Testate amoebae (Testacea) in a Formica lugubris nest: Fauna composition and structure
The fauna of testate amoebae (Testacea) in a Formica lugubris anthill and in litter layers from the control soil area in a spruce forest, Moscow region, was represented by a total of 43 species and subspecies. Their numbers ranged from 11000 ind./g air-dry substrate in the surface layer of the anthill to 62000 ind./g in the lower litter layer A0H/A1, with variation in species diversity between the samples being insignificant (24–30 species). Representatives of the genera Centropyxis, Cyclopyxis, Plagiopyxis, Corythion, and Trinema were dominant, whereas most of other species were few in numbers. The group of testacean species in the anthill was not specific, being a derivative of the testacean complex inhabiting the surrounding soil. Differences between litter layers and between these layers and substrates from the anthill concerned mainly the composition of the testacean community, which proved to change in the course of plant material decomposition: the aerophilic complex of upper layers (dominated by Centropyxis aerophila and Trinema lineare) was substituted by an edaphophilic complex (with Plagiopyxis declivis being dominant) in the nest mound of the anthill and in the lower litter layers. Plagiopyxis penardi was a eudominant species in the nest mound. Its especially high abundance is explained by deep transformation of plant remains in the nest (from moder to mull-like substrate) as the result of ant life activities.