Bol. Soc. Zool. Uruguay (2ª época). 2022. Vol. 31 (1): ISSN 2393-6940e31.1.2
Boletín de la Sociedad Zoológica del Uruguay, 2022
Vol. 31 (1): e31.1.2
ISSN 2393-6940
https://journal.szu.org.uy
DOI: https://doi.org/10.26462/31.1.2
ABSTRACT
Ants have an important ecological role and they can
help in prevention and pests management. That is why is
important to know the species and understand the function
they perform in different systems. The main propose of this
work was to study the ants diversity on the ground in Citrus
sinensis crop, with irrigation (IC) and without (NC). Pitfall
traps, foliage patterns, manual capture and sifting litter
were used to characterize ant assemblages and compare
the ant diversity between treatments. In total, 26 species
and 13 genera were collected, grouped in 5 families. The
irrigated crop presented the higher richness, abundance
and diversity index values, although the differences
between crops were not significant. Nine ant guilds were
recognized, distributed in three groups (epigeas, arboreal
and hypogea). The epigeous ant group was the one that
presented the most abundance in both crops. In the two
treatments the three general groups were found, even
though in NC crop, the Specialist predators (Sp) and Agile
pseudomyrmicinae (Ap) guilds were not registered, which
were exclusives of treatment CR. Sf index showed big
functional similarity between both treatments. This study
provides four new species records for Corrientes
province: Cephalotes bruchi, Cephalotes minutus,
Cyphomyrmex transversus y Pheidole jelskii.
Keywords: Biodiversity, Formicidae, agroecosystems,
Argentina.
RESUMEN
DIVERSIDAD Y GRUPOS FUNCIONALES DE
HORMIGAS EN CULTIVOS DE Citrus sinensis CON
DIFERENTE RÉGIMEN DE RIEGO. Las hormigas tienen
un papel ecológico importante y pueden ayudar en la
prevención y el manejo de plagas. Por eso es importante
conocer las especies y comprender la función que
desempeñan en los diferentes sistemas. El principal
objetivo de este trabajo fue estudiar la diversidad de
hormigas en cultivo de Citrus sinensis, con riego (IC) y sin
(NC). Se utilizaron trampas de caída, golpeteo de follaje y
captura manual para caracterizar a los grupos de
hormigas y comparar la diversidad de hormigas entre los
tratamientos. En total, se recolectaron 26 especies y 13
géneros, agrupados en 5 familias. El cultivo con riego
asistido presentó los mayores valores del índice de
riqueza, abundancia y diversidad, aunque las diferencias
entre cultivos no fueron significativas. Se reconocieron
nueve gremios de hormigas, distribuidos en tres grupos
(epigeas, arbóreas e hipogeas). El grupo de hormigas
epigeas fue el que presentó mayor abundancia en ambos
cultivos. En los dos tratamientos se encontraron los tres
grupos generales, aunque en el cultivo NC no se
registraron los gremios Predadoras especialistas (Sp) y
Pseudomyrmex Agiles (Ap), los cuales fueron exclusivos
del tratamiento CR. El índice Sf mostró una gran similitud
funcional entre ambos tratamientos. Este estudio
proporciona cuatro nuevos registros de especies para la
provincia de Corrientes: Cephalotes bruchi, Cephalotes
minutus, Cyphomyrmex transversus y Pheidole jelskii.
Palabras claves: Biodiversidad, Formicidae,
agroecosistemas, Argentina.
INTRODUCTION
The integrated pest management (MIP) has the
purpose of protecting the harvest as much possible, to
the cheapest way and with the less possible damage to
mankind, animals, ecosystems and agroecosystems
(Romero, 2016).
One of the main objectives of MIP is biological
control, which doesn't tend to eradicate the pests, but to
reduce their density and prevent economic damages.
As it is known, the success of these programs will
depend on preliminary studies about biology and
DIVERSITY AND FUNCTIONAL GROUPS OF ANTS IN Citrus sinensis CROP FIELD WITH DIFFERENT
WATERING REGIME
*
Dario D. Larrea , Gilberto Avalos and Ivo Zanone
Universidad Nacional del Nordeste, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales y Agrimensura, Departamento
de Biología, Laboratorio de Biología de los Artrópodos. Av. Libertad 5470, Corrientes, Argentina.
