The ant communities on coffee farms in the West/Central Mountains of Puerto Rico are composed of mainly invasive species, although many have a long history of occupation and are effectively naturalized. The ecological forces that maintain such communities are thus of interest, and are evidently related to the spatial patterns in which they inevitably occur. Furthermore, the spatial patterns in which members of the native ant community forage almost certainly include limitations related to the structure of the networks of subterranean foraging tunnels that extend from the nest mounds of Solenopsis invicta. Here we explore some details of that structure. We ask, what is the pattern of foraging exit holes and the gaps between them, and how does that pattern change from farm to farm and from time to time? We encounter typical underground foraging trails punctuated by foraging exits, which, we propose, create a structure above ground of relatively small foraging exits in a matrix of effective foraging gaps. This pattern varies from nest to nest and farm to farm. Other ant species clearly occupy those gaps and seem to gain some of their resilience in the system from this peculiarity of S. invicta's foraging area structure.
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27 October 2022
Spatiotemporal Foraging Dynamics of Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and its Potential Effects on the Spatial Structure of Interspecific Competition
Vol. 51 • No. 5
Vol. 51 • No. 5
ecology & population biology
ecology & population dynamics