ID guide | introduced ants

Invasive ants: unwanted partners in ant-plant interactions?

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2003
Authors:L. Lach
Journal:Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden

*[As invasive ants spread, their interactions with plants are inevitable & have potentially great implications for agriculture & conservation. When considered in the context of pre-existing models of ant-plant interactions (the higher abundance, aggressive nature, & attraction to high-carbohydrate resources typically associated with invasive ants) lead to hypotheses about how invasive ants may differ from native ants in protecting plants from herbivores, tending of Homoptera, & interactions affecting plant reproduction. Examples demonstrate that all 3 of these traits common to invasive ants can influence the outcome of interactions between invasive ants & plants, but ant biology & attributes of other organisms also determine the consequences for the plant. Drawing from these examples & considering traits of the invasive ants, plants, & other organisms that interact with the plant, I offer predictions for the contexts in which plants will be at high & low risk of adverse outcomes or may benefit from interacting with an invasive ant. The potential for effects of invasive ants on plants to counteract, & the complexity & context-dependency, that are hallmarks of ant-plant interactions, generally, preclude drawing simple conclusions about the net impacts of invasive ants on plants. Further research on interactions between invasive ants & plants will contribute directly to conservation & agriculture, providing insights to invasion ecology & our understanding of ant-plant interactions.]

Alternate Journal:Ann. Mo. Bot. Gard.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith