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Ant fauna associated with Microgramma squamulosa (Kaulf.) de la Sota (Polypodiaceae) fern galls

Santos, Marcelo Guerra, Porto, Gabriela Fraga, Lancellotti, Isabella Rodrigues, Feitosa, Rodrigo M.
Revista Brasileira de entomologia 2019 v.63 no.2 pp. 101-103
Camponotus, Crematogaster, Microgramma, Tapinoma, Wasmannia auropunctata, alcohols, death, fauna, ferns and fern allies, hatching, host plants, hyperplasia, hypertrophy, imagos, insects, larvae, parasitic wasps, plastic bags, stem galls, Brazil
Galls are neoformed plant structures created by cell hyperplasia and hypertrophy induced by a number of organisms, especially insects. After adult insects hatch, senescent galls may remain on the host plant and be occupied by a succession of fauna, the most important and dominant being ants. This study aimed at characterizing the ant fauna successor of stem galls induced by microlepidoptera in Microgramma squamulosa (Kaulf.) de la Sota (Polypodiaceae). Four collections were carried out in the municipality of Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil. The galls were packed in plastic bags and taken to the laboratory. Ants were euthanized and conserved in 70° GL alcohol and later identified. A total of 49 stem galls were collected and analyzed, 15 containing microlepidoptera galler larvae, one a parasitoid wasp and 33 without the microlepidoptera or parasitoid (67%). Twelve of these galls (39%) contained ants. Six ant species were recorded (Camponotus crassus, Crematogaster curvispinosa, Crematogaster sericea, Procryptocerus sampaioi, Tapinoma atriceps, and Wasmannia auropunctata), all native to Brazil. Ant occupation in M. squamulosa seems to be associated with senescent galls due to hatching of the galler insect, which leaves a hole that allows ants to colonize it, in other words, an opportunistic domatia. Senescent galls resulting from the death of galler insects do not seem to facilitate ant occupation.