The Ecology and Evolution of Ant-Plant Interactions by Victor Rico-GrayThe Ecology and Evolution of Ant-Plant Interactions by Victor Rico-Gray

The Ecology and Evolution of Ant-Plant Interactions

byVictor Rico-Gray

Paperback | July 15, 2007

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 248 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Ants are probably the most dominant insect group on Earth, representing ten to fifteen percent of animal biomass in terrestrial ecosystems. Flowering plants, meanwhile, owe their evolutionary success to an array of interspecific interactions—such as pollination, seed dispersal, and herbivory—that have helped to shape their great diversity. The Ecology and Evolution of Ant-Plant Interactions brings together findings from the scientific literature on the coevolution of ants and plants to provide a better understanding of the unparalleled success of these two remarkable groups, of interspecific interactions in general, and ultimately of terrestrial biological communities.

The Ecology and Evolution of Ant-Plant Interactions synthesizes the dynamics of ant-plant interactions, including the sources of variation in their outcomes. Victor Rico-Gray and Paulo S. Oliveira capture both the emerging appreciation of the importance of these interactions within ecosystems and the developing approaches that place studies of these interactions into a broader ecological and evolutionary context. The collaboration of two internationally renowned scientists, The Ecology and Evolution of Ant-Plant Interactions will become a standard reference for understanding the complex interactions between these two taxa.

Victor Rico-Gray is a research scientist of ecology and Chairman of the Applied Ecology Department at the Instituto de Ecologia, A. C. in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. Paulo S. Oliveira is professor of ecology at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.
Title:The Ecology and Evolution of Ant-Plant InteractionsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:July 15, 2007Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226713482

ISBN - 13:9780226713489

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents


1. Ant-Plant Interactions

The Origin and Early Evolution of Ant-Plant Associations

Phylogenetic Associations

A Brief History of the Associations

Coevolution and Interspecific Interactions

2. Antagonistic Interactions: Leaf-Cutting and Seed-Harvesting Ants

Leaf-Cutting Ants (Grazing)

Seed-Harvesting Ants (Predation)

3. Mutualism from Antagonism: Ants as Primary Seed-Dispersers

The Reward: Elaiosomes

Seed Dispersal by Ants

Myrmecochory: Distribution and Significance Worldwide


Appendix 3.1. Myrmecochory in Eastern North America, Japan, and Europe

Appendix 3.2. Myrmecochory in Australia and South Africa

Appendix 3.3. Myrmecochory in the Neotropics

4. Mutualism from Opportunism: Ants as Secondary Seed-Dispersers

The Reward: Fallen Fleshy Diaspores

Diaspore Attributes and Patterns of Ant Attendance

Ant Effects on Seeds and Seedlings

Directed Dispersal of Seeds by Ponerine Ants


5. Mutualism from Antagonism: Ants and Flowers

Pollination by Ants

Discouragement of Floral Visits by Ants

Appendix 5.1. Plant Species in Which Ant Pollination Has Been Demonstrated

6. Antagonism and Mutualism: Direct Interactions

The Pseudomyrmex-Acacia Association

Ants, Plants, and Food Bodies

Ant-Inhabited Plants Offering No Direct Food Rewards

Ants, Plants, and Extrafloral Nectaries

Plant Defensive Strategies and Induced Responses

The Nature of the Associations and the Importance of Conditionality

Topics for Future Consideration

Appendix 6.1. Flowering Plants That Maintain a Nonsymbiotic Relationship with Ants

7. Antagonism and Mutualism: Indirect Interactions

Ants, Plants, and Hemipterans

Variable Outcomes in Ant-Hemipteran Systems

The Effect of Ant-Hemiptera Interactions on Host Plants

Ant-Hemiptera Associations and the Evolution of Extrafloral Nectaries

8. Nutrition of Plants by Ant Mutualists: Life History of Ant-Fed Plants and Ant-Garden Systems

Ant-Fed Plants

Ant Gardens


Appendix 8.1. Ant-Fed Plants That Absorb Nutrients from Ant Debris

9. Canopy-Dwelling Ants, Plant and Insect Exudates, and Ant Mosaics

Canopy Ants: Main Features and Trophic Role

The Competitive Environment

Ant Mosaics

Plant and Insect Exudates and Ant Community Structure

The Effect of Trophobiont Tenders on Associated Herbivores and on the Host Plant

10. Variation in Ant-Plant Interactions

Temporal Variation

Spatial Variation

Appendix 10.1. Plants with Extrafloral Nectaries

Appendix 10.2. Ant Species Using Plant-Derived Food Resources

11. Ant-Plant Interactions in Agriculture

Agricultural Systems, Herbivores, and Ants

Ants as Biological Control Agents

Case Studies

Biological Control and Interspecific Interactions

12. Overview and Perspectives

Literature Cited