Here we report on nut-nesting ant communities in the southeastern United States. We compared species diversity, ant abundance, and nut occupancy rates among sites in five states, and report the spatial dispersion of ant colonies in nuts in relation to colony-housing opportunities created by nuts and nest-site choice. Our results indicated that species diversity and nut occupancy rates do not differ among sites or states and that ant-occupied nuts are spatially aggregated across ant species, a pattern inconsistent with spatial segregation of species that might arise in a competition-assembled community. We tested the ability of artificial nest cavities (“Mobile Artificial Ant Pods”, MAAPs) to attract ant colonies, a method for sampling the ant fauna in litter. MAAP occupancy rates were similar to occupancy rates for nearby nuts.
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