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1 April 2009 Ant Community Structure in Citrus Orchards in the Mediterranean Basin: Impoverishment as a Consequence of Habitat Homogeneity
X. Cerdá, R. Palacios, J. Retana
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Abstract

This study analyzes the structure and composition of ant communities in citrus orchards in Catalonia (northeast Spain) and compares them with the ant fauna found in natural communities of the region. In the citrus orchards considered in this study, the most abundant species were Lasius niger and Pheidole pallidula, which are behaviorally dominant species. Two other dominant species, Linepithema humile and Tetramorium caespitum, were also abundant, although only in one orchard. Species richness and diversity in the studied orchards were low compared with natural communities: although in orchards, there were few species and low diversity values, in natural communities, the number of species was higher and diversity also increased. This reduction of species richness and diversity was not modified by edge effects: only light and local differences were found between the inner part of the orchards and the orchard margins, and differences among orchards were greater than differences between inner parts and edges. The activity peaks of the different ant species actively foraging on these citrus orchards were distributed throughout the whole activity period of ants. Overall, the composition of ant communities present in the citrus orchards of this study was extremely poor. This agrees with the fact that monocultures are ecosystems associated with an inevitable loss of biodiversity and abundance of insect populations.

©2009 Entomological Society of America
X. Cerdá, R. Palacios, and J. Retana "Ant Community Structure in Citrus Orchards in the Mediterranean Basin: Impoverishment as a Consequence of Habitat Homogeneity," Environmental Entomology 38(2), 317-324, (1 April 2009). https://doi.org/10.1603/022.038.0203
Received: 26 February 2007; Accepted: 1 August 2007; Published: 1 April 2009
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