorax Seifert and L. niger (L.), unsuitable as slaves, were as expected lower within than outside wood-ant territories. Our results concur with earlier studies based on pitfall trapping, baiting experiments, and in situ observations on raids. The results also show that the positive impact of indirect protection provided by wood ants against raids may outweigh the direct negative impact of wood ants on F. fusca nesting within their territories. We discuss the geographic and habitat cooccurrences of wood ants, enslavers and potential slave species, and coverage of efficient indirect protection of potential slaves against raids.

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Simo Väänänen, Kari Vepsäläinen, and Riitta Savolainen "Indirect Effects in Boreal Ant Assemblages: Territorial Wood Ants Protect Potential Slaves Against Enslaving Ants," Annales Zoologici 60(1), 57-67, (1 March 2010). https://doi.org/10.3161/000345410X499524
Received: 3 December 2009; Accepted: 1 February 2010; Published: 1 March 2010
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