Community Ecology

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 9–17 | Cite as

Interactions between Liometopum microcephalum (Formicidae) and other dominant ant species of sympatric occurrence

  • L. PetrákováEmail author
  • J. Schlaghamerský


Interactions of Liometopum microcephalum with other two territorial ants also nesting in or foraging on trees, Lasius fuligi-nosus and Formica rufa. were studied in South Moravia (Czech Republic), at the northwestern border of its range, in 2005–2009. L. microcephalum defends its nest and foraging trees. Its distribution area is fragmented and in the north restricted to river floodplains. We investigated whether competition by other behaviourally dominant ant species could limit its distribution. We found six sites where nests of potential competitors were situated close to a L. microcephalum nest tree. We studied the partitioning of space (occupancy of foraging trees) between the species by observation and by lines of pitfall traps placed between nest trees of L. microcephalum and L. fuliginosus. These species avoided each other; the territory border changed over time. Worker interactions, including combats between L. microcephalum and F. rufa colonies, were observed in the field. Aggressive behaviour occurred close to the nest, on trails, foraging trees, and occasionally at food baits. In such situations, L. microcephalum took advantage of worker cooperation. Encounters of single workers were observed in laboratory experiments. L. microcephalum. attacking primarily by biting, lost almost all combats with L. fuliginosus. being paralysed by its secretions. One-on-one encounters with F. rufa led less frequently to combat and chances were more even, but F. rufa prevailed more often. We confirmed the territorial behaviour of L. microcephalum. In the rare situations, in which its colonies occurred together with other territorial species, we observed conflicts but no total displacement of one species by another.


