Seed harvester ants (<i>Polonomyrmex rugosus</i>) as "pulse" predators

TitleSeed harvester ants (Polonomyrmex rugosus) as "pulse" predators
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsWhitford WG, Jackson E.
JournalJournal of Arid Enviornments
Date Published03/2007
ARIS Log Number213054
KeywordsBeameria vanosa, forage ecology, grass cicadas
AbstractSeed harvesting ants, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, collected grass cicadas at a high rate (>5 min-1 taken into the nest) at one location where cicada emergence exceeded 3m-2. Dry conditions in the winter-spring resulted in no annual plants in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. P. rugosus colonies were inactive in areas where grass cicada emergence was less than 1 m-2. P. rugosus initiate intense predatory activity in response to pulse of large numbers of prey. This study demonstrates that predatory behavior of seed harvesting ants is not limited to incidental encounters with prey during seed harvesting activities. Pulse predation demonstrates the importance of protein to seed harvester ant colonies.