Comparison of the ant communities of annually inundated and terra firme forests at Trombetas in the Brazilian Amazon

  • Majer J
  • Delabie J
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Abstract

The composition of the ant community was assessed along standardized 100 m transects in annually flooded Varzea forest and in terra firme forests on sandy soil (Flanco forest) and on clay-topped mesas (Planalto forest). Standardized samples were taken by unit-time hand collecting (day and night times), sweeping, beating, baiting and by Winkler sacks. A total of 156 species, representing 49 genera were found, of which 98, 88 and 55 were respectively found in the Planalto, Flanco and Varzea forests. Species lists are presented and the ant community composition and species richness are compared between the three forests. By considering the nesting and foraging habits of the various species, the differences in overall community composition are related to the forest type and susceptibility to inundation of the three forests which were surveyed. The data confirm the view that tropical rain forests support an extremely diverse ant fauna and comparisons with other forested areas suggest that ant species richness declines in subtropical and temperate rain forests. Although alpha diversity is high, species turnover between forests is lower than expected, suggesting that ant species richness in this forested region is not as great as is implied in some published estimates of global arthropod diversity.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Amazonia
  • Formicidae
  • ants
  • biodiversity
  • forest
  • inundation

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Authors

  • J. D. Majer

  • J. H.C. Delabie

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