Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Co-evolución entre la planta y la hormiga: una evaluación sistemática del Myrmelachista haberi (Formicinae) y el simbiosis de Ocotea sp. (Lauraceae)



Download Full Text (110 KB)

Publication Date

May 2009


I have evaluated the relationship between Myrmelachista haberi and Ocotea sp. (Los Llanos) to provide definitive evidence supporting the nature of the symbiosis and possible explanations in terms of co-evolutionary history. This interaction has been described in terms of benefit to the ant-domatia and nutrition via phloem-feeder farming – but benefits from the plants perspective have gone largely unstudied. McNett (2009) attempted to quantify the nature of the relationship by monitoring the uptake and movement of stable isotopes through each of the three participating species. This study found that nutrients do not transfer between the organisms, but left the possibilities for alternative vectors of mutualism open. In our study I have systematically evaluated this interaction in terms of all conventional ant-plant services: (1) the tendency of the ants to clean the leaves of foreign (invasive) matter, (2) the foraging behavior of the ants, and (3) the effect the presence of ants has on herbivory and response to disturbance. Myrmelachista haberi do not remove foreign matter from the leaves, do not prefer to feed on the leaves, nor do they respond to herbivory damage on the leaves. My results provide definitive evidence supporting that the nature of the relationship is not a mutualism. He evaluado la relación entre Myrmelachista haberi y Ocotea sp. (Los Llanos) para proporcionar apoyo a pruebas definitivas de la naturaleza de la simbiosis y las posibles explicaciones en términos de la historia co-evolutiva.


Ants--Behavior, Hormigas--Comportamiento, Mutualism (Biology), Mutualismo (Biologia), Symbiosis, Simbiosis, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone--Los Llanos, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde--Los Llanos, CIEE Spring 2009, CIEE Primavera 2009


Student Affiliation : Department of Biology, Northeastern University Born Digital

Subject: topical

Ants--Behavior; Hormigas--Comportamiento; Mutualism (Biology); Mutualismo (Biologia); Symbiosis; Simbiosis; CIEE Spring 2009; CIEE Primavera 2009

Subject: geographic

Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone--Los Llanos; Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde--Los Llanos



Holding Location

|Monteverde Institute MVI



Ant-plant coevolution: a systematic evaluation of the Myrmelachista haberi (Formicinae) and Ocotea sp. (Lauraceae) symbiosis



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.