Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

El uso de árboles de sombra para reducir la herbivoría en hojas de Coffea arabica por Atta cephalotes (Formicidae) en las fincas de Cañitas, Puntarenas, Costa Rica


Tyler H. Stuart



Download Full Text (124 KB)

Publication Date

May 2008


The addition of a specific group of rapid-growth shade tree species to coffee in monoculture, or the inclusion of these species in shade-grown coffee, may reduce leaf herbivory by Atta cephalotes. This study was conducted in Cañitas, Costa Rica on three plots—shade-grown, monoculture, and no coffee—within coffee plantations, each of which had a separate A. cephalotes colony. After observing the selection process of the leaf-cutter ants among four non-coffee, shade tree species and two varieties of coffee, Caturra and Katway, results indicated that the ants had no preference(s) of the tested species within any of the tested plots (Shade: K-W = 0.976, p = 0.98; Monoculture: K-W = 1.319, p = 0.971; No Coffee: K-W = 0.803, p = 0.992; All plots: df = 6, n = 35). The ants more frequently selected Erythrina lanceolata at the Shade-Grown Plot than the other two plots (K-W = 7.22, n = 15, df = 2, p = 0.027). These findings may have important implications for both coffee farming and the restoration of biodiversity in monoculture crops.


La adición de un grupo específico de especies de árboles de rápido crecimiento que dan sombra al café en monocultivo, o la inclusión de estas especies en café que crece en la sombra, podría reducir la herbivoría de las hojas por Atta cephalotes. Este estudio se realizó en Cañitas, Costa Rica en tres parcelas (crecimiento en la sombra, el monocultivo, y donde no hay café) dentro de las plantaciones de café, cada uno de ellos tenía una colonia separada de A. cephalotes.


Atta (Insects), Coffee, Agricultural ecology, CIEE Spring 2008

Palabras claves

Atta (Insectos), Café, Ecología agrícola, CIEE Primavera 2008


7 pages

Geographic Location

Cañitas (Guanacaste, Costa Rica)

Holding Location

Monteverde Institute


English; Spanish

Media Type



Digital Only





Use of shade trees to reduce leaf herbivory of Coffea arabica by Atta cephalotes (Formicidae) on farms in Cañitas, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, May 2008



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.