Research Article Open Access

Ant Diversity in a Sugarcane Culture without the Use of Straw Burning in Southeast, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Débora Rodrigues De Souza1, Erich Stingel2, Luiz Carlos de Almeida2, Catarina Bortoli Munhae1, Antonio J. Mayhé-Nunes3, Odair Correa Bueno4 and Maria Santina De Castro Morini1
  • 1 Nucleus of Enviornmental Science, Laboratory of Myrmecology, University of Mogi das Cruzes, Avenue Dr. Cândido Xavier de Almeida e Souza, 200, Mogi das Cruzes, Zip Code: 08701-970, SP, Brazil
  • 2 Center of Sugarcane Technology, Piracicaba/São Paulo, Brazil
  • 3 Department of Animal Biology, Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Zip Code: 23890-971, CP 74.514, RJ, Brazil
  • 4 Institute of Biosciences, Centro for the study of Social Insects, UNESP, University Estadual Paulista, Avenue 24 A n0 1515, Rio Claro, P. O. Box 0199, Zip Code: 13.506-725, SP, Brazil


Problem statement: One of the current requirements of agroecosystem management is the maintenance of biodiversity. Manual sugarcane harvesting with the previous burning of straw has been gradually replaced by mechanical harvesting in Brazil. However, the diversity of Formicidae, which can be a natural pest controller, has not been studied in this new system yet. Approach: This study was carried out to assess the diversity of ants in an exclusively mechanically harvested sugarcane culture based on the hypothesis that species richness and abundance will increase with the deposition of straw in this culture system. Ants were sampled using pitfall traps in six sugarcane cultivars during three consecutive harvest cycles. Results: A total of 8,139 ants, distributed in 39 species, were collected. Richness, abundance and diversity differed between harvest cycles, especially in the first cycle, when the soil did not have any straw and in the two last cycles and the straw layer was about 10-15 cm thick. The communities found in the second and third cycles were similar and the maintenance of straw in the culture contributed to a greater species diversity, particularly of generalist predaceous taxa, which may contribute to the natural control of pests. Conclusion: The diversity of ants increased with straw deposition, including of taxa that may be beneficial to the sugarcane culture. However, new studies of the predatory and competition relations in this agroecosystem are necessary.

American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Volume 5 No. 2, 2010, 183-188


Submitted On: 3 December 2009 Published On: 30 June 2010

How to Cite: De Souza, D. R., Stingel, E., de Almeida, L. C., Munhae, C. B., Mayhé-Nunes, A. J., Bueno, O. C. & De Castro Morini, M. S. (2010). Ant Diversity in a Sugarcane Culture without the Use of Straw Burning in Southeast, Sao Paulo, Brazil. American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences, 5(2), 183-188.

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