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Book chapter - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Interspecific competition and coexistence between wood ants

Johansson, Therese; Gibb, Heloise


Competition among or within species has long been considered one of the most fundamental processes shaping ecological communities, affecting distributions and the evolution of species. While its importance and detectability are strongly debated (Schaffer et al. 1979; Schoener 1982; Connell 1983; Schoener 1983), its role in structuring ant assemblages has often been uncritically accepted and competition is even referred to as ‘the hallmark of ant ecology' (Hölldobler and Wilson 1991). Competition between species, i.e. interspecific competition, has been a major theme in the study of wood ants and their role in species assemblages. This chapter considers interspecific competition as it relates to wood ants, including the behavioural interactions with other ant species and mechanisms of coexistence. Theories regarding the competitive structuring of ant assemblages by wood ants through dominance hierarchies (see below) and the observational and experimental evidence for this are discussed. Factors that regulate competition from wood ants, competitive interactions with other taxa and avenues for advancing our understanding of this topic are also considered.

Published in

Book title: Wood Ant Ecology and Conservation
ISBN: 9781107261402
Publisher: Cambridge University Press