*Corresponding author: dariolarrea@gmail.com
Fecha de recepción: 24 de marzo de 2021
Fecha de aceptación: 07 de octubre de 2021
.
2
LARREA ET AL.
ecology of the natural enemies groups of crop pests
(Bale, Van Lenteren and Bigler, 2008).
Ants are important predators and they can help to
prevent and manage pests, to do so, it is important to
study and understand the roles they play on different
systems (Philpott and Armbrecht, 2006; Arenas and
Armbrecht, 2018). There are studies that demonstrate
the significance of ants in the regulation of arthropod
populations which is important for biological control
(Aldana-De La Torre, Aldana, Calvache and Arias,
1998; Bañol, Barrientos and Piñol, 2015).
Some records are known about ant assemblage
structure on agricultural systems, of which some can
be mentioned, such as: palm plantations (Aldana-De
La Torre et al., 1998); coffee plantation in Colombia
(Gallego-Ropero, Montoya-Lerma and Armbrecht,
2009; Arenas and Armbrecht, 2018) and Cuba
(Vázquez Moreno, Matienzo Brito, Alfonso Simonetti,
Moreno Rodríguez and Álvarez Núñez, 2009); sugar
cane plantations (Santos, Carrano-Moreira and Torres,
2012), pine tree plantations (Matos, Yamanaka,
Castellani and Lopes, 1994) and oranges crops in
Colombia (Lozano, Cardona and Ulloa-Chacon, 2013).
In the province of Corrientes, the citrus production
covers 25000 ha approximately, of which 9000 are
available for the European Union exportation, for which
it has to have the best quality and sanitary
requirements. Exported citric fruit to EU and others
markets with similar restrictions must have the highest
quality standards (Avalos, Bar, Oscherov and
González, 2013).
For an effective integrated pest management, it is
important to know the structure of the community to
encourage the maintenance of beneficial organisms.
Therefore, it is important to know the composition of ant
communities in Citrus crops.
The objective of this work was to describe ant
communities in Citrus sinensis crops (L) Osbeck
(Valencia Late variety) and evaluate if they differ
according to the irrigation regime on the plantations.
This study represents a contribution to the diversity,
richness and structure for Formicidae.
To achieve these standards, SENASA (National
Sanity and Quality Agribusiness Service) requires
Good Agricultural Practices (BPA) which implies the
reduction of agrochemical use to ensure safety on
primary production.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Study Area
The investigation was placed in orange crops
located in the experimental station of INTA in Bella
Vista department, province of Corrientes, Argentina
(28°26' S 58°55' W). This department is 70 m above
sea level. The ground is sandy loam and it rains about
1200 mm annually. The absolute maximum
temperature is 33ºC, the absolute minimum is 8.5ºC
and average temperature is 20.5ºC (Giménez,
Goldfarb and Casco, 2001). The study area belongs to
the Humid Eastern District of the Phytogeographical
Province of Chaco, Subregion of Chaco (Morrone,
2000).
Samples were taken during a year in two Citrus
sinensis crops plots of 0.82 ha and 392 plants each.
The sample plot one (IC) had a crop with irrigation
management and was frequently fertilized, and plot two
(NC) was treated without additional water and with a
limited fertilization level.
In IC treatment, fertilization is carried out with
Ammonium Nitrate, Phosphoric Acid and Dolomite. All
compounds are applied to the soil twice per week,
using 4 sprayers per plant. Fertilization is carried out
during 2 hours with a total of 32 liters of water. First,
during 5-10 minutes, only water is poured, then water
with fertilizer during 90 minutes and finally only water
within 20-25 minutes.
Sampling methodology
Every month, in each studied plot, orange plants
(20 trees) were randomly selected based on
systematic sampling. In all of them, four harvesting
techniques were performed; each technique was
repeated three times per plant, totaling 1440 samples
per year for every single plot.
All methods applied to trees during each month are
considered as a sampling unit. Where every unit
represents a complementary set of different methods
employed during a concrete period.
