Effect of Argentine ant invasions on ground-dwelling arthropods in northern California riparian woodlands
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Although the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is a widespread invasive species that displaces native ants throughout its introduced range, the effects of these invasions on arthropods other than ants remain poorly known. This study documents the consequences of Argentine ant invasions on ants and other ground-dwelling arthropods in northern California riparian woodlands. Baits and unbaited pitfall traps were used to sample different components of the arthropod communities at five pairs of uninvaded and invaded sites. Sites occupied by Argentine ants supported almost no native epigeic ants except for the winter-active Prenolepis imparis. Sites with Argentine ants averaged four to ten times more ant workers than did sites with native ants, but ant worker biomass did not differ between uninvaded and invaded sites. Argentine ants recruited to baits in invaded areas, on average, in less than half the time of native ants in uninvaded areas. Despite the loss of epigeic native ants, higher Argentine ant worker abundance, and faster recruitment by Argentine ants at invaded sites, pitfall trap samples from uninvaded and invaded areas contained similar abundances and diversities of non-ant arthropods. These findings suggest that Argentine ants and the native ants they displace interact with the ground-dwelling arthropods of these habitats in a similar manner.
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