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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Leaf-Cutter Ant (Atta cephalotes) Influence on the Morphology of Andepts in Costa Rica1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 45 No. 4, p. 790-794
    Received: Oct 21, 1980
    Accepted: Apr 7, 1981

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  1. Alfredo Alvarado2,
  2. Cory W. Berish3 and
  3. Francisco Peralta2



Twenty-seven soil profiles distributed within a 2.5-ha site were described as Typic Dystrandepts of the Colorado soil series. Leaf-cutter ant influence was noted in 85% of the pedons. The influence on each profile was estimated, and out of all profiles, 37% had low, 26% medium, and 22% high disturbance. The surface area covered by leaf-cutter mounds was 38.9% of the study area; only 1% of the aboveground disturbed area was active, however. Leaf-cutter ants transport material from the AB and B horizons to the soil surface, producing a new A1 horizon and, in addition, some subsoil chambers are filled with plant material. It is proposed to use a subindex (i) to denote insect influence as an agent on the formation of a subsoil horizon (ABi, B2i) and also, for the overburden (Ai).

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