The use of leaf-cutter ants, Atta laevigata (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), as a substrate for oviposition by the dung beetle Canthon virens Mannerheim (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in Central Brazil

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1998
Authors:F. Hertel, Colli G. R.
Journal:The Coleopterists Bulletin
Keywords:Animalia-, Arthropoda-, Atta-laevigata [leaf-cutter-ant] (Hymenoptera-): oviposition-ho, Behavior-, Coleoptera-: Insecta-, Environmental-Sciences), Hymenoptera-: Insecta-, Invertebrata-, Terrestrial-Ecology (Ecology-

In the Cerrado region of Brazil, we observed dung beetles, Canthon virens Mannerheim, using leaf-cutter ants, Atta laevigata (Smith), as oviposition sites. Aggressive encounters occurred whereby the smaller dung beetles decapitated and then buried their much larger ant victims in a specialized sequence of behaviors. Known densities of a few Cerrado herbivorous mammals suggest that the availability of dung may be similar to other neotropical sites. We propose that C. virens may be an obligate, rather than facultative, predator of leaf-cutter ants.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith