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Assembly of Mangrove Ant Communities: Patterns of Geographical Distribution

Blaine J. Cole
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 52, No. 2 (Jun., 1983), pp. 339-347
DOI: 10.2307/4557
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4557
Page Count: 9
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Assembly of Mangrove Ant Communities: Patterns of Geographical Distribution
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Abstract

(1) The mechanisms by which communities of mangrove ants develop are examined. (2) Eighty-one small mangrove islands in the Florida Keys were surveyed for ant species. Islands varied four orders of magnitude in size. (3) Each of the five major species was found only on islands of a certain minimum size (MSR) or larger. (4) For two species, termed Primary species, experimental introductions showed that the MSR was due to island unsuitability. For two other species, termed Secondary species, the MSR was shown to be the result of competitive interactions with the Primary species. (5) Experiments involving the two Primary species showed that either was capable of preventing the invasion of the other species. Simultaneous introduction experiments showed that one species invariably invaded while the other invariably became extinct. (6) Behavioural interactions between all pairs of the species were tested in arena experiments. The patterns of aggression and avoidance were consistent with, and presumed to be the cause of, the experimental results and patterns of geographical distribution.

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