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Bat aggregation mediates the functional structure of ant assemblages

Déjean A., Groc S., Hérault B., Rodriguez-Pérez H., Touchard A., Céréghino R., Delabie J.H.C., Corbara B.. 2015. Comptes Rendus. Biologies, 338 (10) : p. 688-695.

DOI: 10.1016/j.crvi.2015.06.011

In the Guianese rainforest, we examined the impact of the presence of guano in and around a bat roosting site (a cave). We used ant communities as an indicator to evaluate this impact because they occupy a central place in the functioning of tropical rainforest ecosystems and they play different roles in the food web as they can be herbivores, generalists, scavengers or predators. The ant species richness around the cave did not differ from a control sample situated 500 m away. Yet, the comparison of functional groups resulted in significantly greater numbers of detritivorous fungus-growing and predatory ant colonies around the cave compared to the control, the contrary being true for nectar and honeydew feeders. The role of bats, through their guano, was shown using stable isotope analyses as we noted significantly greater d15N values for the ant species captured in and around the cave compared to controls.

Mots-clés : forêt tropicale humide; indicateur biologique; chiroptera; formicidae; Écologie animale; compétition animale; isotope; Écosystème forestier; guyane française; france

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