Journal article Open Access

Influence of the sugar-loving ant, Camponotus compressus (Fabricius, 1787) on soil physico-chemical characteristics

Sudha Kumari; Hema Singh; Neelkamal Rastogi

The present study focuses on the physico-chemical characteristics of the nest rim debris soil of a common, abundant, plant-visiting ant, Camponotus compressus (Fabricius, 1787). The results reveal that the colonies influence the nutrient content and the texture of the debris soil. The nest debris had significantly higher proportion of large-sized soil particles, along with higher total N, P, NO3-N, and moisture content but lower concentrations of total C and NH4-N as compared to the control soil. Camponotus compressus nests annually contributed about 3.1361 Kg of C, 1.5482 Kg of N, 0.05853 Kg of P, 0.14457 Kg of NO3-N and 0.1744 Kg of NH4-N per hectare via the debris soil of the long-lived primary nests. The short-lived satellite nests contributed, 1.7868 Kg of C, 0.7955 Kg of N, 0.0318 Kg of P, 0.0559 Kg NO3-N and 0.09623 Kg of NH4-N per hectare, annually. Thus, the activities of C. compressus colonies contribute to soil nutrient enhancement, alter the soil particle size distribution, shift the soil pH towards neutral and through their frequent satellite nest construction activities and enhance soil porosity.  Since C. compressus is abundant in a variety of ecosystems including annual cropping systems, its nesting activities are suggested to enhance ecosystem productivity.

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