Predation as a factor in colony establishment of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta)



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Texas Tech University


In 1987, surface and subterranean pitfall traps containing Solenopsis invicta Buren founder queens were placed at two sites each in central Texas, within and outside of the current S. invicta range, to determine if arthropods are specifically attracted to the queen. The diversity of arthropods collected outside the S. invicta range was much greater than inside, but a directed response toward founder queens in both the infested and uninfested areas was not detected. Vials containing S. invicta founder queens, which had mesh screen over the opening to allow entrance of predators, were placed at four central Texas locations during 1988 to compare queen mortality due to predation and also to document ant predators of the queen. Seventeen ant species were observed killing queens, 12 of which previously had not been documented as S. invicta founder queen predators. Diversity of the local ant faunas decreased from outside of the S. invicta range to inside the range as dominance increased.