Density and spatial pattern of nests in sub-Mediterranean ground-dwelling ant communities (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
The density and spatial pattern of ant nests were examined in two sub-Mediterranean habitats of the Balaton Uplands in Hungary. The aim of this study was to examine whether regular spatial arrangement, the most common dispersion pattern among ants that mostly indicates competition, is a characteristic feature of these communities. In both habitats, the nests of Aphaenogaster subterranea and Lasius emarginatus had the highest density, followed by the nests of Prenolepis nitens and Temnothorax crassispinus, which were also frequent. The intraspecific spacing pattern of nests was random or aggregated in most cases, and when the species identity of the nearest neighbour was disregarded, the nests of all the individual species showed significant aggregation. The nearest interspecific inter-nest distances proved to be significantly shorter than the nearest intraspecific inter-nest distances both in the case of the entire community and the majority of individual species, except for the polydomous L. emarginatus. On the basis of the results it seems that neither intra-, nor interspecific competition may be an important process in the formation of nest spacing patterns in these habitats.
KeywordsAnts Competition Distribution pattern Formicidae Nest density
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