Azteca alfari - AntWeb

Interação planta-inseto: Aspectos biológicos e ecológicos do mutualismo Cecropia-Azteca

Gabriela Vasconcelos de Oliveira, Michele Martins Correa, Jacques Hubert Delabie

Resumo


Uma associação bem conhecida dentre as interações ecológicas é o mutualismo entre plantas do gênero Cecropia e formigas, na maioria das vezes pertencentes ao gênero Azteca. Nesta interação, as formigas nidificam nas domáceas presentes no tronco oco das mirmecófitas e se alimentam de recursos alimentares fornecidos pela planta, conhecidos como corpúsculos mullerianos. Em compensação, as formigas protegem a planta hospedeira contra o ataque de herbívoros e a invasão por trepadeiras, e nutrem-na através de resíduos abandonados no tronco. Entretanto, a efetividade desta associação pode variar em função de vários fatores, como por exemplo, a espécie de formiga associada e o tipo de habitat da planta mirmecófita. Cerca de 10% das espécies de Cecropia perderam suas características atrativas, como por exemplo, espécies que habitam ilhas e altas altitudes. Aspectos como a riqueza de formigas associadas e estudos moleculares evidenciam que a colonização destas plantas ocorreu diversas vezes e independentemente por alguns gêneros de formigas. A pressão de seleção exercida por algumas espécies de formigas pode ter sido um dos fatores decisivos para o desenvolvimento dos traços atrativos para as formigas em Cecropia. Com a evolução destas características as formigas puderam se tornar um parceiro efetivo da planta, facilitando a co-evolução de interações mais específicas.

Plant-Insect Interactions: Biological and Ecological Aspects of Cecropia-Azteca Mutualism

Abstract. A well-known association is the mutualism between plants is between plant species of the genus Cecropia and ants, mostly belonging to the genus Azteca. In this association, the ants nest in domatia present in the hollow trunk of this myrmecophytes and feed on food bodies provided by the plant, known as mullerian bodies. In return, the ants protect the host plant against herbivore attacks and invasion by vines, and nourish it through waste laid in the trunk. However, the effectiveness of this association may vary with several factors, such as the associated ant species and the habitat type of the myrmecophyte. About 10% of Cecropia species lost their attractive characteristics, such as species living in high altitude and inhabit islands. Aspects like associated ant richness and molecular studies show that the colonization of these plants by ants occurred several times and independently by different genera. The selection pressure exerted by some species of ants may have been one of the decisive factors for the development of attractive traits for ants in Cecropia. With the evolution of these features ants might become an effective partner of the plant, facilitating the co-evolution of specific interactions.


Palavras-chave


associação; benefícios; co-evolução; formigas; mirmecófita; ants; association; benefits; co-evolution; myrmecophyte.

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Referências


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DOI (PDF): http://dx.doi.org/10.12741/ebrasilis.v8i2.486

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