Entomophaga

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 29–54 | Cite as

Adaptation d'Oecophylla longinoda [Formicidae-Formicinae] aux variations spatio-temporelles de la densité de proies

  • A. Dejean
Article

Résumé

L'activité prédatrice de 12 sociétés d'Oecophylla longinoda Latreille a été étudiée durant 124 h d'observations pendant lesquelles 2 482 proies ont été capturées. La prédation s'exerce sur les arbres supportant les nids ainsi que sur des territoires «secondaires» habituellement situés sur le sol. Les 7 situations suivantes sont comparées: 1) En forêt, durant les périodes «habituelles»; 2) Durant le passage d'une colonne de Magnans; 3) Le territoire de chasse «secondaire» d'une société installée sur un arbre situé en bordure de rivière correspond à une zone où de nombreux insectes se concentrent pour s'abreuver; 4) L'arbre support est un manguier dont on suit le cycle biologique (inter-saison, floraison, fruits mûrs) et son impact sur la prédation par lesOecophylla; 5) On compare la situation «habituelle» à ce qui se passe lorsqu'un essaimage de Termites est rabattu sur les territoires d'une société; 6) Le territoire «secondaire» est situé sous la véranda d'une maison éclairée chaque nuit où de nombreux insectes ailés sont attirés; 7) Les territoires «secondaires» de 2 sociétés étant contigus, on compare les périodes de combats aux périodes calmes.

Les territoires «secondaires» sont situés sur des zones de concentration en proies (insectes de la litière des forêts, zones où ils viennent s'abreuver, attraction par la lumière, la nuit). LesOecophylla y capturent souvent des insectes aptères, cas relativement rare sur l'arbre support. Ces territoires sont défendus contre les ouvrières d'autres sociétés.

Du fait de leur territorialité très marquée avec surveillance permanente du territoire et un recrutement très efficace, lesOecophylla répondent très rapidement à toute prolifération en proies. A cela s'ajoute une grande diversité de proies potentielles de sorte que cette espèce peut être considérée comme très efficace en lutte biologique, les ouvrières réagissant spécifiquement à toute abondance d'un type d'insecte.

Pour une société comprenant 12 calies, le nombre de proies capturées par an est de l'ordre de 45 000. Ramené à un nombre équivalent d'individus et de jours d'activité, il est du même ordre que celui desFormica lugubris (Cherix, 1986).

Mots Clés

Fourmis Oecophylla prédation lutte biologique 

Summary

The predatory activity of 12 societies ofOecophylla longinoda Latreille was observed for 124 hours during which 2,482 prey items were captured. Predation took place in trees containing the nests (“habitual” territory) and in “secondary” territories usually situated on the ground. The 7 following situations were observed. Ant activity I) In the “habitual” tree situation; 2) During the passage of a column of Dorylinae; 3) In the “secondary” hunting territory of a society settled on a tree close to the bank of a river; a zone where numerous insects gathered to drink; 4) In a society centred on a mango tree in which the biological cycle (seasonal variations, blossoming time, fruit ripening) and its impact on predation byOecophylla was closely observed; 5) In a “habitual” situation when a swarm of fermites fell into the territory of a society; 6) In a “secondary” territory situated beneath a house verandah, to which numerous winged insects were attracted each night by the verandah light; 7) In the “secondary” territories of two contiguous societies during both the combat and the calm periods.

“Secondary” territories are generally situated in zones, such as on the forest floor, along side water courses or beneath lights where there is a concentration of prey. At such sites,Oecophylla often capture wingless insects which they rarely catch on trees.

Due to their pronounced territoriality, permanent surveillance and very efficient recruitment,Oecophylla respond extremely quickly to any increase in prey numbers. Owing to the great diversity in their potential prey, this species can be considered very effective as a biological control agent. For example, a society comprising 12 nests will capture about 45,000 prey items per year. When corrected for the numbers of individuals involved and the period of activity, the predation level of this species is similar to that ofFormica lugubris.

Key-Words

Ants Oecophylla predation biological control 

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Copyright information

© Lavoisier Abonnements 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Dejean
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d'éthologieUniversité Paris-NordVilletaneuseFrance

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