Luciana Elizalde

Luciana Elizalde
National University of Comahue | UNCo · Centro Regional Universitario Bariloche

Dr.

About

44
Publications
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Introduction
I research the interaction between predators and their prey, using phorid parasitoids (Diptera: Phoridae) of leaf-cutting ants and armadillo mammals as predators. I also study the ecosystem services provided by ants in the Patagonian steppe. I am interested in aspects of community ecology, behavioral ecology and taxonomy of ants as well as their natural enemies.

Publications

Publications (44)
Article
Social insects, i.e. ants, bees, wasps and termites, are key components of ecological communities, and are important ecosystem services (ESs) providers. Here, we review the literature in order to (i) analyse the particular traits of social insects that make them good suppliers of ESs; (ii) compile and assess management strategies that improve the s...
Article
Urbanization is increasing globally, with concomitant negative effects on biodiversity and human well-being. In urban areas, gardens may contribute to overall green space, bringing benefits to wildlife and residents. We used a community science approach to gather data and understand the role of urban gardens for wildlife and for residents in a deve...
Article
Predation is an important force structuring ecological communities. However, it is still controversial whether larger predator groups are more efficient at exploiting abundant resources. Here, we explored the association between the number of foragers and predation ability in generalist ant species that differ in forager numbers when exploiting res...
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Full-text available
Ants, an ecologically successful and numerically dominant group of animals, play key ecological roles as soil engineers, predators, nutrient recyclers, and regulators of plant growth and reproduction in most terrestrial ecosystems. Further, ants are widely used as bioindicators of the ecological impact of land use. We gathered information of ant sp...
Article
1. Seed dispersal by ants, i.e. myrmecochory, is important in drylands because ants may contribute to overcoming the typical resource limitation imposed on plants in these environments. Dispersal distance and directed dispersal of seeds to nutrient‐enriched ant nests benefit plants by reducing parent or sibling competition and improving growth, sur...
Article
1. Ants provide multiple ecosystem services, including nutrient cycling. Although most studies on nests effects on soil fertility and plant performance include species with large nests, species with less apparent nests may have a relevant effect, especially if they are widespread, abundant, and/or inhabit nutrient‐poor soils. 2. We studied the effe...
Article
Social organisms express collaborative behaviors, allowing them to solve problems that exceed their individual capabilities. Group coordination and environmental context are some of the factors that may determine the performance of individual and collaborative strategies. Using the trail‐clearing behavior of leaf‐cutting ants, we evaluated experime...
Article
Aggregate extraction is an activity that has increased considerably in recent years in Patagonia, providing raw material for road paving and construction industry. This activity deeply impacts soil composition and the biota. Ants are among the most important inhabitants of soils, and are useful indicators of the impact of human activities on ecosys...
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Ants can influence soil fertility and the spatial distribution of seeds, with possible effects on seedling recruitment. The ant species Pachycondyla striata Fr. Smith, 1858 and Odontomachus chelifer (Latreille, 1802) co-occur in many forest areas in the Neotropics. We assessed soil fertility and seed bank structure in soil samples close and distant...
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Being social adds another level of defence for organisms: social defences. Beside individual defensive behaviours, social organisms can limit parasite infections by using collective and collaborative behaviours. We evaluated whether the social defence of the leaf-cutting ant Atta cephalotes is specific against phorid parasitoids and the occurrence...
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Taking bad decisions to solve problems can negatively affect organism fitness, hence, the costs accrued by them should modulate decisions about when and how problems should be solved. We studied the problem of trail maintenance in leaf-cutting ants. We evaluated whether colonies have individuals exclusively dedicated to trail maintenance, and how o...
Article
Resource segregation by species is a cornerstone ecological concept that may result from several processes such as interspecific competition, and can help structuring communities, in particular parasitoid communities. Phorid parasitoid flies that use ants as hosts usually employ one host per individual parasitoid, and thus the pressure for segregat...
Article
Predators that share a prey can interact negatively or positively, depending on whether there is intraguild predation or they facilitate the consumption of the shared prey. Leaf-cutting ants may become pests, thus, knowing their interaction with natural enemies is key for managing their populations. We quantified the negative effect of armadillo pr...
