Mainly owing to their high diversity and abundance, ants are formidable as predators and defenders of foliage. Consequently, ants can exclude both invertebrate and vertebrate activity on plants via direct and indirect interactions as already shown in many previous studies. Here we present empirical evidence that objects resembling ant shape on dummy caterpillars were able to repel visually oriented predators. Moreover, we also show that rubber ants on dummy fruits can repel potential fruit dispersers. Our results have direct implications on the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of interactions in ant-based systems, as ant presence could affect the fitness of its partners. In short, our study highlights the importance of visual cues in interspecific interactions and opens a new way to study the effects of ant presence to test ecological and evolutionary hypotheses.
- Received May 12, 2016.
- Accepted July 13, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.