Donald H. Feener Jr.

Donald H. Feener Jr.
University of Utah | UOU · Department of Biology

Ph.D.

About

73
Publications
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3,596
Citations
Citations since 2017
4 Research Items
914 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150
Introduction
A primary focus of my research is understanding how environmental constraints, interspecific trade-offs, and indirect effects affect the assembly local ant communities. My aim is to quantify common interspecific trade-offs between competitive ability and other traits such as resource discovery and parasitoid vulnerability and then develop an integrative, mechanistic theory of species interactions that will allow us to predict co-occurrence and abundance of species in local ant communities.

Publications

Publications (73)
Article
Pyrazines are an important group of natural products widely used as food additives and fragrants. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS) is the most widely applied analytical technique for characterization of alkylpyrazines. However, mass spectra of many positional isomers of alkylpyrazines are very similar. Consequently, an unambiguous ident...
Article
Full-text available
Ponerine ants are known to contain mixtures of pyrazines in their mandibular glands. We analyzed the mandibular gland contents of four ponerine species (Odontomachus chelifer, O. erythrocephalus, O. ruginodis, and O. bauri) by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, and found that each species contains specific mixtures of trisubstituted...
Article
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What forces structure ecological assemblages? A key limitation to general insights about assemblage structure is the availability of data that are collected at a small spatial grain (local assemblages) and a large spatial extent (global coverage). Here, we present published and unpublished data from 51,388 ant abundance and occurrence records of mo...
Article
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Many studies have focused on the impacts of climate change on biological assemblages, yet little is known about how climate interacts with other major anthropogenic influences on biodiversity, such as habitat disturbance. Using a unique global database of 1128 local ant assemblages, we examined whether climate mediates the effects of habitat distur...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Ground-dwelling ant colonies are mostly generalist scavengers that compete for similar ephemeral resources and may optimize food collection by improving their ability to find resources fast (discovery ability). This study investigated the variation of discovery ability among ants in southwestern Amazonian communities,...
Article
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We studied nest relocation in the ant Pheidole dentata, a common species in the southern US, by following colonies for 6 weeks. We correlated probability of relocation with several abiotic and biotic environmental factors, such as air temperature, humidity, leaf litter depth (LLD), nest type and presence of phorid fly parasitoids. Colonies moved of...
Article
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Habitat structural complexity can slow resource discovery by ants but can also lower the risk of parasitism during foraging. The relative importance of these two ecological facets of habitat complexity may differ in a species-specific manner and thus may be important in the outcome of exploitative competition over food resources. For the host ant s...
Article
Species should only persist in local communities if they have functional traits that are compatible with habitat-specific environmental conditions. Consequently, pronounced regional environmental gradients should produce environmental filtering, or a trait-based spatial segregation of species. It is critical to quantify the links between species' f...
Article
1. Ecological trade-offs in ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) assemblages and their implications for coexistence boast a rich history in entomology. Yet investigations of trade-offs have largely been limited to homogeneous environments. We examined how environmental context modifies trade-off expression in an ant assemblage spanning a heterogeneous reg...
Article
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Finding food is one of the most important tasks an animal faces. Although the impact of behavior and morphology on individual foraging success is well characterized, an understanding of the extent of interspecific differences in these traits as well as their influence on resource competition is lacking. Temperate ant communities represent an ideal...
Article
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An understanding of foraging behavior is crucial to understanding higher level community dynamics; in particular, there is a lack of information about how different species discover food resources. We examined the effect of forager number and forager discovery capacity on food discovery in two disparate temperate ant communities, located in Texas a...
Article
A major communication gap exists between climate scientists, educators, and society. As a result, findings from climate research, potential implications of climate change, and possible mitigation strategies are not fully understood and accepted outside of the climate science community. A good way to begin bridging the gap is to teach climate scienc...
Article
