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The Influence of Aggressive Ants on Fruit Removal in the Tropical Tree, Ficus capensis (Moraceae)
Donald W. Thomas
Vol. 20, No. 1 (Mar., 1988), pp. 49-53
Published by: Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388425
Page Count: 5
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This study examined the effect of aggressive arboreal weaver ants (Oecophylla longinoda) on the dispersal of fruits from the African fig, Ficus capensis. Compared with trees having no or few O. longinoda, trees with large ant colonies had reduced levels of nocturnal fruit removal and an increased proportion of fruits that fell undispersed. Diurnal fruit removal did not differ significantly between trees with different densities of ants. This shift in fruit dispersal characteristics resulted from the clustering of aggressive O. longinoda on the fruiting rama at night. Although ant-plant mutualisms are commonly thought to have evolved from the enhanced fitness that aggressive ants confer on occupied trees by reducing herbivory or competition, reduced seed dispersal in zoochoric species may be an important evolutionary block.
Biotropica © 1988 Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation