Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 927–942 | Cite as

Biodiversity conservation in urban parks: a study of ground-dwelling ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Rio de Janeiro City

  • Marcus Nascimento SantosEmail author
  • Jacques H. C. Delabie
  • Jarbas M. Queiroz


Urban green recreational spaces may provide habitat for animals and plants. We investigated the importance of urban public parks in the city of Rio de Janeiro with regard to the conservation of ant species by comparing both the structure of the ground-dwelling ant community between urban parks and continuous forests and the influence of environmental factors on possible differences. Fifteen urban areas were sampled (5 isolated parks, 5 non-isolated parks and 5 forest areas). Ants were sampled at sardine bait stations and through manual/visual searching in quadrats around the baits. We identified 120 ant species (4 exotic species) distributed across 38 genera and 7 subfamilies. The four exotic species were Monomorium floricola, Paratrechina longicornis, Pheidole megacephala and Tetramorium simillimum. Both the taxonomic and functional diversity of ground-dwelling ants were higher in continuous forests, followed by non-isolated and then isolated urban parks. Environmental factors were found to be key drivers influencing the differences in ant community structure among continuous forests and urban parks. Soil compaction and canopy cover predicted the diversity patterns of the taxonomic and functional compositions of the ant communities. The ant species in the study areas exhibited a non-random pattern of distribution and a spatial association of species segregation. There was high spatial turnover of ant species in the study areas, indicating that conservation efforts are required in all studied urban areas, not just those areas considered to be species rich. Therefore, we need to conserve more species in more areas, not necessarily those high in richness.


Formicidae Urban ants Urban landscapes Biodiversity conservation 



We would like to thank Cainã Huntter de Souza Leite for his essential support and assistance in the ant collections in the forest areas. The Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the Programa de Pós-Graduacão em Ciências Ambientais e Florestais, Instituto de Florestas, UFRRJ, Brazil, supported this research. We also thank the Associate Editor and anonymous reviewers, whose invaluable critical comments improved this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This research does not involve human and/or animal participants. The manuscript has not been submitted to more than one journal for simultaneous consideration. The manuscript has not been published previously (partly or in full). No data have been fabricated or manipulated (including images) to support our conclusions.

Supplementary material

11252_2019_872_MOESM1_ESM.doc (381 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 381 kb)
11252_2019_872_MOESM2_ESM.doc (28 kb)
ESM 2 (DOC 28 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Ambientais e Florestais, Instituto de FlorestasUniversidade Federal Rural do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratório de MirmecologiaConvênio Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz - Centro de Pesquisas do CacauItabunaBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de Ciências Ambientais, Instituto de FlorestasUniversidade Federal Rural do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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