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Linepithema humile, climate change, invasive species, food preference, vegetation abundance, sucrose concentration, Bernard Field Station


Linepithema humile, or Argentine ants, are an invasive species that mainly consume carbohydrates. Our study sought to determine if Argentine ants have a preference in specific concentrations of a sugar solution and if sucrose concentration preference is based on the amount of vegetation surrounding Argentine ant hills. We hypothesized that Argentine ants would prefer the 25% sugar solution, the intermediate between 0%, 5% and 50% sugar solutions. Further, we expected that more Argentine ants would consume the intermediate solution in vegetatively scarce habitats than in vegetatively abundant habitats. Similarly, we hypothesized that the recruitment time of the Argentine ants will be shorter in vegetatively scarce habitats than in vegetatively abundant habitats. The total Argentine ant visits in vegatively scarce habitats were thirteen times greater than the total visits in vegetatively abundant habitats. Preference for the 25% sugar solution was shown by Argentine ants at both habitat types; however, this preference was only statistically significant in vegetatively scarce habitats. Additionally, there was a significant difference between recruitment times of ants to 25% sugar solutions in vegetatively abundant and scarce habitats.