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Neotropical Entomology

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Abstract

LOPES, Cauê T.  and  VASCONCELOS, Heraldo L.. Evaluation of three methods for sampling ground-dwelling Ants in the Brazilian Cerrado. Neotrop. entomol. [online]. 2008, vol.37, n.4, pp. 399-405. ISSN 1519-566X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2008000400007.

Few studies have evaluated the efficiency of methods for sampling ants, especially in regions with highly variable vegetation physiognomies such as the Cerrado region of central Brazil. Here we compared three methods to collect ground-dwelling ants: pitfall traps, sardine baits, and the Winkler litter extractor. Our aim was to determine which method would be most appropriate to characterize the ant assemblages inhabiting different vegetation types. More species were collected with pitfall traps and with the Winkler extractor than with sardine baits. Pitfall traps collected more species in the cerrado (savanna) physiognomies, particularly in those with a poor litter cover, whereas the Winlker extractor was more efficient in the forest physiognomies, except the one subject to periodic inundations. There was a low similarity in species composition between forest and cerrado physiognomies, and this pattern was detected regardless of the method used to sampling ants. Therefore, even the use of a single, relatively selective method of collection can be enough for studies comparing highly distinct habitats and/or conditions. However, if the purpose of the sampling is to produce a more thoroughly inventory of the ant fauna, we suggest the use of a combination of methods, particularly pitfall traps and the Winkler extractor. Therefore, the Ants of the Leaf-Litter (ALL) Sampling Protocol appear to be an adequate protocol for sampling ants in the highly-threatened Brazilian cerrado biome.

Keywords : Ant inventory; bait; Formicidae; pitfall trap; Winkler extractor.

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