Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (3): 421-428, 2014 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2014.044

Comparison of the exotic and native ant communities (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in urban green areas at inland, coastal and insular sites in Spain

Joaquín REYES-LÓPEZ, Soledad CARPINTERO
1 Ecology Area, University of Cordoba, Edificio C-4 "Celestino Mutis", Campus de Rabanales, Ctra. Madrid, Km. 396, 4071 Cordoba, Spain; e-mails: joaquin@uco.es; solecarpintero@gmail.com

Currently the introduction and spread of invasive species is an issue of great concern. To effectively manage this problem it is essential to know what constitute invasion hotspots. In this respect, the role of urban green areas in the conservation of biodiversity is a controversial matter. These areas may either favour colonization by alien species or shelter species of high conservation value. We evaluated the influence of location (island, coastal or inland) on the exotic and native ant fauna recorded in 27 urban green areas in Spain. A forward-stepwise discriminant analysis revealed differences between these locations in terms of the composition of the fauna, with exotic species identified as being the most important discriminating variable. There is a gradient: inland-coastal-island, along which there is significant increase in importance in terms of species richness and abundance of particular exotic species and decrease in the dominance of both common and rare native species. Areas located on the Island were more susceptible to invasion by alien ants. Coastal areas were also more susceptible to invasion than inland areas. These results possibly reflect the greater probability of an invasive species reaching these locations and the milder weather conditions at these sites, which would favour their establishment.

Keywords: Hymenoptera, Formicidae, ants, urban ecology, exotic species, community biogeography

Received: July 22, 2013; Accepted: February 10, 2014; Prepublished online: May 6, 2014; Published: July 14, 2014

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