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Diversity and distribution of ground-dwelling ants in a lowland rainforest in southeast Cameroon


Detailed information on the ground-dwelling ant diversity and distribution in the rainforests of the Congo Basin is lacking so far. A new ant species list from a continuous mixed secondary lowland rainforest on the northern periphery of the Dja Biosphere Reserve in southeast Cameroon is presented. We investigated the effect of vegetation type on ant species density, activity and composition. Ants were collected by pitfall trapping in seven vegetation types in each of three seasons during 12 months in 2003 and 2004–2005. Our site in Cameroon had a total observed ant diversity of 145 species. Vegetation type significantly influenced the ground-dwelling and -foraging (arboreal) ant assemblages. Differences in species density, activity and composition between vegetation types were explained not only by soil type (hydromorphous – terra firme), but also by developmental stage of vegetation types. The highly inundated Raphia-swamp had the lowest ant species density and activity. Older secondary forests still had a different species composition than near primary forest even after 25 years of recovery after anthropogenic disturbance. Finally, the high ant species number captured by our pitfalls, the absence of the invasive exotic ant Wasmannia auropunctata and the high Dorylus (Anomma) army ant diversity confirm the importance of the Cameroonian rainforest for biodiversity conservation programs.

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Correspondence to I. Deblauwe.

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Received 4 October 2006; revised 4 June 2007; accepted 2 July 2007.

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Deblauwe, I., Dekoninck, W. Diversity and distribution of ground-dwelling ants in a lowland rainforest in southeast Cameroon. Insect. Soc. 54, 334–342 (2007).

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