We use foliage beating technique and manual
capture to collect ground ants on higher canopy, pit-fall
traps were installed and sifting litter made. Foliage
beating technique consisted in shaking vigorously one
sector three times on the top above an entomologic
umbrella of 0.70 m length by 0.60 m wide. Three pit-fall
traps were installed at the foot of every sample tree,
making a triangle around it, at a 1.50 m distance.
Plastic recipients of 900 ml were used, with an opening
of 11 cm diameter. Inside each recipient, ethylene
glycol was diluted in water in a 1:10 proportion with
detergent drops, then these recipients were buried to
the ground level without cover and left there during 48
2 2
hs. A 0.50 m surface of litter was sifted on a 3m white
canvas. The sieve with a 10x15 mm mesh aperture on
three places around each selected tree. On each crop,
120 samples were obtained monthly. The manual
2
collection is carried out in an area of 4m , with a
collection effort of 3 hours/man for treatment.
The samples were analyzed in the lab and
classified using taxonomical keys (de Andrade and
Baroni Urbani, 1999; Palacio and Fernández, 2003;
Quiran, 2007; Olivero-G., Guerrero and Escárraga-F.,
2009). All samples were identified to species level;
those that were not, were grouped using a
morphospecies criteria, differentiating them according
Bol. Soc. Zool. Uruguay (2ª época). 2022. Vol. 31 (1): ISSN 2393-6940e31.1.2
3Diversity of Ants in Citrus
to their morphological characteristics (Krell, 2004;
Majka and Bondrup-Nielsen, 2006). To define the
ecological role of the species, the samples were
classified according to functional groups (Andersen,
1995; Silvestre, Roberto, Brandão and Rosa, 2003).
Species were classified into three general groups
considering collecting method and nesting habits in
epigeas, arboreal and hypogea species containers
with alcohol 70.
The specimens were preserved in alcohol 70%,
with the following data: species name, country,
province, department, locality and date of collection
and collector and were deposited in the Cátedra de
Biología de los Artrópodos, Universidad Nacional del
Nordeste, Corrientes, Argentina (CARTROUNNE).
Table 1. Adjusted abundance (AA) of species/morphospecies of Formicidae found in Citrus sinensis crop with two types of treatments.
Bella Vista, Corrientes, Argentina.
a b c
Reference Subfamily Ic Nc Functional groups
Especies
Dolichoderinae
1Dorymyrmex thoracicus Gallardo, 1916 7,02 4,77 Op
2Dorymyrmex pyramicus (Roger, 1863) 2,82 0,69 Op
3Dorymyrmex sp 1 0,1 0,06 Op
Formicinae
4Camponotus punctulatus Mayr, 1868 37,29 27,3 Sc
5Camponotus rufipes (Fabricius, 1775) 0,15 0,51 Sc
6Camponotus blandus (Smith, 1858) 0,26 0,3 Sc
7Camponotus cordiceps Santschi, 1939 0,2 0 Sc
8Brachymyrmex sp 1 1,35 1,4 Lvs
9Brachymyrmex sp 2 0,01 0 Lvs
10 Nylanderia fulva (Mayr, 1862) 0,88 0,06 Op
11 Nylanderia silvestrii (Emery, 1906) 0,06 0,1 Op
Myrmicinae
12 Cephalotes bruchi (Forel, 1912)* 2,97 1,71 Ce
13 Cephalotes minutus (Fabricius, 1804)* 0,2 0 Ce
14 Crematogaster sp 1 4,02 0 Msla
15 Crematogaster sp 2 0,06 0 Msla
16 Cyphomyrmex rimosus (Spinola, 1851) 0,36 0 CA
17 Cyphomyrmex transversus Emery, 1894* 0,21 0,11 CA
18 Pheidole oscurithorax Naves, 1985 8,81 0,56 Gd
19 Pheidole radoszkowskii Mayr, 1884 0,3 0,14 Gd
20 Pheidole jelskii Mayr, 1884* 0,18 0,03 Gd
21 Pheidole sp 2 0,07 0,05 Gd
22 Solenopsis invicta Buren, 1972 5,3 5,1 Gd
23 Trachymyrmex sp 0,02 0 CA
24 Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger, 1863) 0,88 7,21 Msla
Pseudomyrmicinae
25 Pseudomyrmex gracilis (Fabricius, 1804) 0,06 0 Ap
Ponerinae
26 Odontomachus haematodus (Linnaeus, 1758) 0,12 0 Sp
Adjusted Abundance Total 73,69 60,1
aIC Irrigated crop.
