Open Access: CC BY 4.0


Ward, D.F.

Year: 2009


The diversity, community composition and seasonality of native and introduced ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in northern New Zealand

Journal: Myrmecological News

Volume: 12

Pages: 195-200

Type of contribution: Original Article

Supplementary material: No


Although there are only eleven native ant species in New Zealand, little is known about their biology. This paper examines the diversity, community composition and seasonality of native and introduced ants at seven native forest sites in northern New Zealand using leaf litter sampling, pitfall trap sampling and foliage beating. A total of seven native, and five introduced ant species were caught in this study. Litter sampling yielded an average of 5.1 ants and 1.6 species per 1 × 1 m quadrat. Fifty five percent of quadrats had only one species and 88% of quadrats had two species. Pitfall sampling also caught few species, with a catch rate of only 0.215 ants per pitfall trap per day. The composition of ant species was similar throughout the year and also across sites. A simple seasonal pattern (i.e., based on day length) explained much of the variation in abundance (R2 = 83%) and species richness (R2 = 77%) of ants. In both litter and pitfall sampling, three species contributed > 90% of the abundance of all ants. The two most common ant species are predators, Heteroponera brounii (Forel, 1892) and Pachycondyla castaneicolor (Dalla Torre, 1893). Only five ant specimens were collected from foliage beating samples from twelve monthly samples of 40 plants. The lack of a diverse and abundant ant fauna could have significantly influenced the evolution of the New Zealand biota, but this remains to be investigated.

Open access, licensed under CC BY 4.0. © 2009 The Author(s).

Key words:

Leaf litter, pitfall, dominance, Formicidae, New Zealand.

Publisher: The Austrian Society of Entomofaunistics

ISSN: Print: 1994-4136 - Online: 1997-3500