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Predation of top predators: cane toad consumption of bullet ants in a Panamanian lowland wet forest

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2018

Colin R. Morrison
Affiliation:
Department of Integrative Biology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Panama, Republica de Panamá
Corresponding
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Abstract:

Despite a clear consensus about the major roles that predators play in shaping ecological communities, descriptive studies of interactions between ecologically important top predator species are underreported. Native cane toad consumption of predatory bullet ant nests was verified through multiple, independent observations taken on Pipeline Road, Panama. Cane toad predation led to the extirpation of 42% of the nests within a 1.05 km2 area that is characterized as a late-successional wet forest. This predation pressure could be significant given the high rate of predation events and low bullet ant nest density observed here (0.12 nests ha−1). Implications of this interaction for the local bullet ant population, possible top-down effects and trophic cascades resulting from this top predator interaction are discussed.

Type
Short Communication
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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