Chapter

Ant-Plant Interactions

Victor Rico-Gray and Paulo S. Oliveira

in The Ecology and Evolution of Ant-Plant Interactions

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780226713472
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226713540 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226713540.003.0001
Ant-Plant Interactions

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Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) are probably the most dominant insect group on earth, both ecologically and numerically. They are so abundant that approximately 8 million individuals live underground in one hectare of Amazonian rain forest, and ants are estimated to represent 10–15 percent of the entire animal biomass in many terrestrial ecosystems. On this basis alone, the study of the ecology and evolution of ants would be important for understanding the ecology of terrestrial biological communities. Angiosperms make up much of the visible world of modern plants, and the study of their evolution and ecology, like that of ants, is important to understanding the ecology of terrestrial biological communities. This chapter explores the origin and early evolution of ant–plant interactions, describes possible phylogenetic associations between the groups, presents some of the current evidence on the latter, and discusses some general ideas on coevolution and interspecific interactions, specifically related to ant–plant interactions.

Keywords: ants; plants; ant–plant interactions; evolution; coevolution; phylogenetic associations; interspecific interactions

Chapter.  6775 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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