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Influence of fertilization with molybdenum on the foraging preference of Eucalyptus grandis seedlings by Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel, 1908 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

Grant number: 18/11305-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2018
Effective date (End): August 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Plant Health
Principal researcher:Ricardo Toshio Fujihara
Grantee:Thaís Berganton Poletto
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Agrárias (CCA). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). Araras , SP, Brazil


The leaf-cutter ants comprise the genera Atta (saúvas) e Acromyrmex (quenquéns) and have a mutualistic relationship with fungi of genus Leucoagaricus. They are constantly cited in the literature for causing considerable damages to several economic importance crops, requiring their control. Agricultural producers have related the use of molybdenum to reduce the damage caused by insect-pests, including the leaf-cutter ants, empirically and informally, but there is no scientific evidence of its effectiveness. Therefore, the objective of this work will be evaluate if molybdenum influences the foraging preference of Eucalyptus grandis by Atta sexdens rubropilosa. The seedlings will be cultivated in substrate and treated with different concentrations of molybdenum, through applications in the leaves and soil. The bioassays will be carried out in laboratory, in a foraging arena, and will be offered to A. sexdens rubropilosa colonies leaves discs treated with 0.5 cm in diameter. The experimental design will be completely randomized and constituted by seven treatments (molybdenum concentrations) and five repetitions (colonies). The data will be submitted to analysis of variance and later comparisons between means by Scott-Knott test to 5% of probability. Once the influence of molybdenum on foraging by leaf-cutter ants has been proven, new studies can be carried out, aiming at molybdenum fertilization as an alternative method for the control of leaf-cutting ants.

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