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Protection of Vochysia elliptica (Vochysiaceae) by a nectar-thieving ant

Author(s): ROMERO G. Q.

Journal: Brazilian Journal of Biology
ISSN 1519-6984

Volume: 62;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 371;
Date: 2002;
Original page

Keywords: ant-plant interaction | flower nectar | plant protection | rupestrian field | Vochysia elliptica

Vochysia elliptica (Vochysiaceae) is a shrubby plant, which does not have EFNs. Camponotus ants thieve nectar, and can decrease plant fitness by making flowers less attractive to pollinators. However, ants remove herbivores, wich can be beneficial. Results show that plants from which ants were excluded had lower rates of termite (simulated herbivore) removal than did plants visited by ants. Plants accessible to ants showed higher rates of termite removal in the base of leaves and in the inflorescence, than in the tip of leaves. This occurs because ants must pass through the principal axis to reach the inflorescence. Conclusive results of this cost/benefit analysis of the Camponotus sp. presence for V. elliptica can be obtained, with experimental manipulations.
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