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Introduced ant species and mechanisms of competition on Floreana Island (Galapagos, Ecuador) (Hymenoptera : Formicidae)
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Simultaneous presence of several tramp ant species of relatively recent introduction on a remote island is an excellent opportunity to study competition mechanisms that lead to the establishment of invasive species. Using attractive food baits we collected 14 ant species among which 10 are well-known tramp species. The most important change between 1996-97 and 2003 is the spread of the tropical fire ant Solenopsis geminata at the detriment of Tetramorium simillimum, suggesting that the colonization process on Floreana is still very dynamic. The follow-up of 400 food baits for 21 hours permitted us to calculate indices of competition abilities for 11 species, revealing distinct strategies. The two small tramp species Monomorium floricola and Tapinoma melanocephalum are typically opportunists when large-sized Odontomachus bauri (possibly native species) and Camponotus macilentus (endemic species) are good interference competitors, out-competing other species at food baits. Dominant species S. geminata and Monomorium destructor reach high scores for all indices due to their high abundance.
invasive species, competition, tramp ant, colonization
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