Nesting Polybia rejecta (Fabricius) (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) Associated with Azteca chartifex Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Ecotone Caatinga/Atlantic Forest, in the State of Rio Grande do Norte

Entomobrasillis 8 (3) (2015)
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Some neotropical social wasps which are associated with some vertebrates and other insects like ants, and these interactions are reported for decades, but little is known about the presence of these in the Caatinga and Atlantic Forest. This study describes the first association’s record between nests of Polybia rejecta (Fabricius) wasp and Azteca chartifex Forel ants in the transition area of the Atlantic Forest and Caatinga in Rio Grande do Norte. The observations were in a private forest in Monte Alegre, from October 2009 to September 2014 through active search for colonies, use of ad libitum method, photography and collection of specimens with traceability. In the study area were found four active colonies and one abandoned of P. rejecta, all associated with nests of A. chartifex with approach of 20-30 cm. It was found that when the colony of P. rejecta was disturbed, they became aggressive towards the disturbance object, whereas the ants gathered in order to fend off a potential predators. These interactions appear to benefit wasps and ants, it is assumed that is possible that wasps attack ants’s predators, whereas the ants attack the wasps’s predators. This study corroborates the hypothesis that the association between the social wasps P. rejecta and A. chartifex ants is beneficial for both species, and probably the wasps are the most benefited, but also shows the non-exclusivity of this association for the biomes up then reported.


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