Encounters Space partitioning Territorial ants 



Generalized Estimating Equations


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Akino, T. and R. Yamaoka. 1999. Trunk trail network of Lasius fuliginosus Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Distribution between conspecific neighboring colonies. Entomol. Sci. 2: 341–346.Google Scholar
  2. Andersen, A. N. 1997. Functional groups and patterns of organization in North American ant communities: a comparison with Australia. J. Biogeogr. 24: 433–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bernstein, R. A. 1975. Foraging strategies in ants in response to variable food density. Ecology 56: 213–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bezdecka, P. 2005. Formicoidea (mravenci). In: Farkač, .J., D. Král and M. Škorpik (eds.), Red List of Threatened Species in the Czech Republic: Invertebrates. Agency for Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection of the Czech Republic (AOPK), Praha. pp. 384–386.Google Scholar
  5. Case, T. J. and M. E. Gilpin. 1794. Interference competition and niche theory. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 71: 3073–3077.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Czechowski, W. 1985. Competition between Myrmica laevinodis Nyl. and Lasius niger (L.) (Hymenoptera, Formicoidea). Arm. Zool. 39: 153–173.Google Scholar
  7. Czechowski, W. 1999. Lasius fuliginosus (Latr.) on a sandy dune – its living conditions and interference during raids of Formica sanguinea Latr. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Ann. Zool. 49: 117–123.Google Scholar
  8. Czechowski, W. and B. Marko. 2005. Competition between Formica cinerea Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and co-occurring ant species, with special reference to Formica rufa L.: direct and indirect interferences. Polish J. Ecol. 53: 467–487.Google Scholar
  9. Czechowski, W., B. Pisarski and K. Yamauchi. 1995. Succession of ant communities (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in moist pine forest. Fragmenta Faunistica 38 (24): 447–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Czechowski, W., A. Radchenko and W. Czechowska. 2002. The ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Poland. Museum and Institute of Zoology PAS, Warszawa.Google Scholar
  11. Debout, G., B. Schatz, M. Elias and D. McKay. 2007. Polydomy in ants: what we know, what we think we know and what remains to be done. Biol. J. Linnean Soc. 90: 319–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dietrich, C. O. and T. Busch. 2004. Arboricaria sociabilis (Kul-czynski, 1897) (Araneae: Gnaphosidae) neu für Österreich: Ein spezialisierter myrmekoider Rauber von Liometopum micro-cephalum (Panzer, 1798) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Wissen-schaftliche Mitteilungen aus dem Niederösterreichischen Landesmuseum 16: 33–46.Google Scholar
  13. Fellers, J. H. 1987. Interference and exploitation in a guild of woodland ants. Ecology 68: 1466–1478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Forel, A. 1892. Die Ameisenfauna Bulgariens. Verhandlungen der k. k. zoologisch-botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 42: 305–318.Google Scholar
  15. Gibb, H. and D. F. Hochuli. 2004. Removal experiment reveals limited effects of a behaviorally dominant species on ant assemblages. Ecology 85: 648–657.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Grabenweger, G., P. Kehrli, B. Schlick-Steiner, F. Steiner, M. Stolz, and S. Bacher. 2005. Predator complex of the horse chestnut leafminer Cameraria ohridella: identification and impact assessment. J. App. Entomol. 129: 353–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hardin, ,J. W. and J. M. Hilbe. 2003. Generalized Estimating Equations. Chapman and Hall/CRC, Boca Raton.Google Scholar
  18. Holldobler, B. and E. O. Wilson. 1990. The Ants. Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, MA.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Holway, D. A. 1999. Competitive mechanisms underlying the displacement of native ants by the invasive Argentine ant. Ecology 80: 238–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Human, K. G. and D. M. Gordon. 1996. Exploitation and interference competition between the invasive Argentine ant, Linepi-thema humile, and native ant species. Oecologia 105: 405–412.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. Hunt, J. H. 1974. Temporal activity patterns in two competing ant species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Psyche 81: 237–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Levings, S. C. and .J. F. A. Traniello. 1981. Territoriality, nest dispersion and community structure in ants. Psyche 88: 265–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mabelis, A. A. 1977. Artenreichtum von Ameisen in einigen Waldtypen. Berichte der Internationalen Symposien der Inter-nationalen Vereinigung für Vegetationskunde (Tüxen, R. ed.), Vaduz, pp. 187–208.Google Scholar
  24. Mabelis, A. A. 2003. Do Formica species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) have a different attack mode? Ann. Zool. 53: 667–668.Google Scholar
  25. Makarevich, O. N. 2003. Liometopum microcephalum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Lower Dnepr. Vestnik zoologii 37: 51– 56.Google Scholar
  26. McGlynn, T. P. 2000. Do Lanchester’s laws of combat describe competition in ants? Behavioral Ecology 11: 686–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mercier, J. L., A. Lenoir and A. Dejean. 1997. Ritualised versus aggressive behaviours displayed by Polyrhachis laboriosa (F. Smith) during intraspecific competition. Behav. Processes 41: 39–50.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. Pereira, H. M., A. Bergman and ,J. Roughgarden. 2003. Socially stable territories: The negotiation of space by interacting foragers. Amer. Nat. 161: 143–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Petrakova, L. and J. Schlaghamersky. 2007. Preliminary results on the interaction of Liometopum microcephalum (Panzer, 1798) with other ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News 10: 118.Google Scholar
  30. Pisarski, B. and K. Vepsalainen. 1989. Competition hierarchies in ant communities (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Ann. Zool. 42: 321–329.Google Scholar
  31. Quinet, Y., J. C. De-Biseau and J. M. Pasteels. 1997. Food recruitment as a component of the trunk-trail behaviour of Lasius fuliginosus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Behav. Processes 40: 75–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sanders, N. and D. M. Gordon. 2000. The effects on interspecific interactions on resource use and behavior in a desert ant. Oecologia 125: 436–443.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  33. Savolainen, R. and K. Vepsalainen. 1989. Niche differentiation of ant species within territories of the wood ant Formica polyctena. Oikos 56: 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Savolainen, R., K., Vepsalainen and H. Wuorenrinne. 1989. Ant assemblages in the taiga biome: testing the role of territorial wood ants. Oecologia 81: 481–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Schlaghamersky, ,1. 2000. The saproxylic beetles (Coleoptera) and ants (Formicidae) of Central European hardwood floodplain forests. Folia Facultatis scientiarium naturalium Universitatis Masarykianae Brunensis, Biologia 103: 1–205.Google Scholar
  36. Schlaghamersky, ,J. and M. Omelková. 2007. The present distribution and nest tree characteristics of Liometopum microcephalum (Panzer, 1798) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in South Moravia. Myrmecological News 10: 85–90.Google Scholar
  37. Schoener, T. W. 1983. Field experiments on interspecific competition. American Naturalist 122: 240–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Seifert, B. 2007. Die Ameisen Mittel- und Nordeuropas. Lu-tra–Verlags- und Vertriebsgesellschaft, Görlitz/Tauer.Google Scholar
  39. Tartally, A. 2006. Long term expansion of a supercolony of the invasive garden ant, Lasius neglectus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmekologische Nachrichten 9: 21–25.Google Scholar
  40. Temeles, E. ,J. 1994. The role of neighbors in territorial systems: when are they “dear enemies”? Animal Behavior 47: 339–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vepsalainen, K. and B. Pisarski. 1982. Assembly of island ant communities. Ann. Zool. Fenn. 19: 327–335.Google Scholar
  42. Vepsalainen, K. and R. Savolainen. 1988. A competition hierarchy among boreal ants: impact on resource partitioning and community structure. Oikos 51: 135–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Vepsalainen, K. and R. Savolainen. 1990. The effect of interference by Formicinae ants on the foraging of Myrmica. J. Anim. Ecol. 59: 643–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vepsalainen, K., R. Savolainen, J. Tiainen and J. Vilén. 2000. Suc-cessional changes of ant assemblages: from virgin and ditched bogs to forests. Ann. Zool. Fenn. 37: 135–149.Google Scholar
  45. Wiest, L. 1966. Über die Funktion des Casters bei der Ver-ständigung von Ameisen. Doctoral thesis (unpublished), Uni-versität Wien.Google Scholar
  46. Wiest, L. 1967. Zur Biologie der Ameise Liometopum microcephalum Panz. Wissenschaftliche Arbeiten aus dem Burgen-land 38: 136–144.Google Scholar
  47. Wilson, E. O. 1975. Enemy specification in the alarm-recruitment system of an ant. Science 190: 798–800.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  48. Wilson, E. O. and M. Pavan. 1959. Glandular sources and specificity of some chemical releasers of social behavior in dolichoderine ants. Psyche 66: 70–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zettel, H., T. Ljubomirov, M. F. Steiner, C. B. Schlick-Steiner, G. Grabenweger, and H. Wiesbauer. 2004. The European ant hunters Tracheliodes curvitarsis and T. varus (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae): Taxonomy, species discrimination, distribution and biology. Myrmecologische Nachrichten 6: 39–47.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2011

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations