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


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.


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


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agosti D., Majer J., Alonso L.E. and Schultz T.R. (eds). (2000). Ants, Standard Methods for Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, 280Google Scholar
  2. Brühl C.A., Mohamed M. and Linsenmair K.E. (1998). Altitudinal distribution of leaf litter ants along a transect in primary forests on Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. J. Trop. Ecol. 15: 265–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chao A., Chazdon R.L., Colwell R.K. and Shen T.J. (2005). A new statistical approach for assessing similarity of species composition with incidence and abundance data. Ecol. Lett. 8: 148–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clarke H.D. and Funk V.A. (2005). Using checklists and collections data to investigate plant diversity: II. An analysis of five florulas from northeastern South America. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 154: 29–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Colwell R.K. 2005. EstimateS: Statistical Estimation of Species Richness and Shared Species from Samples. Version 7.5. User’s Guide and application published at:
  6. Colwell R.K. and Coddington J.A. (1994). Estimating terrestrial biodiversity through extrapolation. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. London, Ser. B 345: 101–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Delabie J.H.C., Fisher B.L., Majer J.D. and Wright I.W. (2000). Sampling effort and choice of methods. In: Agosti, D., Majer, J., Alonso, L.E., and Schultz, T.R. (eds) Ants. Standard Methods for Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity, pp 145–154. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  8. Doyle A.C. (1912). The Lost World. Hodder and Stoughton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Fernández F. and Sendoya S. (2004). List of neotropical ants. Biota Colombiana 5(1): 1–93Google Scholar
  10. Fisher B.L. (1999). Improving inventory efficiency: a case study of leaf litter ant diversity in Madagascar. Ecol. Appl. 9: 714–731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fisher B.L. 2002. Ant diversity patterns along an devotional gradient in the Réserve Spécial de Manogarivo, Madagascar. In: Gautier L. and Goodman S.M. (eds), Inventaire Floristique et Faunistique de la Réserve Spéciale de Manongarivo (NW Madagascar). Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de Genéve.Google Scholar
  12. Fisher B.L. 2003. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). In: Goodman S.M. and Benstead J.P.(eds), The Natural History of Madagascar. University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  13. Funk V.A. and Richardson K.S. (2002). Systematic data in biodiversity studies: use it or lose it. Syst. Biol. 51(2): 303–316PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gibbs A.K. and Barron C.N. (1993). The geology of the Guiana Shield. Oxford Monogr. Geol. Geophys. 22: 1–246Google Scholar
  15. Gotelli N.J. and Colwell R.K. (2001). Quantifying biodiversity: procedures and pitfalls in the measurement and comparison of species richness. Ecol. Lett. 4: 379–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huber O., Gharbarran G. and Funk V.A. (1995). Vegetation Map of Guyana (preliminary version). 1:1,000,000. Centre for the Study of Biological Diversity, University of Guyana, Georgetown, GuyanaGoogle Scholar
  17. Kaspari M. and Majer J.D. (2000). Using ants to monitor environmental change. In: Agosti, D., Majer, J., Alonso, L.E. and Schultz, T.R. (eds) Ants. Standard Methods for Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity, pp 89–98. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  18. Kempf W.W. (1972). Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical. Stud. Entomol. 15: 3–344Google Scholar
  19. LaPolla J.S. (2004). Contrib. Am. Entomol. Inst. 33(3): 1–130Google Scholar
  20. Leponce M., Theunis L., Delabie J.H.C. and Roison Y. (2004). Scale dependence of diversity measures in a leaf-litter ant assemblage. Ecography 27: 253–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Longino J.T., Coddington J. and Colwell R.K. (2002). The ant fauna of a tropical rain forest: estimating species richness three different ways. Ecology 83(3): 689–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. MacCulloch R.D. and Lathrop A. (2002). Exceptional diversity of Stefania (Anura: Hylidae) on Mount Ayanganna, Guyana: three new species and new distribution record. Herpetologica 58(3): 327–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Matheny P.B., Aime M.C. and Henkel T.W. (2003). New species of Inocybe from Dicymbe forests of Guyana. Mycological Research 107(4): 495–505PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. New T.R. (1995). An Introduction to Invertebrate Conservation Biology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, United KingdomGoogle Scholar
  25. Parker T.A., Foster R.B., Emmons L.H., Freed P., Forsyth A.B., Hoffman B. and Gill B.D. (1993). A biological assessment of the Kanuku Mountain Region of southwestern Guyana. Conservational International RAP Working Papers 5: 1–70Google Scholar
  26. Rull V. (2004). Biogeography of the “Lost World”: a palaeocological perspective. EarthSci. Rev. 67: 125–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Samways M.J. (2005). Insect Diversity Conservation. University of Cambridge Press, Cambridge, United KingdomGoogle Scholar
  28. Steege H. ter. (1993). Patterns in Tropical Rain Forest in Guyana. Tropenbos, Utrechtthe, The Netherlands, 159Google Scholar
  29. Systat Software, Inc. 2002. Systat (computer program). Richmond, California.Google Scholar
  30. Ward P.S. (2000). Broad-scale patterns of diversity in leaf litter ant communities. In: Agosti, D., Majer, J., Alonso, L.E. and Schultz, T.R. (eds) Ants. Standard Methods for Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity, pp 99–121. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  31. Weber N.A. (1946). The biology of the fungus-growing ants. Part IX. The British Guiana species. Rev. Entomol. (Rio de Janeiro) 17: 114–172Google Scholar
  32. Wheeler W.M. (1916). Ants collected in British Guiana by the expedition of the American Museum of Natural History during 1911. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 35: 1–14Google Scholar
  33. Wheeler W.M. (1918). Ants collected in British Guiana by Mr. C. William Beebe. J. N.Y. Entomol. Soc. 26: 23–28Google Scholar
  34. Wilson E.O. (2003). Pheidole in the New World. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass, 793Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations