Malaysian Applied Biology Journal

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35-2-01

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Malays. Appl. Biol. (2006) 35(2): 1–12

SPECIES COMPOSITION, MONTHLY ABUNDANCE AND FOOD PREFERENCES OF STRUCTURE-INFESTING ANTS (HYMENOPTERA : FORMICIDAE) IN STUDENT HOUSING IN USM, PENANG, MALAYSIA

NORASMAH, B., ABU HASSAN, A.*, CHE SALMAH, M.R., NURITA, A.T. and NURAIDA, H.

School of Biological Sciences Universiti Sains Malaysia 11800 Penang, Malaysia

ABSTRACT

A survey on ants infesting student housings was carried in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) campus for thirteen months. The species composition, seasonal abundance and food preferences were studied. The ants were exposed to three types of food baits: anchovy powder, egg yolk powder and strawberry jam. Monomorium pharaonis and Paratrechina logicornis were the two dominant species in the buildings and the highest abundance of the two species were in April and May, respectively. M. pharaonis abundance was high when the temperatures ranged between 30- 31°C while P. logicornis were high in numbers when relative humidity ranged between 72-74%. Food preferences were varied between the ant species. The ants showed differences in food preferences and the types of food given. Strawberry jam was the most attractive food compared to anchovy powder and egg yolk powder. This shows that most of the ant species prefer the carbohydrate-base food than protein-base food.


ABSTRAK

Satu kajian mengenai infestasi semut di dalam bangunan telah dijalankan di Kampus Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) selama tiga belas bulan. Komposisi spesis semut, kelimpahan dan pemilihan jenis makanan telah dijalankan. Semut didalam bangunan telah di berikan tiga jenis makanan iaitu serbuk ikan bilis, serbuk kuning telur dan jem strawberry. Monomorium pharaonis dan Paratrechina logicornis adalah dua spesis yang dominant didalam bangunan yang dikaji. Kedua-dua spesis ini masing-masing menunjukkan kelimpahan yang tinggi pada bulan April and May. Kelimpahan M. pharaonis adalah tinggi apabila suhu berada dalam lingkungan 30-31°C. Manakala bilangan P. logicornis pula adalah tinggi apabila kelembapan relatif adalah dalam lingkungan 72-74%. Pemilihan makanan adalah berbeza mengikut spesis semut. Semut menunjukkan perbezaan dalam pemilihan makanan dan jenis makanan yang diberi. Jem strawberry adalah makanan yang paling disukai oleh kebanyakan spesis semut berbanding serbuk ikan bilis dan serbuk kuning telur. Ini menunjukkan semut lebih tertarik kepada makanan yang mengandungi karbohidrat berbanding makanan berprotein.

Key words: ants, food preference, infestation, Malaysia

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