The Relationship between Certain Ant Species with Particular Reference to Biological Control of the Coreid, Theraptus Sp.

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Way M.J
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In the coastal region of British East Africa three ant species, Anoplolepis cllBtodiens, A. longipes and Pheidole punctulata may destroy the ant Oecophylla longinoda which is a valuable predator on the coconut pest Theraptus sp. (Coreidae). The three first-named species do not prey on Theraptus, which may severely damage palms occupied by them. Nesting habits of the three ant species and their behaviour towards O. longinoda and certain other insects are described. O. longinoda has been exterminated in the limited areas occupied by the two Anoplolepis species. P. punctulata is widespread and is usually common in areas occupied by O. longinoda and is also present, though relatively less common, in A. longipes areas. The distribution of the Anoplolepis species, particularly A. custodiens, is correlated with sandy soil’s bearing a sparse ground vegetation. Where there are heavy soils or a thick ground vegetation of grasses and creepers the Anoplolepis species are absent and O. longinoda is usually present. It is suggested that the Anoplolepis species are limited by the relatively low temperature of soils shaded from sunlight by thick vegetation. P. punctulata is not limited by thick ground vegetation, but, under these conditions, O. longinoda is also abundant; probably adequate food is available in ground vegetation for P. punctulata which thus does not compete for it with O. longinoda in the crown of coconut palms and other trees. Cultural and chemical methods of controlling the harmful ant species are mentioned.
Progress Report, Clovers And Special Purpose Legumes Research, p. 669-691