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Revista Colombiana de Entomología

Print version ISSN 0120-0488

Abstract

MERA VELASCO, YAMID ARLEY; GALLEGO ROPERO, MARIA CRISTINA  and  ARMBRECHT, INGE. Interactions between ants and insects in foliage of sun and shade coffee plantations, Cauca-Colombia. Rev. Colomb. Entomol. [online]. 2010, vol.36, n.1, pp.116-126. ISSN 0120-0488.

The interactions between ants and other insects can directly or indirectly affect coffee plants and their production. The objective of this study was to describe these interactions in four coffee plantations, with and without the presence of shade trees, in the locatión of Pescador (Caldono), Cauca Department. At each plantation, 45 coffee bushes were selected, and, on each one, two opposing branches on the productive part were selected. One of the branches was excluded from the path of ants and the other was left free. Ants and other insects were identified and the interactions among them were recorded. The observations were done over seven months every two weeks for an estimated time of 5 min at each branch. A total of 119 interactions were observed, involving 31 ant species distributed in seven subfamilies, and 38 morphospecies of other insects distributed in seven orders (Blattaria, Dermaptera, Orthoptera, Hemiptera, Neuroptera, Coleoptera and Hymenoptera) and 24 families. The interactions were grouped into three types: mutualism, commensalism and predation. The predominant associations were facultative mutualistic (32%), followed by commensalistic (30%). The ant species involved in the greatest proportión of associations were Linepithema neotropicum (32%), Brachymyrmex heeri (12%) and Wasmannia auropunctata (7%). Associations with hemipterans were observed in 53% of the cases, followed by coleopterans in 27%. A greater species richness of insects and number of associations were found in coffee plantations with shade than those without shade. The structural complexity offered by this type of agroecosystem provides more opportunities for the associated fauna.

Keywords : Agroecosystem; Formicidae; Ecological interactions.

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