In this study we show that in South Central Michigan (Pierce Cedar Creek Institute) eight ant species patrol bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) during the sensitive crozier growth stage. At times these ants remove herbivorous insects from rapidly expanding fronds. A new method for analyzing herbivory of bracken fern is employed to measure chewing damage to the fronds. Our results show that ants do in fact remove some herbivores from bracken fronds during the crozier stage; however, statistical analyses comparing the amount of chewing damage between treated and untreated fronds at the end of the growing season show no statistical difference.
Oldenkamp, Ricki E. and Douglas, Matthew M.
"Measuring the Effects of “Opportunistic Defense” of the Bracken Fern, (Pteridium Aquilinum) by Patrolling Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in South Central Michigan,"
The Great Lakes Entomologist: Vol. 44
, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/tgle/vol44/iss1/4