Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Evaluation of responses of different ant species (Formicidae) to the scavenger deterrent factor associated with the entomopathogenic nematode-bacterium complex.

Abstract

According to previous observations, it was hypothesized that the feeding behavior of some ant species would be deterred by a scavenger deterrent factor (SDF), whereas for other species it would not. The effects of the SDF were studied on 11 ant species in three different subfamilies: Dolichoderinae Forel, 1878, Formicinae Latreille, 1809, and Myrmicinae Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau, 1835. The experiments were conducted from 2014-2015 in Davis, California, United States, Aydin, Turkey, and Duzce, Turkey. Five-day-old Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Poinar, 1976), (Hb)-killed and freeze-killed Galleria mellonella (Linnaeus, 1758) were exposed to ant colonies in the field for 3 to 4 h. Seven ant species fed significantly less on Hb-killed insects than freeze-killed insect. On the other hand, there was no significant difference in cadaver consumption with five species, but Liometopum occidentale Emery, 1895 did consume a higher rate of Hb-killed insects than freeze-killed insects and was not deterred by SDF. It was also observed that four ant species took Hb-killed insects into the nests, but two Myrmicinae species, Pogonomyrmex subdentatus Mayr, 1870 and Messor meridionalis (André, 1883) removed the cadavers after 30 min, whereas two Formicinae species, Cataglyphis nodus (Brullé, 1833) and Formica fusca Linnaeus, 1758, retained the cadavers in the nest. It was assumed that the latter two species consumed both Hb-killed and freeze-killed insects. Further studies are needed to explain why L. occidentale, C. nodus and F. fusca are not deterred by SDF.