The distribution of resources within habitats affects species abundance, richness and composition, but the role of resource distribution in species interactions is rarely studied. In ant communities, changes in resource distribution within habitats may influence behavioral interactions because many ant species are specialized to efficiently harvest...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods The factors driving the assembly of communities along spatial and environmental gradients are actively debated among ecologists. Using an ant assemblage in a spatially heterogeneous region in Florida, we analyzed evidence for species segregation along spatial, temporal, and dietary axes that potentially promote species...
Article
1. Omnivorous woodland ant species trade off between the ability to find and behaviourally control food resources. Dominant species can limit the ability of subordinates to harvest certain food items. However, subordinate species, by being faster discoverers, could gain access to such food items by arriving at them first. 2. In this study, we teste...
Article
Full-text available
Alternative phenotypes that differ in body size, shape or other attributes coexist in many animal species, with male-female differences being the most familiar form of alternative phenotypes. Ants are an unappreciated ideal model system to explore allometric interrelationships among alternative phenotypes. Seven different forms of size dimorphism o...
Article
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A predictive framework for the ecology of species invasions requires that we learn what limits successful invaders in their native range. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) is invasive in the United States, Puerto Rico, Australia, New Zealand, and China. Solenopsis invicta appears to be a superior competitor in its introduced range, whe...
Article
. 1The seed-harvesting ant Messor (Veromessor) prrgandei (Mayr) is a common inhabitant of southwestern deserts of the U.S.A. Foragers vary in size from less than 1 mg to more than 10 mg in body mass and may travel over 80 m on a single foraging trip. Their small size, long foraging range, and hot, arid habitat suggest that water stress may limit fo...
Article
. 1Pheidole militicida Wheeler, a seed-harvesting species of the southwestern United States, possesses a major worker caste (soldiers) with unusually large heads. Previous work suggested that these large major workers are specialized defenders against large seed-harvesting species in the genus Pogonomyrmex.2Experimental introductions of Pogonomyrme...
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Foraging activity of ants in xeric areas may be limited by desiccation stresses. To assess the extent of such stresses on a polymorphic ant species [Messor pergandei (Mayr), body mass range 1-12mg], we measured body water reserves, absolute rates of water loss, and cuticular permeability over the species' foraging temperature range (15–45d̀C). Cuti...
Article
Species must balance effective competition with avoidance of mortality imposed by predators or parasites to coexist within a local ecological community. Attributes of the habitat in which species interact, such as structural complexity, have the potential to affect how species balance competition and mortality by providing refuge from predators or...
Article
Ant communities often consist of many species with apparently similar niches. We present a mathematical model of the dominance‐discovery trade‐off, the trade‐off between the abilities to find and to control resources, showing that it can in principle facilitate the coexistence of large numbers of species. Baiting studies of dominance and discovery...
Article
Full-text available
Ant communities often consist of many species with apparently similar niches. We present a mathematical model of the dominance-discovery trade-off, the trade-off between the abilities to find and to control resources, showing that it can in principle facilitate the coexistence of large numbers of species. Baiting studies of dominance and discovery...
Article
1. Trade-offs underpin local species coexistence. Trade-offs between interference and exploitative competitive ability provie a mechanism for explaining species coexistence within guilds that exploit overlapping resources. 2. Omnivorous, leaf litter ants exploit a shared food base and occur in species-rich assemblages. In these assemblages, species...
Article
Tropical monodominant forests in which one tree species dominates the canopy occur in all three major tropical regions, but few studies have focused on the mechanisms responsible for dominance. This study tests the hypothesis that relative to other species in the community, dominant species are well defended and escape herbivore and pathogen damage...
Article
Interaction modifications arise when the presence of one species alters the behavior of a second thereby altering that species' interactions with a third. Species-specific phorid parasitoids that attack ants at food resources can modify the competitive interactions between their host and competing ant species. This study examines whether interactio...
Article
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Extrafloral nectary (EFN) plants are widespread and can be quite species-rich in some communities. Thus, ants that utilize extrafloral nectar may have the opportunity to discriminate among a wide variety of nectar sources, resulting in variation in the ant attention EFN plants receive. In this study, we compare ant visitation rates of three Passifl...
Article
