Interactions Between Ants and the Diaspores of Some Common Spring Flowering Herbs in West Virginia


Andrew J. Beattie

Additional Authors:

David C. Culver and Ronald J. Pudlo


September – 1979


Ants, Diaspore, Herbs, West Virginia, Hepatica, Viola, Aphaenogaster, rudis, Formica, subsericea, Myrmica, punctiventris, Lasius, alienus

Four species of ants are the principal dispersers of <em>Sanguinaria</em>, <em>Hepatica</em> and <em>Viola</em> diaspores in the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia. They are <em>Aphaenogaster rudis</em>, <em>Formica subsericea</em>, <em>Myrmica punctiventris</em> and <em>Lasius alienus</em>. Variation in methods of diaspore presentation and diaspore characteristics, except for size, are not significantly reflected by ant species preferences for diaspore types, or by the frequencies with which different diaspores are removed by different ant species. However, there is a tendency for larger ant species to take larger diaspores and vice versa. The lack of specificity of the ant-diaspore interaction buffers the interaction against spatial and temporal heterogeneity.