Article
Parasitoid–host interactions are important components of ecological communities. Although parasitoid–host interactions are strongly shaped by evolutionary history, the abundance of both the parasitoid and the host may have a role in determining the nature of the interaction once phylogenetic relationships are considered. 2. Leafcutter ants are host...
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The existence of transport networks is vital for leaf-cutting ant foraging but may generate overcrowding, reducing the input of food into the nest. We studied how ants turn at branching points, a problematic sector for ant traffic, in leaf-cutting ant species that vary in ant flow and trail design. If the walking of turning ants reduces the chance...
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Firewood can act as a long-distance dispersal vector for wood-infesting insects both within and among countries. Recently, we detected the alien carpenter ant Camponotus mus in firewood transported from central Argentina to Patagonia. This species generates significant economic losses in its native range and has invader potential. Moreover, global...
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Habitat fragmentation can have a high impact on parasitoid–ant interactions. Phorid flies are among the most important groups of natural enemies of leaf-cutting ants. We studied the effects of loss in forest cover upon phorids of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex nigerSmith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Attini) in a fragmented area in the Southeastern At...
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Empirical data about food size carried by central-place foragers do not often fit with the optimum predicted by classical foraging theory. Traditionally, biotic constraints such as predation risk and competition have been proposed to explain this inconsistency, leaving aside the possible role of abiotic factors. Here we documented how wind affects...
Article
Arid environments have long been perceived as simple and homogeneous ecosystems, but slight differences in precipitation, topography and soil attributes result in a variety of distinct plant associations. The availability of different vegetation types leads to a non-uniform distribution of resources and abiotic conditions, which may affect the spat...
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This study provides data on the diet of two species of anteaters in Argentina. We worked with feces and the stomachs of road kill individuals. The feces were washed to separate the soil material consumed and 100 ml of the stomachs’ content were taken and examined. The differences in diet between both species of anteaters are related to their habits...
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One advantage of sociality is to mitigate environmental restrictions through collective behavior. Here we document a colony-level response of leaf-cutting ants to wind, an environmental factor that impedes foraging. Given that larger ants adhere more strongly to the substrate, increasing forager size in windy conditions should reduce the negative e...
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Adequate waste management is vital for the success of social life, because waste accumulation increases sanitary risks in dense societies. We explored why different leaf-cutting ants (LCA) species locate their waste in internal nest chambers or external piles, including ecological context and accounting for phylogenetic relations. We propose that w...
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The damage to plantations by pests is often determined by perceptions rather than objective data, resulting in excessive use of pesticides. Leafcutter ants are considered important pests to plantations in America. We evaluated the difference in Pinus taeda biomass consumption by four Acromyrmex leafcutter ant species which co-inhabit plantations of...
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The fitness and survival of organisms ultimately depend on their feeding. Therefore, foraging behaviors should be selected to maximize cost-benefit ratio. Wind may restrict and modify animal movements increasing the cost of foraging, especially when the animal carries resources that intercept wind. We quantified the effect of wind on the foraging o...
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Volcanic eruptions are natural disturbances that impose multiple changes in ecosystems. Arthropods are among the most diverse organisms on the planet and play key functional roles in all ecosystems. Existing information on the effects of volcanic disturbances on arthropods is scattered. The aim of this review is to find generalities in the response...
Article
Las erupciones volcánicas son disturbios naturales que imponen múltiples cambios en los ecosistemas. Los artrópodos se ubican entre los organismos más diversos del planeta y desempeñan un papel clave en el funcionamiento de los ecosistemas. Sin embargo, la información existente sobre los efectos de los disturbios volcánicos sobre ellos es dispersa....
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Full-text available
