Differences in Forage-Acquisition and Fungal Enzyme Activity Contribute to Niche Segregation in Panamanian Leaf-Cutting Ants
Differences in forage diversity between leaf-cutting ant species (nested within genera), using solid lines for Atta and dotted lines for Acromyrmex, and with typical foraging habitat indicated with dark green (forest), yellow (forest edge), and orange (open sunlit areas): (A) Heatmap showing differences between species and genera in the use of forage categories, with numbers representing mean proportions ±SE of the forage types. Darker colors indicate higher mean acquisition proportions, with the top-dendrogram illustrating similarities between species/genera across means of the five forage categories (vertical axis). Ant species names are given as abbreviations (volc, octo, echi, col, sex, cep). (B) Dendrogram based on the Inverse Simpson Diversity Index of the five forage categories, indicating the degree of evenness across foraging categories (numbers below the branches are mean D-values ±SE per species and means per genus), showing that Acromyrmex has a broader (more even) spectrum (D = 1.86±0.08 SE) of forage material than Atta (D = 1.42±0.13 SE; F1,49 = 5.435, p<0.05). Numbers above the branch nodes represent Approximately Unbiased p-values (AU, red) and Bootstrap Probability values (BP, green).