Diets of desert seed-harvester ants Veromessor pergandei and Pogonomyrmex rugosus were studied for 3 years at two habitats where they are common and sympatric. Diets of the two species were similar, consisting mainly (87% of 23,913 seeds) of three annual plant species (Schismus arabicus, Plantago insularis, and Pectocarya recurvata). Diets converged following a drought in Winter/Spring 1984 which reduced seed production during this time. Foraging range of P. rugosus almost doubled following the drought while foraging range of V. pergandei remained constant. Neither ant species move their nests once established rendering them effectively sessile granivores. This limits the dietary options of a given colony and may explain interspecific dietary convergence.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Abrams P (1980) Some comments on measuring niche overlap. Ecology 61:44–49
Anonymous (1984) Arizona climate summary, vol 11. Laboratory of Climatology, Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.
Briese DT (1982) Partitioning of resources amongst seed-harvesters in an ant community in semi-arid Australia. Aust J Ecol 7:299–307
Brown JH, Reichman OJ, Davidson DW (1979) Granivory in desert ecosystems. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 10:201–227
Cole AC (1968) Pogonomyrmex harvester ants. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tenn.
De Vita J (1979) Mechanisms of interference and foraging among colonies of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus in the Mojave Desert. Ecology 60:729–737
Hansen SR (1978) Resource utilization and coexistence in three species of Pogonomyrmex ants in an Upper Sonoran grassland community. Oecologia (Berlin) 35:109–117
Hölldobler B (1976a) Recruitment behavior, home range orientation and territoriality in harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 1:3–44
Hölldobler B (1976b) The behavioral ecology of mating in harvester ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Pogonomyrmex). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 1:405–423
Marsh AC (1985) Forager abundance and dietary relationships in a Namib Desert ant community. S Afr J Zool 20:197–203
Marsh AC (1987) The foraging ecology of two Namib Desert harvester ant species. S Afr J Zool 22:130–136
Mehlhop P, Scott NJ (1983) Temporal patterns of seed use and availability in a guild of desert ants. Ecol Entomol 8:69–85
Pimm SL (1983) Monte Carlo analyses in ecology. In: Huey RB, Pianka ER, Schoener TW (eds) Lizard ecology. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass, pp 290–296
Pollock GP, Rissing SW (1985) Mating season and colony foundation of the seed-harvester ant, Veromessor pergandei. Psyche 92:125–134
Quinn JF, Dunham AE (1983) On hypothesis testing in ecology and evolution. Am Nat 122:602–617
Reichman OJ (1984) Spatial and temporal variation of seed distributions in Sonoran Desert soils. J Biogeogr 11:1–11
Rissing SW (1986) Indirect effects of granivory by harvester ants: plant species composition and reproductive increase near ant nests. Oecologia (Berlin) 68:231–234
Rissing SW (1987) Annual cycles in worker size of the seed-harvester ant Veromessor pergandei (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 20:117–124
Rissing SW (1988) Seed-harvester ant association with shrubs: competition for water in the Mohave Desert? Ecology (in press)
Rissing SW, Pollock GB (1986) Social interaction among pleometrotic queens of Veromessor pergandei (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) during colony foundation. Anim Behav 34:226–233
Rissing SW, Pollock GB (1987) Queen aggression, pleometrotic advantage and brood raiding in the ant Veromessor pergandei (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Anim Behav 35:975–981
Rissing SW, Wheeler J (1976) Foraging responses of Veromessor pergandei to changes in seed production. Pan-Pacific Entomol 52:63–72
Ryti RT, Case TJ (1984) Spatial arrangement and diet overlap between colonies of desert ants. Oecologia (Berlin) 62:401–404
Schoener TW (1970) Nonsynchronous spatial overlap of lizards in patchy habitats. Ecology 51:408–418
Schoener TW (1982a) The controversy over interspecific competition. Am Sci 70:586–595
Schoener TW (1982b) Size differences among sympatric bird-eating hawks: a world-wide survey. In: Strong DR, Simberloff D, Abele LG (eds) Ecological communities: conceptual issues and the evidence. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, pp 254–281
Smith JNM, Grant PR, Grant BR, Abbott IJ, Abbott LK (1978) Seasonal variation in feeding habits of Darwin's Ground Finches. Ecology 59:1137–1150
Tevis L (1958) Interrelations between the harvester ant Veromessor pergandei (Mayr) and some desert ephemerals. Ecology 39:695–704
Wiens JA (1977) On competition in variable environments. Am Sci 65:590–597
Went FW, Wheeler GC, Wheeler J (1972) Feeding and digestion in some ants (Veromessor and Manica). Bioscience 22:82–88
Westoby M, Cousins JM, Grice AC (1982) Rate of decline of some soil seed populations during drought in western New South Wales. In: Buckley RC (ed) Ant-plant interactions in Australia. Junk Publishers. The Hague, pp 7–10
Wheeler GC, Wheeler J (1973) The ants of Deep Canyon. University of California Press, Riverside, Calif.
Wheeler GC, Wheeler JN (1986) The ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles
Wheeler J, Rissing SW (1975) Natural history of Veromessor pergandei. II. Behavior. Pan-Pacific Entomol 51:303–314
Whitford WG (1978) Foraging in seed-harvester ants Pogonomyrmex spp. Ecology 59:185–189
About this article
Cite this article
Rissing, S.W. Dietary similarity and foraging range of two seed-harvester ants during resource fluctuations. Oecologia 75, 362–366 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00376938