Tillberg discusses large ants and their role in the food chain

Dinoponera Australis, Photo by Alex WildChad Tillberg, associate professor of biology at Linfield College, was recently featured in an article in Discover Magazine about Dinoponera australis ants, which are some of the largest ants in the world.

Chad Tillberg and Chris SmithIn the article, Tillberg discusses his research in northeastern Argentina, where he observed that these large ants appear to break a basic rule in biology. Namely, species high on the food chain account for less total biomass than species lower on the food chain. However, the Dinoponera australis are high on the food chain and high in numbers.

Tillberg and his colleagues spent time in Argentina researching these ants, their habits and their foraging behavior. Two Linfield graduates, Alex Freauff ’09 and Ben Edmonds ’11, are co-authors on the paper. Their work was published in Biotropica, the journal of tropical biology and conservation, “Foraging Ecology of the Tropical Giant Hunting Ant Dinoponera australis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Evaluating Mechanisms for High Abundance.”

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