Conference Paper

Acrobat ant antics: The secret life of ants in Louisiana’s salt marshes

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Abstract

Acrobat ants live in the hollow stems of the marshgrass, Spartina alterniflora. Before we studied the insect food web in coastal ecosystems, little was known about these ants. These ant colonies are often in multiple rooted, upright dead stems but sometimes occupy unrooted, dead stems. The total nest is made up several “satellite” nests in several adjacent stems. Colonies are 1-2m across with >1m in between separate nests. Separate nests were identified by aggression studies among adjacent colonies. April and May are the times for mating flights in the northern Gulf of Mexico. In this talk, we describe the colony biology and the role these ants play in the insect food web in the saltmarshes in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

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