Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 95, Issue 1, pp 30–37 | Cite as

Latitudinal patterns in European ant assemblages: variation in species richness and body size

  • J. Hall Cushman
  • John H. Lawton
  • Bryan F. J. Manly
Original Papers

Abstract

Using published distributions of 65 species from the British Isles and northern Europe, we show that ant assemblages change with latitude in two ways. First, as commonly found for many types of organisms, the number of ant species decreased significantly with increasing latitude. For Ireland and Great Britain, species richness also increased significantly with region area. Second, although rarely demonstrated for ectotherms, the body size of ant species, as measured by worker length, increased significantly with increasing latitude. We found that this body-size pattern existed in the subfamily Formicinae and, to a lesser extent, in the Myrmicinae, which together comprised 95% of the ant species in our study area. There was a trend for formicines to increase in size with latitude faster than myrmicines. We also show that the pattern of increasing body size was due primarily to the ranges of ant species shifting to higher latitudes as their body sizes increased, with larger formicines becoming less represented at southerly latitudes and larger myrmicines becoming more represented at northerly latitudes. We conclude by discussing five potential mechanisms for generating the observed body-size patterns: the heat-conservation hypothesis, two hypotheses concerning phylogenetic history, the migration-ability hypothesis, and the starvation-resistance hypothesis.

Key words

Ants Worker body size Species richness British Isles Northern Europe 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Baroni Urbani C, Collingwood CA (1976) A numerical analysis of the distribution of British Formicidae (Hymenoptera, Aculeata). Verhandl Naturf Ges Basel 85: 51–91Google Scholar
  2. Baroni Urbani C, Collingwood CA (1977) The zoogeography of ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in northern Europe. Acta Zool Fenn 152: 1–34Google Scholar
  3. Barrett KEJ (1979) Provisional Atlas of the Insects of the British Isles. Part 5. Hymenoptera: Formicidae. Biological Records Centre, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Monks Wood Experimental Station, HuntingdonGoogle Scholar
  4. Bergmann C (1947) Über die Verhältnisse der Wärmeökonomie der Tiere zu ihrer Gröe. Göttinger Studien 1: 595–708Google Scholar
  5. Blau WS (1981) Latitudinal variation in the life histories of insects occupying disturbed habitats: a case study. In: Dingle H, Denno RF (eds) Insect Life History Patterns; Habitat and Geographic Variation. Springer, New York, pp. 75–96Google Scholar
  6. Boyce MS (1978) Climatic variability and body size variation in muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) of North America. Oecologia 36: 1–19Google Scholar
  7. Brian MV (1973) Social Insects: Ecology and Behavioural Biology. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Brodie PF (1975) Cetacean energetics; an overview of intraspecific size variation. Ecology 56: 152–161Google Scholar
  9. Brown JH (1981) Two decades of homage to Santa Rosalia: towards a general theory of diversity. Amer Zool 21: 877–888Google Scholar
  10. Brown JH, Lee AK (1969) Bergmann's rule and climatic adaptation in woodrats (Neotoma). Evolution 23: 329–338Google Scholar
  11. Brown JH, Maurer B (1989) Macroecology: the division of food and space among species on continents. Science 243: 1145–1150Google Scholar
  12. Calder WA (1984) Size, Function, and Life History. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  13. Collingwood CA (1979) The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, Vol. 8. Scandinavian Science Ltd. Klampenborg, DenmarkGoogle Scholar
  14. Coope GR (1986) The invasion and colonization of the North Atlantic islands: a paleoecological solution to a biogeographic problem. Phil Trans R Soc Lond 314: 619–635Google Scholar
  15. Cousins SH (1989) Species richness and energy theory. Nature (London) 340: 350–351Google Scholar
  16. Forsman A (1991) Variation in sexual size dimorphism and maximum body size among Adder populations: effect of prey size. J Anim Ecol 60: 253–267Google Scholar
  17. Geist V (1987) Bergmann's rule is invalid. Can J Zool 65: 1035–1038Google Scholar
  18. Godwin H (1975) The history of the British flora. Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  19. Goulden CE, Hornig LL (1980) Population oscillations and energy reserves in planktonic Cladocera and their consequences to competition. Proc Nat Acad Sci 77: 1716–1720Google Scholar
  20. Hölldöbler B, Wilson EO (1990) The Ants. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  21. James FC (1970) Geographic size variation in birds and its relationship to climate. Ecology 51: 365–390Google Scholar
  22. Jeanne RL (1979) A latitudinal gradient in rates of ant predation. Ecology 60: 1211–1224Google Scholar
  23. Kondoh M (1977) On the difference of vitality among workers ants under starvation. Proc Eighth Intern Congr Intern Union Social Insects (Wageningen). pp 69–70Google Scholar
  24. Kusnezov V (1957) Numbers of species of ants in faunae of different latitudes. Evolution 11: 298–299Google Scholar
  25. Lawton JH (1990) Specles richness and population dynamics of animal assemblages: patterns in body size: abundance space. Phil Trans R Soc Lond 330: 283–291Google Scholar
  26. Lindsey CC (1966) Body sizes of poikilotherm vertebrates at different latitudes. Evolution 20: 456–465Google Scholar
  27. Lindstedt SL, Boyce MS (1985) Seasonality, fasting endurance, and body size in mammals. Am Nat 125: 873–878Google Scholar
  28. MacArthur RH (1972) Geographical Ecology. Harper & Row Publishers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Manly BFJ (1991) Randomization and Monte Carlo methods in biology. Chapman and Hall, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Manly BFJ (1992) The design and analysis of research studies. Cambridge University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  31. Mayr E (1956) Geographical character gradients and climatic adaptation. Evolution 10: 105–108Google Scholar
  32. McMahon TA, Banner JT (1983) On size and life. WH Freeman and Company, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  33. McNab BK (1971) On the ecological significance of Bergmann's Rule. Ecology 52: 845–854Google Scholar
  34. Murphy EC (1985) Bergmann's rule, seasonality, and geographic variation in body size of house sparrows. Evolution 39: 1327–1334Google Scholar
  35. Payne CD, ed (1987) The GLIM system, release 3.77 (second edition). Numerical Algorithms Group, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  36. Peters RH (1983) Ecological Implications of Body Size. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  37. Ray C (1960) The application of Bergmann's and Allen's rule to the poikilotherms. J Morph 106: 85–109Google Scholar
  38. Schmidt-Neilsen K (1984) Scaling: why is animal size so important? Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  39. Schoener TW, Janzen DH (1968) Notes on environmental determinants of tropical versus temperate insect size patterns. Am Nat 102: 207–224Google Scholar
  40. Scholander PF (1955) Evolution of climatic adaptation in homeotherms. Evolution 9: 15–26Google Scholar
  41. Scholander PF (1956) Climatic rules. Evolution 10: 339–340Google Scholar
  42. Searcy WA (1980) Optimum body size at different ambient temperatures: an energetics explanation of Bergmann's rule. J Theor Biol 83: 579–593Google Scholar
  43. Threlkeld ST (1976) Starvation and the size structure of zooplankton communities. Fresh Biol 6: 489–496Google Scholar
  44. Turner JRG, Lennon JJ (1989) Species richness and energy theory. Nature (London) 340: 351Google Scholar
  45. Wright DH (1983) Species-energy theory: an extension of speciesarea theory. Oikos 41: 496–506Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Hall Cushman
    • 1
  • John H. Lawton
    • 2
  • Bryan F. J. Manly
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.NERC Centre for Population BiologyImperial College at Silwood ParkAscotUK
  3. 3.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations