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Abstract

The African weaver ant (Oecophylla longinoda) is known to be highly aggressive toward conspecific aliens. In the study area Shimba Hills Reserve (Kenya) individual territories sometimes covered an area of up to approximately 1600 m2, comprising 17 major trees. The territorial defense is organized by an elaborate defense recruitment system, which can also be aimed against several other ant species, which are potential competitors of Oecophylla for essential resources. This selective “enemy identification” seems to be the major behavioral mechanism by which the mosaic distribution of ecologically dominant ants is regulated.