Alien and native tree species having extrafloral nectaries as favorite hunting area for arboreal endemic Philippine tiger beetles (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae) in human-disturbed habitat in Lanao del sur province, Mindanao, Philippines.
To document a relation between abundance of arboreal, predatory tiger beetles, their ant prey, and extrafloral nectaries attracting the ants, we gathered data from more than 10 species of native and introduced trees and large, tree-like perennial plants in Lanao del Sur Province, Mindanao, Philippines. All specimens of tiger beetles (two Tricondyla and two Neocollyris species, all endemic to the country) were noted on five tree species characterized by presence of extrafloral nectaries, including three alien/invasive and two native ones. Invasive Spathodea campanulata and native Hibiscus tiliaceus were the most inhabited ones (respectively, 56% and 19% of beetles). Presence of tiger beetles on these trees most probably depends on high abundance of ants, which are typical prey for arboreal Cicindelidae, while occurrence of ants can result from presence of extrafloral nectaries on different parts of the plants. This suggests a new mutualistic insect-plant interaction between native and invasive species.