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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Protein matters: ants remove herbivores more frequently from extrafloral nectary-bearing plants when habitats are protein poor

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Passos, Felipe C. S. [1] ; Leal, Laura C. [1, 2]
Total Authors: 2
[1] Univ Estadual Feira de Santana, Programa Posgrad Zool, Av Transnordestina S-N, BR-44036900 Feira De Santana, BA - Brazil
[2] Univ Fed Sao Paulo, Dept Ecol & Biol Evolutiva, Rua Conceicao 215, BR-09972270 Diadema, SP - Brazil
Total Affiliations: 2
Document type: Journal article
Source: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society; v. 127, n. 2, p. 407-416, JUN 2019.
Web of Science Citations: 0

More aggressive and competitive ant species are better bodyguards for extrafloral nectary (EFN)-bearing plants. Therefore, any factor that increases the relative value of EFNs to ants should benefit the plants, because it would increase the probability of the plant interacting with more aggressive ants. We hypothesized that the frequency of plant attendance by more aggressive ants and the efficiency of plant defence by ants will be higher when the availability of carbohydrates and/or proteins to ants is low. We established 19 plots with five focal plants from the EFN-bearing species Turnera subulata per plot. For each focal plant, we recorded the identity of the attending ants and their efficiency in removing simulated herbivores from the plant. In each site, we estimated the biomass of soil arthropods and the number of apical meristems with active EFNs as proxies of protein and carbohydrate availability, respectively. The probability of interacting with more aggressive ant species was not influenced by the number of meristems with active EFNs or by arthropod biomass. However, simulated herbivores were removed more frequently in plots with lower arthropod biomass. This suggests that overall ant aggressiveness towards other arthropods increases in protein-poor sites, potentially increasing the efficiency with which EFN-bearing plants are defended against herbivores. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 17/13358-1 - Competition-based screening of partners as a stabilizing mechanism in ant-plant facultative mutualisms
Grantee:Laura Carolina Leal de Sousa
Support type: Regular Research Grants