bNC Non.irrigated crop
c CA Criptic Atini, Msla: Massive recruitment little arboreal, Ce: Cephalotini, SC: Subordinate camponotini, Sp: Specialist
predators, Gd: Ground dominant, Lvs: Litter and vegetation specialists, Op: Opportunistic, Ap: Agile pseudomyrmicinae.
*New record to Corrientes province.
Bol. Soc. Zool. Uruguay (2ª época). 2022. Vol. 31 (1): ISSN 2393-6940e31.1.2
LARREA ET AL. 4
Fig. 1. Accumulation curves of observed (S) and estimated (Chao 2 and Jack 1) ant species in crops of Citrus sinensis with two
types of treatments. Bella Vista, Corrientes, Argentina. a. Irrigated Crop b. Non-irrigated crop.
Bol. Soc. Zool. Uruguay (2ª época). 2022. Vol. 31 (1): ISSN 2393-6940e31.1.2
5Diversity of Ants in Citrus
Data analysis
The number of species (S) was considered as a
diversity measure. The Shannon-Wienner index
(H´=Σpi lnpi) was also used, considering the number of
appearance of each species, as it is recommended for
social insects (Leponce, Theunis, Delabie and Rosin,
2004). Equitability of Pielou (J'= H'/ H'max) and
2 2 2
Simpson (λ=Σ (n /N ) = Σpi ) were also estimated. All
analysis was made by the statistical software PAST
(Hammer, Harper and Ryan, 2001). The abundance
was standardized according to the proposal of Lindsey
and Skinner (2001) by adjusted abundance (AA),
where AA= A (O/100): A= total number of individuals of
each species, O= capture frequency. The use of AA
values minimizes the problems associated to
overcollection bias generated by nests or foraging trails
near the traps (Lindsey and Skinner, 2001).
The ants abundance of both treatments was
compared by one-way variance analysis (ANOVA).
The ANOVA assumptions were corroborated with a
Shapiro-Wilk test to evaluate the normal distribution of
the data and a Levene test to evaluate the homogeneity
of variance (Hammer et al., 2001).
Whittaker rank-abundance curves were made for
each site, representing AA values on logarithmic scale
(Feinsinger, 2001).
For the ants richness analysis, accumulation
curves were made based on sample units for each plot,
together with the richness estimators of first-order
Jacknife (JK1) and second-order Chao (Chao 2)
included in the statistic package EstimateS version 9.1
(Colwell, 2015). These estimators allow predicting the
richness of a specific plot, based on the incident data
(Colwell, Mao and Chang, 2004). The calculations
were made with 100 random occurrences considering
only incidences data (presence-absence) because of
the limitations imposed for the use of ant abundance on
richness estimations (Bestelmeyer, 2000). For this
analysis, each month of the collection year was used as
the sampling unit.
The ant fauna composition was compared between
sites with Jaccard qualitative similarity index (Moreno,
2001). All analysis was made on the statistical program
PAST (Hammer et al., 2001).
In order to evaluate the fauna in a different scale
than taxonomic, all species were assigned to different
guilds according to the classification of Perez-
Sanchez, Lattke and Viloria (2012) ). The guild
composition was compared between sites with the
functional similarity index (Sf) proposed by Silvestre et
al. (2003). The functional similarity index, adapted by
Silvestre, is defined as:
x 100
Sf = Ga x Na + Gb Nb
That is:
Ga = number of guilds in locality 1
Gb = number of guilds in locality 2
Gc = number of guilds in common in the two
2 x Gc x Nc
localities
Na = number of species registered in locality 1
Nb = number of species registered in locality 2
Nc = number of species shared within the guilds
RESULTS
A total of 1683 ants were registered, five families, 13
genera and 26 species (Table 1). The Myrmicinae
subfamily presented the highest richness values of
genera (7) and species (13), representing the 36% of
AA total. The Formicinae subfamily registered eight
species distributed in three genera, representing
69.87% of AA total. The three subfamilies
Dolichoderinae, Pseudomyrmicinae and Ponerinae
presented less than 16% of AA with the lowest richness
values of species (3, 1 and 1 respectively). This work
adds four new records to the list of species in
Corrientes province: Cephalotes bruchi, Cephalotes
minutus, Cyphomyrmex transversus y Pheidole jelskii
(Table 1).
