Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 313–316

Ant nests in tank bromeliads — an example of non-specific interaction

  • Nico Blüthgen
  • M. Verhaagh
  • W. Goitía
  • Nils Blüthgen

DOI: 10.1007/PL00001722

Cite this article as:
Blüthgen, N., Verhaagh, M., Goitía, W. et al. Insectes soc. (2000) 47: 313. doi:10.1007/PL00001722


Four species of epiphytic tank bromeliads on an island in the Orinoco river in Venezuelan Amazonia were inhabited by 13 ant species from four subfamilies. None of these ant species are known as specialised plant-ants. A Monte Carlo randomisation test showed that ants were randomly distributed among host plants: (1) there was no association between particular ant species and bromeliad species, and (2) there was no vertical stratification of the ant community between bromeliads sampled on the ground and at two height classes in trees. This contrasts with the few published data on the distribution of ants on terrestrial myrmecophytes and epiphytes, respectively, to which we applied the same analytical method.

Key words: Formicidae, Bromeliaceae, Monte Carlo methods, randomisation, commensalism.

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nico Blüthgen
    • 1
  • M. Verhaagh
    • 2
  • W. Goitía
    • 3
  • Nils Blüthgen
    • 4
  1. 1.Botanisches Institut der Universität Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 170, D-53115 Bonn, Germany, Current address: Rainforest CRC, P.O. Box 6811, Cairns, Qld 4870, Australia, e-mail:
  2. 2.Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde, Erbprinzenstrasse 13, D-76133 Karlsruhe, Germany, e-mail: verhaagh_smnk@compuserve.comDE
  3. 3.Universidad Simón Rodríguez, Apartado 47925, Caracas 1010, Venezuela, e-mail: wjgoitia@mail.comVE
  4. 4.Theoretische Biologie, Humboldt Universität, Invalidenstrasse 43, D-10115 Berlin, e-mail: