Seed Dispersal by Ants in the Cape Flora T reatened by Indomyrmex humilis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
Giliomee, Johannes Human
More than 1000 species of the rich Cape Flora are ant dispersed. Fruit bodies (elaiosomes) on the seeds attract ants which bury the seeds in their nests, thus protecting them from fires, mid-summer heat and predation; nests are also comparatively nutrient rich. This system is threatened by the introduced Argentine ant Iridomyrmex humilis Mayr 1868 which outcompetes native ants and removes the fruit bodies of seeds without removing and burying them.