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Ants: Major functional elements in fruit agro-ecosystems and biological control agents

Diame L., Rey J.Y., Vayssières J.F., Grechi I., Chailleux A., Diarra K.. 2018. Sustainability, 10 (1) : 18 p..

DOI: 10.3390/su10010023

Ants are a very diverse taxonomic group. They display remarkable social organization that has enabled them to be ubiquitous throughout the world. They make up approximately 10% of the world's animal biomass. Ants provide ecosystem services in agrosystems by playing a major role in plant pollination, soil bioturbation, bioindication, and the regulation of crop-damaging insects. Over recent decades, there have been numerous studies in ant ecology and the focus on tree cropping systems has given added importance to ant ecology knowledge. The only missing point in this knowledge is the reasons underlying difference between the positive and negative effects of ants in tree cropping systems. This review article provides an overview of knowledge of the roles played by ants in orchards as functional elements, and on the potential of Oecophylla weaver ants as biological control agents. It also shows the potential and relevance of using ants as an agro-ecological diagnosis tool in orchards. Lastly, it demonstrates the potential elements which may determine the divergent negative and positive of their effects on cropping systems.

Mots-clés : agroécologie; agroécosystème; lutte biologique; oecophylla; asie; afrique; australie

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