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Title: The effects of the fungus-growing ant, Trachymyrmex jamaicensis, on soil fertility and seed germination in a subtropical dry forest

Author: Torres, J.A.; Santiago, M.; Salgado, M.;

Date: 1999

Source: Tropical Ecology. 40(2):237-245.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: The fungus-growing ant, Trachymyrmex jamaicensis, is common in the Guanica dry forest of Puerto Rico and uses the pulp of fleshy fruits of many plant species as the primary substrate on which its fungal symbiont is cultivated. The ants discard the seeds and often intact fruits in refuse piles located on the soil surface near the nest entrance. Nest construction activities of T. jamaicensis result in deposition of subsoil over the surface leaf litter, altering the soil profile. The distribution of T.jamaicensis nests is aggregated. The ants preferred to nest where the soil was in a ravine and were absent from areas with shallow soils. Concentrations of Ca, Mg, Na, P, Fe, Mn, K, C and N tend to be higher in the ant refuse piles than in the surface soil or the subsoil. The differences in nutrient concentrations depend on the geological origin of the soil. Germination studies show higher seed germination in the refuse piles than in control areas, but seedling survivorship is lower in refuse piles.

Keywords: Ants, Guanica, dry forest, Puerto Rico

Publication Notes:

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Torres, J.A.; Santiago, M.; Salgado, M. 1999. The effects of the fungus-growing ant, Trachymyrmex jamaicensis, on soil fertility and seed germination in a subtropical dry forest. Tropical Ecology. 40(2):237-245.


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