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      Subterranean ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) as prey of fossorial reptiles (Reptilia, Squamata: Amphisbaenidae) in Central Brazil

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          Abstract

          The ant diversity observed in stomach contents of fossorial reptiles was compared to the subterranean ant richness collected using traditional and modern techniques of ant collections. We analyzed the alimentary tract of 64 specimens of amphisbaenians (4 Amphisbaena alba, 10 A. fuliginosa, 25 A. vermicularis, and 25 Leposternon infraorbitale) collected during the fauna rescue for the construction of Serra da Mesa hydroelectric dam in the Tocantins River (from 1992 to 1997), in Minaçu County, Goiás, Brazil. We found only five ant species present in the stomach contents, all belonging to the army ants subfamily Ecitoninae. In contrast, the traditional techniques for subterranean ants' collection are far more efficient than the exam of fossorial reptile's stomach contents, collecting a much richer and diverse ant fauna. The exclusive occurrence of army ants in the alimentary tract of these fossorial reptiles suggests that they trace the chemical trails laid by the ants while moving inside and over the soil. Further, the occurrence of the epigaeic army ants Eciton and Labidus in the stomach contents suggests that amphisbaenians may forage on the soil surface as well.

          Translated abstract

          A diversidade de formigas no conteúdo estomacal de répteis fossoriais foi comparada à riqueza de formigas subterrâneas coletadas com o uso de técnicas tradicionais e modernas para sua coleta. Analisamos o trato alimentar de 64 espécimes de anfisbenídeos (4 Amphisbaena alba, 10 A. fuliginosa, 25 A. vermicularis e 25 Leposternon infraorbitale) coletados durante o resgate da fauna para a construção da represa da Hidroelétrica da Serra da Mesa no Rio Tocantins (de 1992 a 1997), na cidade de Minaçu, Goiás, Brasil. Encontramos apenas cinco espécies de formigas presentes nos conteúdos estomacais aqui examinados, todas pertencentes à subfamília das formigas-de-correição, Ecitoninae. Ao contrário, as técnicas tradicionais de coleta de formigas subterrâneas são muito mais eficientes que o exame dos conteúdos estomacais de répteis fossoriais, coletando uma fauna muito mais rica e diversa de formigas. A ocorrência exclusiva de formigas-de-correição no trato alimentar destes répteis fossoriais sugere que eles seguem trilhas químicas deixadas pelas formigas à medida que se elas movimentam no interior e sobre o solo. Ainda, a ocorrência das formigas-de-correição epigéicas Eciton e Labidus nos conteúdos estomacais analisados sugere que os anfisbenídeos podem também forragear na superfície do solo.

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          Most cited references 40

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          Army ants in four forests: geographic variation in raid rates and species composition

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            Army ants: the biology of social predation.

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              Factors affecting retreat-site selection by coppertail skinks (Ctenotus taeniolatus) from sandstone outcrops in eastern Australia

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Journal
                paz
                Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia (São Paulo)
                Pap. Avulsos Zool. (São Paulo)
                Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo (São Paulo )
                1807-0205
                2008
                : 48
                : 28
                : 329-334
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Universidade de São Paulo Brazil
                Article
                S0031-10492008002800001
                10.1590/S0031-10492008002800001
                Product
                Product Information: website
                Categories
                ZOOLOGY

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