With pit-fall traps, 20 species were collected on
which the best represented were Dorymyrmex
thoracicus and Camponotus punctulatus. With foliage
beating technique, four species were captured:
Cephalotes bruchi, Cephalotes minutus,
Pseudomyrmex gracilis and Crematogaster sp 1 and
with sifting litter only two additional species were
collected: Cyphomyrmex rimosus and Trachymyrmex
sp. A total of 13 genera and el 100% de species (26
species) were registered for IC treatment, while for NC
treatment 9 genera and 17 species (Table 1).
Accumulation curves of species for treatment IC
reached close to saturation points at the time it gained
nine samples units, meanwhile the saturation point of
species for treatment NC was reached with much more
sampling effort (Figure 1). In NC treatment, the
sampling efficiency varied between 86% and 97%
(first-order Jackknife and second-order Chao
respectively). On the other hand, this index varied
between 90% and 98% (first-order Jackknife and
second-order Chao respectively) in treatment IC.
These values indicated that the sampling effort was
sufficient to estimate species richness. Jacknife 1
estimator indicates at least 4 and 3 non collected
species for IC and NC plot respectively (Fig. 1).
The highest ant adjusted abundance was
registered in the IC crop (73.69). The NC treatment
registered less adjusted abundance (60.1), but two of
its species (Wasmannia auropunctata and Pheidole
oscurithorax) presented higher abundance values in
this treatment. The IC treatment presented the highest
species richness, with nine exclusive species. The ant
abundance did not present significant differences
between treatments (ANOVA F = 0.08; p = 0.78; df =
51).
Bol. Soc. Zool. Uruguay (2ª época). 2022. Vol. 31 (1): ISSN 2393-6940e31.1.2
LARREA ET AL.
All alpha diversity measures expressed higher
values in the irrigated crops (Table 2).
Whittaker curves for treatment IC showed more
aggrupation between points, which describes a more
equitative distribution among species. At the same
time, it describes a better distribution in the number of
individuals per species (Fig. 2). The curve of the NC
crop presents a higher slope and separation between
points, indicating higher dominance of one or more
species (Fig. 2). The numerically dominant species
were Camponotus punctulatus and Solenopsis invicta
(Table 1; Fig. 2).
The Jaccard index showed a 65% similarity
between both treatments, indicating the composition of
species in both plots is similar.
Nine ant guilds were recognized within three
general groups (Table 3). From three general groups
(epigeas, arboreal and hypogea), epigeal ants
represent close to 90% of total AA, where the
subordinate Camponotini (Sc) guild was the most
important (Table 3). Tree ants represent about 20%,
whereas the hypogeous ants group represents only
0.5% of total AA with just one guild (Table 3). In both
treatments the three general groups were found.
However, large epigeal Predators (Sp) and agile
Pseudomirmecins (Pa) guilds were not registered in
NC crop, which were exclusive to IC treatment. The Sf
index showed a great functional similarity (72%)
between both treatments.
DISCUSSION
This study represents the first contribution to
knowledge of the composition and structure of
formicids in Citrus sinensis crops in the Argentinian
northeast. For this reason, it is important to highlight
that most of the studies based on the composition and
structural characteristics of the region's myrmecofauna
focus on natural environments. Among these studies,
we can find the works by Arbino and Godoy (2001);
Calcaterra, Cuezzo, Cabrera and Briano (2010);
Gomez Lutz and Godoy (2010); Leponce et al. (2004).
