Zakharov A.A. 2012. Ants at the border between the epigean and soil blocks of a forest coenosis // Russian Entomol. J. Vol.21. No.2: 219–222 [in English].

A.N. Severtzov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 119071, Russia. E-mail:

Key words: forest, litter, ants, soil invertebrates, litter-soil predator, coenotic surface, boundary layer.

ABSTRACT. Litter plays a key role in shaping spatial and functional structure of ant and other soil invertebrate communities in temperate forest. Serving as a coenotic surface, it unites into a single space all structural elements of the forest and represents the main arena for all events to take place in ant populations. It is a boundary layer between the epigean and soil blocks of a forest coenosis, being traversed this or that way by the main mass of invertebrates, both macro- and mesofauna, that form there a seasonal conveyer of food resources. This conveyer provides a stable food supply to ants and other soil and litter predators. One-time sampling in the litter characterizes a stationary abundance of the predatory complex, yet revealing only the power of the flow of other invertebrates traversing this boundary interface. This makes direct comparisons of evaluations of various invertebrate groups incorrect.

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