Eur. J. Entomol. 109 (2): 197-206, 2012 | 10.14411/eje.2012.026

Species diversity and nestedness of ant assemblages in an urban environment

Piotr ¦LIPIÑSKI, Michal ¯MIHORSKI, Wojciech CZECHOWSKI
Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Science (PAS), Wilcza 64, 00-679 Warsaw, Poland; e-mail: piotrs@miiz.waw.pl

Ant assemblages were studied in Warsaw in the context of the effects of urban pressure. Four types of urban greenery were selected: (1) green areas bordering streets, (2) in housing estates, and (3) in parks, and (4) patches of urban woodland. In total, there were 27 species of ants. In terms of the total ant activity density, Lasius niger predominated in all the the lawn biotopes (1-3) and Myrmica rubra in the wooded areas. Ant species diversity was highest in parks and wooded areas and lowest in green areas bordering streets. In contrast, activity density was highest in green areas bordering streets and lowest in wooded areas. Some species are found only in a few habitats. Stenamma debile, Lasius brunneus, L. fuliginosus and Temnothorax crassispinus almost exclusively occurred in wooded areas, whereas L. niger was most often found in lawn biotopes. Myrmica rugulosa and Tetramorium caespitum were most abundant in green areas bordering streets, while in parks Lasius flavus, Formica cunicularia and Solenopsis fugax were most abundant. In general, the ant assemblages recorded showed a significantly nested pattern, with biotope type being a significant determinant of nestedness. The assemblages found in green areas in housing estates and bordering streets constituted a subsample of the assemblages in parks and wooded areas. Ant species were non-randomly distributed in this urbanized landscape and the species recorded in the most transformed biotopes constitute subsamples of those inhabiting less transformed biotopes. This finding emphasizes the importance of wooded areas for the maintenance of biodiversity in urban areas.

Keywords: Formicidae, biodiversity conservation, city, nestedness, redundancy analysis, urban pressure

Received: August 19, 2011; Accepted: November 18, 2011; Published: April 5, 2012

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