One of the most emblematic mutualistic interactions in the Neotropics is that between Acacia plants and Pseudomyrmex ants. In his first studies, D. H. JANZEN (1969) related the functional defensive system by the ants to allelopathic chemical agents, thus this system can be associated to induced defensive systems. Our study system, the interaction between Acacia cornigera and two Pseudomyrmex species (P. gracilis and P. ferrugineus), includes ant colonization patterns and plant behavior after colonization. Previous research on ant defensive roles had mentioned that P. ferrugineus was a good defensive system for Acacia plants, and that P. gracilis was a so-called parasite of the system. Here we suggest that the subsistence mechanism between the two ant species is based on chemical products, clear postdamage signals which, are intrinsic to the plant and promote recruitment and defense by the two species of Pseudomyrmex.
Acacia cornigera; P. ferrugineus; P. gracilis; Defensive occurrence; Coexistence mechanisms; Chemical stimuli