Environmental Management

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 375–383

Ants: Bio-indicators of minesite rehabilitation, land-use, and land conservation

  • J. D. Majer

DOI: 10.1007/BF01866920

Cite this article as:
Majer, J.D. Environmental Management (1983) 7: 375. doi:10.1007/BF01866920


In terms of their numerical abundance, size, and species richness, ants are a prominent taxonomic group in many terrestrial ecosystems This, and the fact that ants occupy higher trophic levels and often specialised niches, suggests that they may be good bio-indicators of various environmental parameters

This paper develops the rationale for using ants as bio-indicators and reviews examples of their use Parameters which are considered include ant species richness, species density, Shannon's diversity index, evenness index, and Mountford's similarity index The possible use of indicator species or groups is also discussed although, in Australia, this is still in its exploratory stage

The examples given in this paper suggest that a consideration of ant species richness and evenness and also the Mountford's similarity index provides significant insight into the composition of a habitat and of the degree of disturbance

Some applications of the ant bio-indicator concept include providing of base-line data in pre-development situations; monitoring ecosystem recovery following land rehabilitation, monitoring degree of ecosystem degradation, and the understanding of faunal composition and status of conservation areas

Key words

Ants Formicidae Bio-indicators 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. D. Majer
    • 1
  1. 1.School of BiologyWestern Australian Institute of TechnologyBentley

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