Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 491–510 | Cite as

Leaf litter ant diversity in Guyana

  • John S. LaPolla
  • Ted Suman
  • Jeffrey Sosa-Calvo
  • Ted R. Schultz
Article

Abstract

Leaf litter ants are an important group of organisms for informing conservation planning. This study presents the beginning of a leaf litter ant dataset for Guyana. Following the ants of the leaf litter protocol, ants were extracted from sifted leaf litter sampled along eight transects from across Guyana. A total of 230 species were collected from 44 genera. Of those 230 species, 122 species (ca. 53%) were found at only one site. Out of the 122 species found at only one site, 43 species (ca. 19%) were singletons, being known from only one specimen. Using a cluster analysis, faunistic composition was compared among sites. While the lowland sites accounted for the highest species richness, Mt. Ayanganna possessed an especially distinctive ant fauna and may represent a center of endemism. Three leaf litter ant communities were identified: lowland and two Mt. Ayanganna communities, mid-elevation and upper elevation. Recent mining operations on Mt. Ayanganna threaten its pristine nature and this study confirms the need for further biological study of the area. With upwards of 70% of its area still forested Guyana has the opportunity to preserve its biological heritage before widespread deforestation occurs. If expanded, this leaf litter ant dataset will be increasingly useful for country-wide conservation planning.

Keywords

A.L.L. protocol Biodiversity Conservation Formicidae Guiana Shield Leaf litter ants 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • John S. LaPolla
    • 1
  • Ted Suman
    • 1
  • Jeffrey Sosa-Calvo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ted R. Schultz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyNational Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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