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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2016 / Habitat association and coexistence of endemic and introduced ant species in Galapagos Islands

Nina Wauters, Wouter Dekoninck, Frederik Hendrickx, Henri Herrera and Denis Fournier (2016)

Habitat association and coexistence of endemic and introduced ant species in Galapagos Islands

Ecological Entomology, 41(1):40-50.

1. We investigated ant communities in all main vegetation zones of the model island of Santa Cruz in the Galápagos archipelago (155 collection points, spread over 21 sites; 28 ant species collected), and evaluated the distribution, coexistence, and effect of environmental factors in a community composed of endemic, probably endemic, and introduced ants of the New World and exotic origin. 2. Introduced species were the most frequent, occurring in 98% of the samples, yet endemic and probably endemic species still occurred in 54% of the samples, and constituted one of three most common species. The present study revealed that the habitat type along with altitude and the tree cover are the primary factors shaping ant community composition. Little evidence was found for a competitively structured assemblage of ant species. 3. The present study confirmed the predominance of two dominant invasive species, Solenopsis geminata Fabricius and Wasmannia auropunctata Roger, whose abundances are negatively correlated. The abundance of S. geminata is positively correlated with the overall species richness, and with the proportion of other introduced species. The presence of both invasive ants is associated with a low evenness of ant communities. 4. The present study (i) stresses the dominance of introduced species and the relative resistance of endemic species, (ii) highlights the on-going processes of species introductions and (iii) points out the need for adequate monitoring and conservation of the pristine and threatened environments that constitute the Galápagos Islands.
Peer Review, International Redaction Board, Impact Factor
Galapagos, Formicidae

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