Author(s): PrezSnchez AJ, Lattke JE, Viloria AL
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Abstract In xeric ecosystems, ant diversity response to aridity varies with rainfall magnitude and gradient extension. At a local scale and with low precipitation regimes, increased aridity leads to a reduction of species richness and an increased relative abundance for some ant species. In order to test this pattern in tropical environments, ant richness and relative abundance variation were evaluated along 35 km of an aridity gradient in the Araya Peninsula, state of Sucre, Venezuela. Three sampling stations comprising five transects each were set up. Pitfall traps and direct collecting from vegetation were assessed per transect. Overall, 52 species, 23 genera, and 7 subfamilies of ants were recorded in the peninsula. The total number of species and genera recorded by both sampling stations and transects decreased linearly with increasing aridity. Total relative abundance was highest in the most arid portion of the peninsula, with Crematogaster rochai (Forel) and Camponotus conspicuus zonatus (Emery) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) being the numerically dominant species. Spatial and multivariate analyses revealed significant changes in ant composition every 11 km of distance, and showed a decrease of ant diversity with the increase of harsh conditions in the gradient. Here, we discuss how local geographic and topographic features of Araya originate the aridity gradient and so affect the microhabitat conditions for the ant fauna.
This article was published in Neotrop Entomol
and referenced in Journal of Biodiversity, Bioprospecting and Development