Utilization on extrafloral nectaries and fruit domatia of Canavalia lineata and C. cathartica (Leguminosae) by ants
Utilization of the extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) and fruits of Canavalia lineata and C. cathartica by ants was investigated at 30 sites in Japan. The fruits of C. lineata and C. cathartica were inhabited by five and eight ant species, respectively. Ant nesting periods and their utilization of EFNs differed between C. lineata and C. cathartica. Canavalia lineata flowers once a year, and periods of EFN-utilization and fruit-nesting by ants do not overlap. The fruit-nesting ants on C. lineata seem to invade the plant from the holes made by moth larvae or breaches made by decay. The ants nesting on the fruits of C. lineata may defend the plant against seed herbivores because they feed on moth larvae. Canavalia cathartica flowers several times over a year, and fruits are found throughout the year; therefore, periods of EFN-utilization and fruit-nesting by ants are overlapped. Canavalia cathartica offers year-round nesting sites and food for ants, and therefore may receive a higher defensive effect from ants than C. lineata.