Data from: Disruption of foraging by a dominant invasive species to decrease its competitive ability
Westermann, Fabian Ludwig; Suckling, David Maxwell; Lester, Philip John (2015), Data from: Disruption of foraging by a dominant invasive species to decrease its competitive ability, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m64hs
Invasive species are a major threat to biodiversity when dominant within their newly established habitat. The globally distributed Argentine ant Linepithema humile has been reported to break the trade-off between interference and exploitative competition, achieve high population densities, and overpower nests of many endemic ant species. We have used the sensitivity of the Argentine ant to the synthetic trail pheromone (Z)-9-hexadecanal to investigate species interactions for the first time. We predicted that disrupting Argentine ant trail following behaviour would reduce their competitive ability and create an opportunity for three other resident species to increase their foraging success. Argentine ant success in the control was reduced with increasing pheromone concentration, as predicted, but interactions varied among competing resident species. These behavioural variations provide an explanation for observed differences in foraging success of the competing resident species and how much each of these individual competitors can increase their foraging if the competitive ability of the dominant invader is decreased. The mechanism for the observed increase in resource acquisition of resident species appears to be a decrease in aggressive behaviour displayed by the Argentine ant, which may create an opportunity for other resident species to forage more successfully. Our demonstration of species interactions with trail pheromone disruption is the first known case of reduced dominance under a pheromone treatment in ants.