Food Habits of Solenopsis saevissima richteri Forel1

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Experiments were conducted in 1957 to determine food habits of the imported fire ant, Solenopsis saevissima richteri Forel, by field observations and laboratory experiments. Ant mounds were dissected in the field to determine food storage, and ants were observed at work to determine the food materials collected by the foraging ant parties. This investigation revealed that the ant is somewhat omnivorous; however, the primary dietary item was insects, both alive and dead. The ant was also observed to tend aphids and scale insects. In only one instance was it observed feeding on vegetative matter; but in the laboratory, when kept without rood for several days, it fed on a few species of seedling plants. Most colonies became cannibalistic rather than feed on plant material. On occasion they were observed to carry seeds to the nest.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1959

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