Print version ISSN 1519-566X
DELABIE, Jacques H.C. et al. Ants as biological indicators of human impact in mangroves of the southeastern coast of Bahia, Brazil. Neotrop. Entomol. [online]. 2006, vol.35, n.5, pp. 602-615. ISSN 1519-566X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2006000500006.
Mangroves are common in estuaries along the Atlantic coast of Brazil. Although plant diversity is low, this ecosystem supports a range of animals, offering some resources for non-aquatic organisms. Many insects live in mangroves and, between them, many ant species that are exclusively arboreous. Mangroves throughout the world suffer from high levels of human impact, and this is particularly true for southeastern Bahia, where land-uses include traditional crab and fish exploitation, urban development, refuse pollution, recreation, and timber extraction. The ants of 13 mangrove sites, representing a range of levels of human use, have been studied along 250 km of the southern Bahia littoral, between Itacaré and Porto Seguro. Ants were sampled both inside and on the periphery of the tidal zone, using entomological rainbow, baiting, collect of hollow branches and pit-fall. A total of 108 species have been collected, with the richest genera being Camponotus and Pseudomyrmex, and the most frequent belonging to the genera Azteca and Crematogaster. The ant community living on the periphery of mangrove areas is rather homogeneous regardless of the degree of environmental perturbation, but varies markedly with the disturbance inside the mangroves themselves. The evolution of richness of the both communities, mangrove and periphery, is negatively related to the human effects, even limited to the periphery. Ant communities therefore have the potential to be useful as biological indicators of ecological impacts of land-use in these mangrove systems.
Keywords : Formicidae; animal community.