Fragmentation of the habitat is a major threat to biodiversity in the Atlantic forest. Parasitoids seem to be particularly susceptible to habitat fragmentation. This study evaluated whether habitat fragmentation affected the interactions between phorid parasitoids and their Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ant host. Host density, and parasitoid species rich...
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Parasitoids of the endangered leafcutter ant Atta robusta Borgmeier in urban and natural areas. Hosts of parasitoids in urban areas may suffer from a double threat of habitat destruction by urbanization and parasitism pressure. Moreover, the parasitoids themselves might be at risk if they are specialists. Here, we studied whether Atta robusta (Hyme...
Article
Full-text available
Fragmentation of the habitat is a major threat to biodiversity in the Atlantic forest. Parasitoids seem to be particularly susceptible to habitat fragmentation. This study evaluated whether habitat fragmentation affected the interactions between phorid parasitoids and their Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ant host. Host density, and parasitoid species rich...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Host-searching and oviposition behaviors of parasitoids, and defensive responses of the hosts, are fundamental in shaping the ecology of host-parasitoid interactions. In order to uncover key behavioral features for the little known interactions between phorid parasitoids (Diptera: Phoridae) and their leaf-cutting ant hosts (Formicidae: Att...
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Abstract. 1. Ants using trails to forage have to select between two alternative routes at bifurcations, using two, potentially conflicting, sources of information to make their decision: individual experience to return to a previous successful foraging site (i.e. fidelity) and ant traffic. In the field, we investigated which of these two types of i...
Article
Little is known about the natural history of phorid parasitoids of leaf-cutting ants, an important pest in the Neotropics. This is particularly so for phorids attacking Acromyrmex species. We searched for phorids ovipositing and reared them from ants collected in the field. We found that these phorids formed a guild. Acromyrmex phorids selected ant...
Article
Little is known about the natural history of phorid parasitoids of leaf-cutting ants, an important pest in the Neotropics. This is particularly so for phorids attacking Acromyrmex species. We searched for phorids ovipositing and reared them from ants collected in the field.We found that these phorids formed a guild. Acromyrmex phorids selected ants...
Article
Aim Because of the obligatory relationship between endoparasitoids and their hosts, we presume that hosts exert strong selection pressure on parasitoids. One prediction is a positive relationship between host diversity and parasitoid richness. This relationship could be the product of resource availability which could lead to more opportunities for...
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The following new species of Apocephalus ant-parasitizing flies are described: Apocephalus exlobicornis Brown & Disney, A. exstriatus Brown & Disney, A. flavitenuipes Brown & Disney, A. intermedius Brown & Disney,A. longisetarum Brown & Disney, A. necdivergens Brown & Disney, A. noetingerorum Brown & Disney, A.penicillatus Brown & Disney, and A. ph...
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The subgenus Eibesfeldtphora, of the genus Neodohrniphora, is raised to the rank of genus. Cremersia is synonymised with Neodohrniphora and N. zikani is restored to its original status as a species. New keys to the known males of Myrmosicarius and to all the females of Neodohrniphora are pro- vided. The following new species from Argentina are desc...
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A new species of the ant genus Anochetus is described from Argentina and Paraguay. Anochetus miserabilis González-Campero & Elizalde sp. nov. is included within the "emarginatus" group, which is distributed in northern South America and the Antilles. With the inclusion of this new species, the distribution of the group is extended to southern South...
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Lucianaphora folgaraitae Disney n. gen., n. sp., Macrocerides attophilus n. sp. are described, both being collected over leaf-cutter ants and Cremersia crassicostalis n. sp. from females collected over army ants. Some species col-lected with army ants are given code letters until they are linked up with their unknown sex. Host records for previousl...
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The genus Myrmosicarius Borgmeier is revised. M. brandaoi n. sp., M. cristobalensis n. sp., M. gonzalezae n. sp. and M. longipapis n. sp. from Argentina, with M. cristobalensis from Paraguay also, are described. M. diabolicus is synonymized with M. crudelis and M. cuspidatus is synonymized with M. catharinensis. A new key to the females is provided...

Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Leaf-cutting ants can become important pests for agriculture and forestation. Therefore, knowing their natural enemies is very important. This project focuses on armadillos, which are omnivorous mammals that include several insects in their diets, and parasitoid phorid flies, which are specialists insects that parasite certain ant species. The project studies the interactions of these predators with ants and with each other.