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Argentine ants harm nestlings of the blue tit

The consequences of ant invasions on ecosystems may only become apparent after long periods. In addition, predicting how sensitive native fauna will respond is only possible if the underlying proximate mechanisms of their impact are identified. The attraction of the native and invasive ant community to artificial bird nests was studied, together with reproduction of a wild native songbird over five consecutive breeding seasons in relation to the presence of an invasive ant species. Biometric, reproductive and individual blood parameters of great tits Parus major breeding in invaded as compared to uninvaded sites by Argentine ants Linepithema humile were analysed. Great tits bred preferably in uninvaded territories by the Argentine ant. Moreover, Argentine ants were more abundant at nests in invaded sites, than any native ant species were at uninvaded sites. Further, Argentine ants recruited at the artificial nests more intensively and responded to a larger variety of nest (intact eggs, cracked eggs, faeces, and cracked eggs plus faeces) contents than native species. Although breeding success and adult condition did not vary in relation to invasion status, offspring quality was negatively affected by the presence of Argentine ants. Nestlings reared in invaded sites were lighter, with lower wing/tarsus length ratio and had a reduced nutritional condition and altered oxidative stress balance as measured from several blood parameters. The interspersed distribution and small distance between invaded versus uninvaded territories suggest that ant presence affects nestling condition through direct interference at the nest. These results highlight the importance of evaluating the proximate effects like physiological parameters of the native fauna, when studying invasive ant-native bird interactions. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Álvarez et al (2020) Breeding consequences for a songbird nesting in Argentine ant' invaded land. Biol Invasions https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-020-02297-3


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10530-020-02297-3
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Honeybees disrupt the structure and functionality of plant-pollinator networks

Honeybees disrupt the structure and functionality of plant-pollinator networks

The honeybee Apis mellifera is the primary managed species worldwide for both crop pollination and honey production. Owing to beekeeping activity, its high relative abundance potentially affects the structure and functioning of pollination networks in natural ecosystems. Given that evidences about beekeeping impacts are restricted to observational studies of specific species and theoretical simulations, experimental data are still lacking to test for their larger-scale impacts on biodiversity. Here a three-year field experiment in a natural ecosystem was used to compare the effects of pre- and post-establishment stages of beehives on the pollination network structure and plant reproductive success. Results show that beekeeping reduces the diversity of wild pollinators and interaction links in the pollination networks. It disrupts their hierarchical structural organization causing the loss of interactions by generalist species, and also impairs pollination services by wild pollinators through reducing the reproductive success of those plant species highly visited by honeybees. High-density beekeeping in natural areas appears to have lasting, more serious negative impacts on biodiversity than was previously assumed. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Valido et al (2019) Honeybees disrupt the structure and functionality of plant-pollinator networks. Sci Rep https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-41271-5DO


https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-41271-5