Patterns of ant and herbivore activity on five understory euphorbiaceous saplings in submontane Papua New Guinea

M. A. Whalen, D. A. Mackay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Examined euphorbiaceous saplings (Macaranga aleuritoides, M. punctata, M. quadriglandulosa, Mallotus philippensis, Homalanthus novo-guineensis) during the wet season in a submontane tropical rain forest. All of these species have foliar extrafloral nectaries. Abundance, density, and composition of the ant and herbivore communities differed among the tree species; ant densities per unit leaf area varied by a factor of c20; and herbivore densities varied by a factor of c3. Leaves of these species were visited by 6-13 species of ants. Ants were experimentally excluded from branches or small saplings of M. aleuritoides, M. punctata and H. novo-guineensis. Numbers of herbivores and levels of leaf damage were significantly greater on ant exclusion saplings than on ant access saplings for M. aleuritoides, but not for the other two species. M. aleuritoides was visited by more ant species than the other 4 tree species and had the highest number of ants per leaf. The ant-plant associations examined are relatively unspecialized compared with most of the ant associations with euphorbs in the Indo-Malesian tropics. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-300
Number of pages7
JournalBiotropica
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1988

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