The number of species registered on this work is
low comparing to others carried out in natural
environments by Calcaterra et al. (2010) on the natural
reserve of Ibera marshland, which collected 94
species. Also, Leponce et al. (2004) recorded 66
species in the Pilcomayo National Park in Formosa.
This particularity of species richness in natural
environments and specially forests could be attributed
to the complexity of those environments as Gerez
(1988) assures, who argues that all arthropods in
general are associated to a plant formation, depending
on the specialization degree they present. From this
perspective, many microhabitats of these systems
provide refuge to feed, nesting, mating and protection
of the climatic adverse effects (Lawton, 1983).
On both experimental units where the investigation
took place, no agrochemicals were used to eliminate
pests; this explains the abundance and richness found,
probably because of particular characteristics of the
crop. Halaj Ross and Moldenke (2000) argues that
agricultural systems, especially perennial crops such
as sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) deploy a tree
structure of important dimensions and are very stable
with a rich entomofauna.
On the other hand, the number of species
registered on this work is intermediate, compared to
other crops. On this matter, Vázquez Moreno etal.
(2009) in Cuba, registered five species in coffee
polycultures without pest treatments or fertilization. In
orange crops in Colombia (Lozano et al., 2013), 119
species / morphospecies were identified, within eight
subfamilies, values much higher than those recorded in
the present study. These values exceed the findings
here mentioned. The best-represented families in
Colombia (Lozano et al. 2013) were Myrmicinae (64)
and Formicinae (23) and among the least represented
were Pseudomyrmecinae (7) and Dolichoderinae (7).
This pattern is also observed in our study, which does
not show an overall pattern of constant dominance in
the Citrus sinensis crops of the region. Also Samways
(1983), in environments associated with citric crops in
South Africa, registered 23 genera and 49 species.
Almeida, Queiroz and Mayhe-Nunes (2007) found 39
6
Bol. Soc. Zool. Uruguay (2ª época). 2022. Vol. 31 (1): ISSN 2393-6940e31.1.2
Table 2. Diversity index of ant assembly found in Citrus sinensis crop with two types of treatments. Bella vista, Corrientes, Argentina.
a b
IndexeI C NC
Richness (S) 26 17
Simpson (D) 0,94 0,91
Shannon-Wiener (H') 3,03 2,57
Equitability of Pielou (J') 0,93 0,91
a IC Irrigated crop.
b NC Non-irrigated crop
species in agroecological crops in Brazil, while in
Colombia, in mono and polycultures of coffee with
different levels of agrochemical use, Gallego-Ropero
(2005) quote 48 and 18 species respectively.
For many families, knowing the specific taxonomic
level is still incipient to South America. Also, in many
cases the lack of specialists in the field makes the
determination job too tricky. That is why specific
taxonomic units were used (morphospecies), as it has
been proven useful for a quick estimate of biodiversity
(Oliver and Beattie, 1993).
Four new records of Formicidae to the
Mesopotamian region are important due to the limited
investigation carried out. According to Vittar (2008),
provinces like Entre Ríos and Corrientes present an
underestimated value of species due to the reduced
number of works executed in both provinces.
Shannon-Weaver and Equitability index obtained in
this work are high values compared to the results
obtained in sugar cane crops by Santos et al. (2012).
This feature could be explained by the diversity of
niches present in citric crops (such as litter and
canopy).
Rivera and Armbrecht (2005), studying coffee crops
with different degrees of plant cover, found Shannon
values between 1.12 and 2.87. All these results are
lower than those found in this study, indicating that
despite being a cropping system, it allows the
occurrence of an interesting number of ant species.
