A field study was conducted in Jalisco, Mexico, to quantify temporal resource switching by ants between honeydew produced by the fivespotted gama grass leafhopper, Dalbulus quinquenotatus, and nectar produced by plants with extrafloral nectaries (EFNs). Four plant taxa (Acacia pennatula, Leucaena esculenta, Lobelia laxiflora and Lysilona sp.) which produced nectar from EFNs were monitored for ants during the dry and wet seasons in ecological communities where D. quinquenotatus was tended by ants on their gama grass (Tripsacum spp.) hosts. These plants with EFNs were visited preferentially in May (the driest month) by Brachymyrmex obscurior, a common ant species that tended D. quinquenotatus in all months except May. Our results suggest temporal resource switching by ants between plants with EFNs and D. quinquenotatus. This cycle is regulated by the amount of nectar produced by plants with EFNs and honeydew produced by D. quinquenotatus. Although B. obscurior was the most common ant to visit plants with EFNs and tend D. quinquenotatus, four additional species of ants were also associated with both food resources.
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Vol. 146 • No. 2