Cryptic species complexes occur in many taxa, in particular in the insect order Diptera. Here we describe a possible new cryptic species complex in the family Phoridae. Three lines of evidence suggest that Apocephalus paraponerae, an ant parasitoid, is actually a complex of at least four genetically distinct but morphologically almost indistinguish...
Article
1. The work reported here tested experimentally whether specialisation in Apocephalus paraponerae was due to physiological interactions that limit the parasitoid to the host ant Paraponera clavata. The suitability of other ant species as hosts was tested, and behavioural traits that may promote a high degree of specificity within this host–parasito...
Article
Locating potential hosts for egg laying is a critical challenge in the life history of many insects. Female insects in several orders have evolved mechanisms to find hosts by using olfactory and visual signals derived from their hosts. We describe visual and chemical cues used by the dipteran parasitoid Apocephalus paraponerae (Diptera: Phoridae) i...
Article
Studies of species interactions in ant communities have been a major source of evidence for the importance of interspecific competition in natural communities. One consequence of the overwhelming evidence for competition in ant communities is that the role of such “top-down” processes as predation and parasitism has been ignored. Recent evidence, h...
Article
Natural formation of treefall gaps plays an integral role in the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of many tropical forests, affecting the spatiotemporal distribution of plants and the animals that interact with them. This study examines the impact of treefall gaps on the spatial and temporal patchiness of ant assemblages in a moist lowland fore...
Article
Optimally foraging animals can be behaviorally or morphologically adapted to reduce the energetic and time costs of foraging. We studied the foraging behavior and morphology of three seed harvester ant species, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, P. desertorum, and P. occidentalis, to determine the importance of behavioral strategies and morphological features...
Article
Full-text available
Parasitoids in the insect order Diptera include an estimated 16,000 species, or approximately 20% of the total number of species with this life-style. Parasitoids in this order are exceedingly diverse in both their habits and evolutionary origins, which makes them an underutilized but highly suitable group for quantitative studies of character conv...
Article
Apocephalus paraponerae (Diptera: Phoridae) parasitizes workers of the giant tropical ant, Paraponera clavata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), in Central America. When female parasitoids locate fighting or injured workers of this species, they deposit one or more eggs in them and feed from wounds. Male parasitoids are also attracted to hosts for feeding...
Article
Energy intake and expenditure on natural foraging trips were estimated for the seed-harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex maricopa and P. rugosus. During seed collection, P. maricopa foraged individually, whereas P. rugosus employed a trunk-trail foraging system. Energy gain per trip and per minute were not significantly different between species. There was...
Article
The minimum cost of transport (MCOT) was measured in voluntarily running unladen and experimentally laden Pogonomyrmex maricopa (mean mass = 8.9 ± 1.4 mg). MCOT did not vary with temperature over a 10 °C range in which P. maricopa are normally active in the field. Y-axis intercepts varied significantly among individuals, and were greater than the s...
Article
Third-instar larva, puparium and life history of Rhyncophoromyia maculineura are described. Females of this species parasitize injured workers of Camponotus sericeiventris and possibly also those of Dolichoderus lugens. Larvae develop in the host abdomen, one per host. Limited life history data indicate that this way of life might be shared by othe...
Article
This study examines the oviposition behavior of the phorid parasitoid Neodohrniphora curvinervisand the antiparasitoid defense behavior of its leafcutting ant host Atta cephalotes. N. curvinervisfemales are diurnal sit- and- wait parasitoids that attack only outbound foragers of head width 1.6 mm or greater. Females deposit a single egg through the...
Article
Full-text available
The locomotion and load carriage energetics of the southwestern American harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, were quantified at several temperatures within their normal foraging temperature range using a voluntary locomotion regime ('running tube respirometer'). In a metabolic rate (MR) versus running speed regression, the intercepts for the indiv...
Article
The rate of food retrieval in Costa Rican colonies of the fire ant, Solenopsis geminata (F.), declines to near zero in the presence of parasitic phorid flies of the genus Pseudacteon Coquillett (Diptera: Phoridae) because virtually all workers assume a distinctive antiparasitoid defense posture. The presence of a single male parasitoid is sufficien...
Article
Apocephalus paraponerae (Diptera: Phoridae) is a parasitoid of injured workers of Paraponera clavata. Both male and female flies are attracted to prospective hosts, the males to feed and the females to feed and oviposit. Flies were attracted to extracts of crushed workers, the first definitive evidence for an olfactory mode of attraction in parasit...
Article
