International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI2018), August 5-10, 2018 in Guarujá, Brazil.

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When invaders locally fail: the effect of temperature on the Argentine ant invasion in Spain

Author(s):
Xim Cerda, Xim Cerda , Daniel Sanchez-Garcia , Paloma Alvarez-Blanco , Raphael Boulay , Elena Angulo
Institution(s):
Dept Ethology and Biodiversity Conservation, Estacion Biologica Donana, CSIC, Seville, Spain; Dept Ethology and Biodiversity Conservation, Estacion Biologica Donana, CSIC, Seville, Spain ; Dept Ethology and Biodiversity Conservation, Estacion Biologica Donana, CSIC, Seville, Spain ; Dept Ethology and Biodiversity Conservation, Estacion Biologica Donana, CSIC, Seville, Spain ; IRBI, Univ François Rabelais de Tours, France ; Dept Ethology and Biodiversity Conservation, Estacion Biologica Donana, CSIC, Seville, Spain
Ant communities of Doñana National Park (SW Spain) are strongly disturbed after the arrival of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile. The Argentine ant removes the majority of local ant species, through the attack to their nests. At a local scale, only a native ant species still holds out against the invader: the thermophilous Cataglyphis tartessica. We have studied 1) the abundance in the different ecosystems (with pitfall traps), 2) the daily activity rhythms and interspecific interactions (at baits), and 3) the Critical Thermal Limits (with a hot-plate in the laboratory) of the different co-occurring ant species. Their activity patterns do not overlap: the peak of activity of C. tartessica is at midday, during the hottest period of the day, while the peak of activity of L. humile is late afternoon or at night. But during cloudy days, when they meet on the ground, the Argentine ants attack foragers and nests of C. tartessica. C. tartessica workers avoid the fight, stop activity, come back to the nest, and immediately close it with sand, thus the nest remains unnoticed for the Argentine ants. From the monitoring abundance data of ant species during the last fifteen years we can conclude 1) that the Argentine ant is not a real threat to the native C. tartessica because the invasive species is thermally-limited in Doñana; 2) but it has a very negative local effect on other native species; and 3) more than 40 years after its introduction in Doñana, the Argentine ant has a very reduced and patchy distribution.
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