A tank bromeliad favors spider presence in a neotropical inundated forest

Periodo de realización: 2014/06/01 al 2014/01/01

Tipo: Artículo científico

Resumen: "Tank bromeliads are good models for understanding how climate change may affect biotic associations. We studied the relationships between spiders, the epiphytic tank bromeliad, Aechmea bracteata, and its associated ants in an inundated forest in Quintana Roo, Mexico, during a drought period while, exceptionally, this forest was dry and then during the flooding that followed. We compared spider abundance and diversity between ‘Aechmea-areas’ and ‘controlareas’ of the same surface area. We recorded six spider families: the Dipluridae, Ctenidae, Salticidae, Araneidae, Tetragnathidae and Linyphiidae among which the funnel-web tarantula, Ischnothele caudata, the only Dipluridae noted, was the most abundant. During the drought period, the spiders were more numerous in the Aechmea-areas than in the control-areas, but they were not obligatorily associated with the Aechmea. During the subsequent flooding, the spiders were concentrated in the A. bracteata patches, particularly those sheltering an ant colony. Also, a kind of specificity existed between certain spider taxa and ant species, but varied between the drought period and subsequent flooding. We conclude that climatic events modulate the relationship between A. bracteata patches and their associated fauna. Tank bromeliads, previously considered only for their ecological importance in supplying food and water during drought, may also be considered refuges for spiders during flooding. More generally, tank bromeliads have an important role in preserving non-specialized fauna in inundated forests."

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