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Authors: Houadria, Mickal
Menzel, Florian
Title: Digging deeper into the ecology of subterranean ants : diversity and niche partitioning across two continents
Online publication date: 12-Nov-2021
Year of first publication: 2021
Language: english
Abstract: Soil fauna is generally understudied compared to above-ground arthropods, and ants are no exception. Here, we compared a primary and a secondary forest each on two continents using four different sampling methods. Winkler sampling, pitfalls, and four types of above- and below-ground baits (dead, crushed insects; melezitose; living termites; living mealworms/grasshoppers) were applied on four plots (4 × 4 grid points) on each site. Although less diverse than Winkler samples and pitfalls, subterranean baits provided a remarkable ant community. Our baiting system provided a large dataset to systematically quantify strata and dietary specialisation in tropical rainforest ants. Compared to above-ground baits, 10–28% of the species at subterranean baits were overall more common (or unique to) below ground, indicating a fauna that was truly specialised to this stratum. Species turnover was particularly high in the primary forests, both concerning above-ground and subterranean baits and between grid points within a site. This suggests that secondary forests are more impoverished, especially concerning their subterranean fauna. Although subterranean ants rarely displayed specific preferences for a bait type, they were in general more specialised than above-ground ants; this was true for entire communities, but also for the same species if they foraged in both strata.
DDC: 570 Biowissenschaften
570 Life sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 10 Biologie
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Diversity
Pages or article number: 53
Publisher: MDPI
Publisher place: Basel
Issue date: 2021
ISSN: 1424-2818
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.3390/d13020053
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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