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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Ant (Formica cinerea) Pedoturbation in a Prairie Soil1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 3, p. 425-428
    Received: Oct 17, 1966
    Accepted: Nov 28, 1966

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  1. F. Paul Baxter and
  2. Francis D. Hole



Active and recently active mounds made by the ant (Formica cinerea montana Emery) number 1,531 ha and occupy 1.7% of the area of the surface of Tama silt loam in a prairie remnant in southwestern Wisconsin. The average volume of an ant mound is 0.02 m3, of which about 12% is occupied by channels and chambers. The mineral soil in the upper half to two-thirds of a representative mound consists about 85% of B horizon material, judging by soil color, content of clay, and oriented argillans. Unusually high contents of available K and P in the mound are probably a result of concentration by the ants of organic materials, particularly those derived from plant sap from aphids; of rapid mineralization of organic matter; and by addition by the ants of B horizon material. Upward movement of soil material by ants could account for the relatively high clay content of the A horizon of Tama silt loam in southwestern Wisconsin, as contrasted with that of the A horizon of the comparable nearby forest soil.

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