In order to characterize the epigeic myrmecofauna in fields and vineyards in the physiographic region of Campanha, located in the Pampa biome, state of Rio Grande do Sul, inventories were conducted on three farms. On each farm, samples were collected in three environments: the rows in the vineyards, the spaces between rows in the vineyards, and the adjacent areas, with vegetation similar to that which preceded the establishment of crops. In each environment, 20 points were sampled using pitfall traps. We collected 72 species distributed among 24 genera and seven subfamilies. The study provides the first inventory of the ant fauna in the region, contributing with new records for the state of Rio Grande do Sul and for Brazil. It is hoped that this inventory will stimulate further studies on the biodiversity of this biome that is still poorly known.
Understanding biological community distribution patterns and their drivers across different scales is one of the major goals of community ecology in a rapidly changing world. Considering natural forest-grassland ecotones distributed over the south Brazilian region we investigated how ant communities are assembled locally, i.e. considering different habitats, and regionally, i.e. considering different physiographic regions. We used taxonomic and phylogenetic approaches to investigate diversity patterns and search for environmental/spatial drivers at each scale. We sampled ants using honey and tuna baits in forest and grassland habitats, in ecotones distributed at nine sites in Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil. Overall, we found 85 ant species belonging to 23 genera and six subfamilies. At the local scale, we found forests and grasslands as equivalent in ant species and evolutionary history diversities, but considerably different in terms of species composition. In forests, the soil surface air temperature predicts foraging ant diversity. In grasslands, while the height of herbaceous vegetation reduces ant diversity, treelet density from forest expansion processes clearly increases it. At a regional scale, we did not find models that sufficiently explained ant taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity based on regional environmental variables. The variance in species composition, but not in evolutionary histories, across physiographic regions is driven by space and historical processes. Our findings unveil important aspects of ant community ecology in natural transition systems, indicating environmental filtering as an important process structuring the communities at the local scale, but mostly spatial processes acting at the regional scale.
Non-forest ecosystems, as natural grasslands from Southern Brazil, are still neglected in conservation policies. Measuring their biodiversity is one of the main steps to generate management strategies for these habitats. This study aims to (i) describe grassland ant richness and composition in Rio Grande do Sul state, and (ii) compare ant communities sampled on the ground and in grassland vegetation, adding to our knowledge of habitat use patterns and vegetation associated species. Six sites were sampled, three belonging to the Pampa biome and three in highland region from the Atlantic Forest biome. Ant fauna was collected once per year in summer during four years in each site with pitfalls traps and sweeping nets. Overall, 29,812 ant individuals were sampled belonging to eight subfamilies, 30 genera e 106 species. The grasslands of Pampa accumulated 91 species and 45 exclusive species, while highland grasslands summed up 61 species and only 15 exclusive species. Species composition differs between biomes as well as between sampling methods. Ant communities sampled from vegetation represented a clear subset of the fauna sampled with pitfall traps, and indication analysis showed only two species associated with this stratum: Myrmelachista gallicola and Pseudomyrmex nr. flavidulus. This study highlights the importance of Southern Brazilian grasslands and the need for specific conservation strategies for the natural grasslands from each biome.
Ants, an ecologically successful and numerically dominant group of animals, play key ecological roles as soil engineers, predators, nutrient recyclers, and regulators of plant growth and reproduction in most terrestrial ecosystems. Further, ants are widely used as bioindicators of the ecological impact of land use. We gathered information of ant species in the Atlantic Forest of South America. The ATLANTIC ANTS data set, which is part of the ATLANTIC SERIES data papers, is a compilation of ant records from collections (18,713 records), unpublished data (29,651 records), and published sources (106,910 records; 1,059 references), including papers, theses, dissertations, and book chapters published from 1886 to 2020. In total, the data set contains 153,818 ant records from 7,636 study locations in the Atlantic Forest, representing 10 subfamilies, 99 genera, 1,114 ant species identified with updated taxonomic certainty, and 2,235 morphospecies codes. Our data set reflects the heterogeneity in ant records, which include ants sampled at the beginning of the taxonomic history of myrmecology (the 19th and 20th centuries) and more recent ant surveys designed to address specific questions in ecology and biology. The data set can be used by researchers to develop strategies to deal with different macroecological and region‐wide questions, focusing on assemblages, species occurrences, and distribution patterns. Furthermore, the data can be used to assess the consequences of changes in land use in the Atlantic Forest on different ecological processes. No copyright restrictions apply to the use of this data set, but we request that authors cite this data paper when using these data in publications or teaching events.
The dolichoderine ant species Gracilidris pombero, sole representative of the genus, is recorded for the first time in southern Brazil. Until now, the species was known only for the open fields of the South American dry diagonal and for a single locality in the Colombian Amazon. The specimens reported here were collected with pitfall traps in grasslands of the Pampa biome, state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. This record represents the southernmost occurrence for the genus, extending its distribution in approximately 450 km to the south in the Neotropics and in almost 1,150 km to the south in Brazil.
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