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When David and Goliath share a home: Compound nesting of Pyramica and Platythyrea ants

Abstract.

We documented a commensal association between two phylogenetically distant ant subfamilies (Ponerinae and Myrmicinae). The host (Platythyrea conradti) and its tiny guest (Pyramica maynei) nest in the same hollow branches in West African forests. Brood chambers are adjacent but separate, and the guest scavenges on prey remains of the host, which may benefit from improved nest hygiene. Two mated dealate queens of Pyramica were collected in one small Platythyrea nest, suggesting that they can hunt (non-claustral foundation) in the safe environment provided. An experiment showed that the guest can survive alone and was able to hunt collembolans.

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Correspondence to C. Peeters.

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Received 14 March 2006; revised 18 May 2006; accepted 24 May 2006.

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Yéo, K., Molet, M. & Peeters, C. When David and Goliath share a home: Compound nesting of Pyramica and Platythyrea ants. Insect. Soc. 53, 435–438 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-005-0890-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-005-0890-9

Keywords.

  • Symbiosis
  • commensalism
  • Platythyrea conradti
  • Pyramica maynei
  • Dacetini