Reduction of the Ant Mandible Gap Range After Biotic Homogenization Caused by an Ant Invasion (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

After most of the native ant species are displaced by the Argentine ant invasion, it is probable that some ecological processes carried out by natives are not replaced. In some cases this could be due to a morphological difference between the Argentine ant and the displaced native ants. The significant decrease in ant richness after the invasion (only two species detected in the invaded zones vs. 25 species in surrounding non-invaded zones) implies a drastic reduction in the ant mandible gap range (the mandible gap spectra of all the ant species in a community) in the invaded zones. This reduction could explain why some roles that were previously carried out by the displaced native species are not performed by the invasive species. This could be due to a functional inability to carry out these activities. The mandible gap was positively correlated with the ant body mass in the 26 ant species considered. The functional inability hypothesis could be applied to other invasive ants as well as to the Argentine ant ​
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