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Revista Brasileira de Zoologia
Print version ISSN 0101-8175
VASCONCELOS, Heraldo L.; ARAUJO, Bruna B. and MAYHE-NUNES, Antonio J.. Patterns of diversity and abundance of fungus-growing ants (Formicidae: Attini) in areas of the Brazilian Cerrado. Rev. Bras. Zool. [online]. 2008, vol.25, n.3, pp. 445-450. ISSN 0101-8175. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0101-81752008000300009.
Fungus-growing ants (tribe Attini) are characteristic elements of the New World fauna. However, there is little information on the patterns of diversity, abundance, and distribution of attine species in their native ecosystems, especially for the so-called "lower" genera of the tribe. A survey of attine ant nests (excluding Atta Fabricus, 1804 and Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865) was conducted in a variety of savanna and forest habitats of the Cerrado biome near Uberlândia, Brazil. In total, 314 nests from 21 species of nine genera were found. Trachymyrmex Forel, 1893 was the most diverse genus with 10 species. Eighteen species were found in the savannas, including Mycetagroicus cerradensis Brandão & Mayhé-Nunes, 2001, a species from a recently-described genus of Attini, whereas in the forests only 12 species were found. Forest and savannas support relatively distinct faunas, each with a number of unique species; the species present in the forest habitats did not represent a nested subset of the species found in the savannas. Furthermore, although many species were common to both types of vegetation, their abundances were quite different. The density of attine nests is relatively high at some sites, exceeding an estimated 4,000 nests per hectare. In this sense, attine ants can be regarded as prevalent invertebrate taxa in the Brazilian Cerrado.
Keywords : biodiversity; community structure; forest; savanna; Trachymyrmex.