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Foraging strategy and food preference of Formica polyctena ants in different habitats and possibilities for their use in forest protection



Food availability is an important factor influencing the lives of ant colonies. Wood ants consume protein-rich and sugary foods. Protein-rich food is comprised primarily of insects, a considerable proportion of which the ants acquire by direct predation. They therefore play an important function in biological protection of forests. The objective of our study was to determine if workers activity is dependent on habitat type, size of the nest, bait size and food type (sugar, protein). We selected 23 nests in a spruce forest and placed food baits of various sizes and types near each nest. The results obtained show that the number of individuals on the baits was substantially higher in clearings than within mature forest. The number of worker ants recorded on the baits was slightly higher for larger nests. Bait size and type had no influence on the number of workers present. Because wood ants do not focus solely on food of a certain size or quality, they can effectively decrease the abundance of forest pests.

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Argomenti della rivista:
Life Sciences, Plant Science, Ecology, other