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The real “fire ants”: colony size and body size of workers influence the fate of boreal sand hill ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) after wildfires in Alberta, Canada

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 August 2014

James R.N. Glasier*
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia
Scott E. Nielsen
Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H1
John H. Acorn
Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H1
1Corresponding author (e-mail:


Over two summers following accidental May wildfires, total ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) forager catch and species richness did not change in jack pine woodlands on sand hills in central Alberta, Canada. However, one year after a fire, smaller ants, and those in smaller colonies, were more abundant in pitfall traps, based on analysis of response ratios for each ant species and relationships to a variety of life history and organismal traits. Nest type and polygyny had no effect on post-fire ant forager catch. The numerical responses of individual ant species appear to be idiosyncratic, but three species of ants that are sand specialists were found to be particularly resilient to fire.

Behaviour & Ecology
© Entomological Society of Canada 2014 

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Subject editor: Keith Summerville


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