Formation of springtail (Collembola) communities during colonization of ant-hills

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Abstract

Formation of springtail assemblages in resettled nests of the ant Formica aquilonia was studied. The species composition and relative abundance of springtails was shown to depend on the age, hydrothermal regime, and condition of the ant nest. The abundance and species diversity of springtails increases during the initial period of the ant-hill growth. Old nests are characterized by the minimum species diversity, with one or two distinct dominants. High ecological plasticity, including resistance to high temperatures and low humidity, allows Lepidocyrtus violaceus to maintain its stable dominant position in the ant-hills. Species with relatively narrow hygro-and thermopreferenda quickly occupy temporal favorable niches, reach high abundance, and quickly disappear as the microclimatic conditions change.

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