The importance of scavenging in ant invasions.

Affiliation

Holway DA(1), Cameron EK(2).
Author information:
(1)Division of Biological Sciences, University of California at San Diego, MC 0116, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, United States. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Department of Environmental Science, Saint Mary's University, 923 Robie Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3C3, Canada.

Abstract

Recent work underscores that ants are highly proficient and ubiquitous scavengers. These tendencies extend to numerically and behaviorally dominant introduced ants, which exhibit a suite of traits that allow them to exploit and monopolize carrion to a greater extent than is widely appreciated. We thus contend that an understanding of how introduced ants fit into food webs remains incomplete. Monopolization of carrion resources by introduced ants could increase worker production, enhance the ability of these species to compete with and prey upon other organisms, and alter the strength of direct and indirect interactions within food webs. Future work should consider how ant invasions influence energy transfer within and between green and brown food webs.