Learn More
• It has long been believed that plant species from the tropics have higher levels of traits associated with resistance to herbivores than do species from higher latitudes. A meta-analysis recently showed that the published literature does not support this theory. However, the idea has never been tested using data gathered with consistent methods from a(More)
Most plant species have a range of traits that deter herbivores. However, understanding of how different defences are related to one another is surprisingly weak. Many authors argue that defence traits trade off against one another, while others argue that they form coordinated defence syndromes. We collected a dataset of unprecedented taxonomic and(More)
Selective pressure for choosing an adequate habitat should be strong in semisedentary animals because they have limited mobility once established. I examined microhabitat preferences and the adaptive value of these preferences in the antlion larva Myrmeloen crudelis, a semisedentary insect that digs pit traps in soils to capture small arthropods. I tested(More)
In leaf-cutting ants, the handling of waste materials from the fungus culture increases the risk of infection. Consequently, ants should manage their waste in a way that minimizes the spread of diseases. We investigated whether in Acromyrmex lobicornis, waste-worker ants (a) also perform roles in foraging or mound maintenance, (b) are morphologically(More)
Understanding the mechanisms that promote the invasion of natural protected areas by exotic plants is a central concern for ecology. We demonstrated that nests of the leaf-cutting ant, Acromyrmex lobicornis, near roadsides promote the abundance, growth and reproduction of two exotic plant species, Carduus nutans and Onopordum acanthium, in a national park(More)
Numerous mechanisms are proposed to explain why exotic plants successfully invade natural communities. However, the positive effects of native engineers on exotic plant species have received less consideration. We tested whether the nutrient-rich soil patches created by a native ecological engineer (refuse dumps from the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex(More)
Soil disturbances that increase nutrient availability may trigger bottom-up cascading effects along trophic chains. However, the strength and sign of these effects may depend on attributes of the interacting species. Here, we studied the effects of nutrient-rich refuse dumps of the leaf-cutting ant, Acromyrmex lobicornis, on the food chain composed of(More)
Wildfires are one of the major disturbances in the dynamics of forests and shrublands. However, little is known about their effects on insect communities that contribute to faunal biodiversity and play key roles in the ecosystem's dynamics. An intense and widespread fire occurred in 1999 in the Nahuel Huapi National Park in the Andean forest in northern(More)
The success of a biological invasion may depend on the interactions between the invader and the native biota. However, little experimental evidence demonstrates whether local species can successfully compete with exotics. We experimentally determined the existence of competition for food between the exotic wasp Vespula germanica, one of the most recent(More)
Water retention on the leaf surface can be maladaptive to the plant because it increases the colonization of epiphylls and interferes with the physiologic processes of the leaf, diminishing the photosynthetic capacity. To test if leaf driptips facilitate leaf drying after rainfall in a tropical rain forest of Costa Rica, we (1) experimentally measured the(More)