A new insight

A new insight

Observation - A new insight - Southern Africa. Description: I'm to an extent repeating this obs in order to report an insight that came to us while plotting the current distribution of ant species at Oudebos in the Kogelberg. We have long wondered why Anoplolepis species [pugnacious ants] are so important in the d

I'm to an extent repeating this obs in order to report an insight that came to us while plotting the current distribution of ant species at Oudebos in the Kogelberg. We have long wondered why Anoplolepis species [pugnacious ants] are so important in the distribution of thousands of species of fynbos seeds, while most other ant species play a minor role or no role at all. The answer may lie in the biology of the various species. Harvesters such as Messor etc gather vegetable matter for consumption and carry it to their nests, so they might be peripherally involved in myrmecochory. Most small species such as Argentines [invaders], Lepisiota etc do not carry food to their nests, they chew and ingest it on site and carry it home in their gasters - hence they are no good for myrmecochory at all. Anoplolepis, however, carry everything home - even dead skinks, baby birds, large insects etc. They even chew up paper soaked in Tuna oil and carry it home! - hence they are excellent for myrmecochory, because they leave no food in situ. Some ponerines may do the same. Most Camponotines, large or small, are nectar-sippers and seldom carry anything home, excepting C. niveosetosus, of which more anon.
These processes might help explain why Anoplolepis and a few other species are so important to fynbos survival. More at www.ants.org.za soon.