Biodiv Sci ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (3): 343-351.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.09039

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of facultative mutualism between ants and lac insects on the diversity of ant communities

Zhixing Lu1,2, Youqing Chen1,2,*(), Wei Zhang3, Siming Wang1,2, Qiao Li3   

  1. 1 Research Institute of Resources Insects, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Kunming 650224
    2 Key Laboratory of Cultivation and Utilization of Resource Insects of State Forestry Administration, Kunming 650224
    3 College of Forestry, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224
  • Received:2013-02-05 Accepted:2013-04-22 Online:2013-05-20 Published:2013-06-05
  • Contact: Chen Youqing

Abstract:

In order to reveal the effects of facultative mutualism between ants and lac insects on the diversity of canopy ant communities, a sight-seeking method was used to investigate ant community diversity on the tree, Dalbergia obtusifoliain different plots, with infestation rates of the lac insect, Kerria yunnanensisvarying on branches between 60%, 30%, 10% and 0%, respectively. The results showed that the facultative mutualism could increase the abundance and species richness of the canopy ant assembly, and also change the ant community structure. The amount of honeydew resulting from the presence of lac insect populations had a significant effect on the abundance of ant assembly, and on the community structure of canopy ants, but had no significant effect on ant species richness. Stage of lac insect life cycle was also an important factor affecting the abundance of canopy ants. It was concluded that lac insect cultivation can positively protect canopy ant assemblages and be beneficial to ant diversity conservation.

Key words: facultative mutualism, ant community, honeydew resources, biodiversity, community structure