Influence of insecticide treatment on ant diversity in tropical agroforestry system: Some aspect of the recolonization process


Zéphirin Tadu, Champlain Djiéto-Lordon, Regis Babin, Yede, Edith Blandine Messop-Youbi and Abraham Fomena

In order to assess the influence of insecticides treatment on ant diversity and recolonization processes in cocoa based agroforestry systems, sampling was performed using chemical knock-down technique during two consecutive cocoa campaigns (2006 and 2007) in six smallholding cocoa farms located in tree localities of the Centre Region of Cameroon. These localities are located along the South-North agroecological benchmark ranging from Ngomedzap in the humid tropical rainforest in the south through Obala in mixed degraded forest / savannah in the transitional zone to Bokito in savannah landscape. From sampled ants, community diversity was measured using Shannon index and similarities between communities calculated using the Bray Curtis distance. After one-year recolonization following insecticide treatment, species richness increased in all the study sites, from 23 to 48 species at Ngomedzap, from 39 to 46 at Obala, and from 37 to 40 at Bokito. The diversity index increased from 2.15 to 2.29 at Obala while decreasing respectively from 2.12 to 2.04 at Ngomedzap and from 2.0 to 0.89 at Bokito. After one year recolonization following treatment, a total of 35 newly establish ant species were observed. Among them 11 were arboreal and two ground-nesting species. Comparison of the community composition and population size between the two sample periods suggested that certain arboreal nesting species such as Oecophylla longinoda, Tetramorium aculeatum and some species of the genus Crematogaster may survive insecticide treatment, thanks to their nesting behaviour. Also, recolonization process may be strongly influenced by border effects.


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