Pollen as alternative source for submissive species in suboptimal circumstances

Markó, Bálint and Erős, Katalin and Maák, István and Babik, Hanna and Slipinski, Piotr (2015) Pollen as alternative source for submissive species in suboptimal circumstances. In: 6th Central European Workshop of Myrmecology, 2015.07.24-27., Debrecen, Magyarország.

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Insects are known to be the most important pollinators. However, ants are usually considered to be poor pollinators due to their negative effect on flowers and pollen survival. Plants apply various strategies to repell ants from flowers. Consequently pollen consumption is very rarely observed in ants, and, though they are omnivourus, ants are not commonly considered as pollenivores. In suboptimal circumstances, though, species might turn to sources rarely used before. Such suboptimal conditions may arise under strong competitive pressure, as the presence of a supercolonial territorial ant species. We studied the food preferences and competitive strategies of ants within a Formica polyctena supercolony in Central Polish woodland by offering them mixed pollen, and then tuna as animal protein source on the next day. F. polyctena was not interested in pollen baits almost at all, however, Myrmica spp. exploited them most heavily where next day F. polyctena was the most abundant on baits. In the case of the tuna baits there was a negative relationship between the abundance of F. polyctena and Myrmica spp. as predicted by the territorial behaviour of the first species. The results come to support the fact the pollen itself can be used as food source by ants mostly in suboptimal conditions, where food availability is hindered e.g. by superior competitors.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH301 Biology / biológia
Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH540 Ecology / ökológia
Q Science / természettudomány > QL Zoology / állattan
Depositing User: dr. Bálint Markó
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2015 14:33
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2015 14:33

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