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Chen Y.-Q.,Research Institute of Resources Insects | Li Q.,Southwest Forestry College | Wang S.-M.,Research Institute of Resources Insects | Zhou X.-Y.,Southwest Forestry College
Myrmecological News | Year: 2010

The ability of different liquids in pitfall traps to provide a relatively unbiased representation of ant species foraging activity is poorly understood. We examined the effectiveness of a sugar/vinegar solution, commonly used in ant studies in China, by comparing its catches with those using ethylene glycol in lac agroecosystems in Yunnan Province, China. A total of 11052 individual ants were collected in the traps with sugar/vinegar mixture, representing 82 species, while 6102 individuals were captured in traps with ethylene glycol, representing 75 species. Individual-based curves as well as sample-based curves were so close that the two solutions showed no significant difference in species capture efficiency. Ordination analysis revealed that ant community composition was similar for captures by the two liquids. Liquid type had a significant effect on two of the six most abundant species, but this was confounded by traps with different liquids being placed in different transects. We conclude that the use of sugar/vinegar in traps provides a relatively unbiased representation of ant foraging activity, and is a valid option if other commonly used liquids are unavailable.

Chen Y.,Research Institute of Resources Insects | Li Q.,Southwest forestry University | Chen Y.,Southwest forestry University | Wang S.,Research Institute of Resources Insects | Yang Y.,Research Institute of Resources Insects
Tropical Ecology | Year: 2010

The current prosperity in the lac market provides an incentive for farmers to increase lac production. In Yunnan Province of southwest China, lac was traditionally produced on the upper part of the mountain slopes, from 900-1500 m in altitude, where farmers were living and farming. Lac-production and farming were integrated into an agroforest system. Farmers there enjoyed both cash income and non-cash benefits from these multipurpose lac plants, especially the increased soil fertility and soil retention, with limited labor input, in that fragile environment. Perhaps most importantly, this agroecosystem provided an arthropod bank to ensure the crops growing next to the lac plants were largely free of pest damage. Under a diverse and thin canopy of lac plants with lac insects, the compounded system harbored a high biodiversity of associated organisms. Because of the synchronism and accessibility of these natural enemies to crops pests, farmers rarely sprayed pesticides to control pests. The recent trend of reducing the complexity of this system so as to increase lac production and crops yield raises concerns about the potential loss of biodiversity in this organic agriculture model. Here, we illustrate the ecological and economical importance of these agroecosystems, and hope to attract more attention to this valuable agroecosystem. © International Society for Tropical Ecology.

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