The number of groups in Citrus sinensis was closer
to functional groups or guilds in semiarid zones of
South America (Bestelmeyer and Wiens, 1996; Pérez-
Sanchez et al., 2012) and guilds in Ibera marshlands
(Calcaterra et al., 2010). The most abundant functional
groups were Camponotini patrol, Ground dominant
and Opportunists. These groups have the following
ecological characteristics in common: 1) high
abundance; 2) active foraging; 3) great variety of
alimentary items (Bestelmeyer and Wiens, 1996;
Silvestre et al., 2003). The number of guilds found in
this study (9) is lower than the records for Cerrado (15)
(Silvestre et al., 2003). The main difference found with
Bestelmeyer and Wiens (1996) was the absence of
Ecitoninae species (army ants). In studies made by
Pérez-Sánchez et al. (2012) in semiarid plant
formations in Venezuela, between captured guilds, Big
Dolicoderini, Cutters and Nomads, were found, which
were not registered in studied crops. In Ibera
(Calcaterra et al., 2010) the most abundant guilds, in
the four studied environmental units, were the
opportunistic and generalists Myrmicinae, while in this
study, the predominant were the soil Dominant and
Cosmopolitan patrols. In the studied crops,
omnivorous groups are predominant. This indicates a
low functional complexity system within the ensemble,
as well as a poor food quality system (Silvestre et al.,
2003). The functional groups that are not found in this
study represent groups of ants with highly
7Diversity of Ants in Citrus
Fig. 2. Whittaker curves of ant species in crops of Citrus sinensis with two types of treatments. Bella Vista, Corrientes, Argentina.
The numbers represent the identity of each species (Table 1). IC: Irrigated crop. NC: Non-irrigated crop.
Bol. Soc. Zool. Uruguay (2ª época). 2022. Vol. 31 (1): ISSN 2393-6940e31.1.2
speciesalized habitats such as cryptic Attinis. These
functional groups disappear due to the loss of niches
produced in the crops by the homogenization of the
environment. This trend could be explained by the
habitat heterogeneity hypothesis (Tews et al., 2004) as
a determinant factor of ant assemblage structure since
naturals environments have more niches and/or
microhabitats to be exploited by ants.
Although the crop was located within the bounds of
humid Chaco, this ant community expressed a
structure similar to that of semiarid South American
communities (Bestelmeyer and Wiens, 1996; Pérez-
Sánchez et al., 2012). This could be explained by the
homogeneity of the crop which would allow a limited
number of niches to exploit.
According to Kaspari et al. (2000), diversity of ants
would not be explained only by the high net primary
productivity but also due to the heterogeneity of the
habitat. Likewise, humidity, temperature, dispersion,
competition and/or disturbance would also affect
diversity values in ants. Therefore, the greater richness
in the crop with irrigation could be explained by the
greater of humidity.
Many of the species collected have ecological
characteristics that make them important species for
the productive point of view. Camponotus punctulatus
in agricultural systems of Argentinian northeast present
a great activity as ground ecosystem engineer.
Wasmannia aurapunctata is plague for cacao, coffee
and ornamentals, by protecting Homoptera against
parasites and predators which promotes an ecological
imbalance in favor of phytophagous insects.
Furthermore, the aggressiveness of these ants and
there painful sting make more difficult the crop
management practice. Nylanderia fulvia represent
another aggressive specie, considered an important
coffee crop plague in Colombia, by defending
Homoptera from there natural enemies, favoring the
increase population of phytophagous. All these make
W. aurupunctata and N. fulvia important species to
Citrus sinensis studied crops. Odontomachus
haematodus, is a general predator species that usually
feeds on caterpillars, flies, beetles, small Hemiptera
among other resources. They patrol solitary way with
underground nests. Those characteristics made of O.
hamatodus an interesting specie to be use as biological
control.
CONCLUSIONS
Our results show the ant diversity is not significantly
affected by irrigation regime applied to Citrus sinensis
crops studied. Although the irrigated crop presented
slightly higher diversity index values.
Although the studies were carried out in a humid
region, the union structure is more similar to the ant
communities of dry region of Argentina. That difference
in the structure of the guilds can be explained by the
reduction niches, common in homogeneous
environments as Citrus sinensis crop. This study
highlights the need to conduct insect inventories in crop
groups to know their role in systems. This could define
better integrated pest management plans.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
We are grateful to our colleagues of GIBA (Grupo
Investigación Biología de los Artrópodos) for the
assistance in the field and logistic.
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Table 3. Formicidae guilds percentage in Cistrus sinensis crop Bella Vista, Corrientes, Argentina.
a b
Groups Guilds IC % NC %
Arboreals Massive recruitment little arboreal (Msla) 6,73 12
Cephalotini (Ce) 4,3 2,85
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