Ecología de Formicidae en plantaciones de cacao en Barlovento, Venezuela
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The ant species present on 800 cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) plants, distributed in 50 different plots in Barlovento, State of Miranda were studied. Using the Pearson's multiple correlation procedure correlations between the 68 different ant species were found. Also correlations between the ants and different insect pests and fungal cacao fruit diseases were obtained. It was found that Azteca forelli is the most common and dominant ant species in the area, excluding most others from the cacao plant. Positive correlations among a group of carnivorous ants were found. They preferred well shaded plantations. Also this group of ants excludes the pest Steirastoma breve (Coleoptera: Cerambicidae). No significant correlations between ants and fruit-borers or ants and fungal diseases were found. We recomend management of the culture with selective and localized pesticide application only if necessary, so as to maintain a significant ant diversity and number, in order to let them work as biological pest control agents.