Data from laboratory rearing of the parasitoid Apocephalus paraponerae in its ant host, Paraponera clavata, show that the egg stage lasts only 6 ½-7 hours, and the larval feeding period is only 48 hours. These times are extremely short, compared to most other phorids. The pupal stage, however, was 17–26 days, much longer than in other phorids, poss...
Article
Full-text available
A curious behavior in leaf-cutting ants in the genus Atta is the “hitchhiking” of small minim workers on leaf fragments carried by larger workers. Two functions of these hitchhikers have been proposed: (1) defense of leaf carriers against parasitic flies in the family Phoridae (ant protection hypothesis; Eibl-Eibesfeldt and Eibl-Eibesfeldt 1967) an...
Article
Full-text available
THE energy cost of pedestrian locomotion in terrestrial vertebrates has been extensively studied1–3. Insects differ fundamentally from vertebrates, making data on their locomotion energetics of great comparative interest, but their small size and low behavioural plasticity complicate measurements. Miniature treadmills4–9 enforce unnatural running r...
Article
Cuticular permeability at 25°C was 11.6 μg H2O cm-2 Torr-1 h-1, less than half the value calculated from published data for mesic ants. Cuticular permeability rose approximately exponentially with temperature, without a sharp transition point, and was not affected irreversibly by brief exposure to temperatures up to 60°C. Mean body water content wa...
Article
Pheidole titanis Wheeler, an ant that occurs in desert and deciduous thorn forest in the southwestern United States and western Mexico, is a predator on termites. In the dry season well-coordinated raids against termite foraging parties occur early in the morning or late in the afternoon, whereas in the wet season most raids occur at night. This se...
Article
Allometric scaling in ants with polymorphic castes often remains curvilinear after logarithmic transformation. A technique for comparing non-linear scaling is developed and used to compare caste polymorphism in the leaf-cutting Atta colombica and the army ant Eciton hamatum. Of the 5 morphological characters compared, the scaling of leg length to t...
Article
For workers at 28°C, standard where is ml h⁻¹ and M is mass in g. At the same temperature, pupal . Gross cost of transport (GCOT) and net cost of transport (NCOT) decreased with body mass and running speed, log GCOT = 0.87-(1.05 log s)-(0.55 log M) and log NCOT = 0.51-(0.92 log S)-(0.66 log M) where GCOT and NCOT are ml O₂ g⁻¹ km⁻¹, S is cm s⁻¹, an...
Article
Standard rates of O₂ consumption () and net, gross, and minimum costs of transport (NCOT, GCOT, and ) were measured in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica. Both closed (running wheel respirometer) and flow-through (treadmill) systems were used. The relation between body mass (.004-.035 g) and standard in workers was where is ml h⁻¹ at 28 C and M is...
Article
Overdispersion of colonies exists in many eusocial insects. Overdispersion can be generated by direct attack on colonies or founders, by defense of space, by defense of food resources being harvested, or by exploitative competition. When direct competitive interactions lead to colony overdispersion, territoriality is said to occur. Whereas solitary...
Article
Solenopsis geminata (F.) and Solenopsis xyloni McCook, fire ants native to North America, are attacked by at least three species of parasitic phorid flies. Oviposition behavior of one of these parasites, Pseudacteon crawfordi Coquillett, is described. This species inserts its oviscape in a thoracic suture of workers and apparently deposits eggs the...
Article
Most eusocial insect colonies defend resource patches rather than space per se. Colonies with forager communication can simultaneously defend several spatially separated food patches. A model explores optimal numbers of scouts (discoverers of patches) and recruits (followers) needed to maximize net rate of energy intake by the colony. Territorial c...
Article
Full-text available
Geographic morphological variation of Bufo kerinyagae Keith, 1968 and Bufo regularis Reuss, 1834 (Anura Bufonidae) related to ecological conditions has been studied using bivariate and multiple regression analyses. B. kerinyagae exhibits variation in body size which is negatively correlated with altitude and mean annual rainfall and positively corr...
Article
Social insects are here considered to be eusocial forms, ie. those with caste differentiation in one or both sexes. Termites (Isoptera) and social Hymenoptera are therefore considered. The phylogeny of these 2 groups is outlined. Chapter 2 considers the food of such insects, looking at termites as decomposers and wasps and ants as predators, and th...
Article
Full-text available
A bisexual tetraploid species, Bufo asmarae (Anura Bufonidae), was discovered in 1970 during field work in Ethiopia by Mills and Jocelyn Tandy and concurrent cytologicai studies by James P. Bogart (BOGART & TANDY, 1976). The species is known from 11 localities in Ethiopia, but series of 10 adults or more are available from only three sites. These t...
Article
Experimental evidence demonstrates that the parasitic phorid fly Apocephalus shifts the competitive balance between the ant species Pheidole dentata and Solenopsis texana by interfering with the defensive behavior of Pheidole dentata major workers (soldiers). This represents one of the first examples of a parasite affecting competitive interactions...

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Understand the factors that affect energy flows of carrion among scavenging ants and birds.