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Biota Neotropica

Print version ISSN 1806-129XOn-line version ISSN 1676-0611

Abstract

KLUNK, Cristian Luan et al. Simple does not mean poor: grasslands and forests harbor similar ant species richness and distinct composition in highlands of southern Brazil. Biota Neotrop. [online]. 2018, vol.18, n.3, e20170507.  Epub July 23, 2018. ISSN 1676-0611.  https://doi.org/10.1590/1676-0611-bn-2017-0507.

Several studies addressed ant communities in the dense Atlantic Forest that runs along the Brazilian coast. However, comparatively little is known about the mixed forests and grasslands that occur in the southern range of the Atlantic Forest domain. In this study we performed the first standardized assessment of ants in the forest-grassland mosaic found in the highlands of the state of Santa Catarina. We aimed to investigate and compare ant richness and composition between mixed forests and grasslands in the main mountain range of south Brazil. Ants were collected in two years with ground pitfalls, tree pitfalls and litter samples. Sixty ant species were recorded, resulting in 22 new records for "Planalto Serrano" region and three for the state of Santa Catarina: Eurhopalothrix depressa, Pheidole radoszkowskii and Wasmannia williamsoni. There was significant dissimilarity in ant species composition between grasslands and forests, but no difference in ant species richness, even considering the higher number of strata in mixed forests. Similar richness and low number of arboreal species suggest that this ant community is structured similarly to temperate ones. Both habitats presented a large proportion of exclusive species. The fact that species composition between grassland and forest areas differed, coupled with the similarity in species richness between habitats and the record of new ant species for the region, calls for strong conservation efforts in grasslands of southern Brazil, which still are little protected by conservation areas.

Keywords : Formicidae; Atlantic Forest; Araucaria Forest; PPBio da Mata Atlântica; Eurhopalothrix depressa; Wasmannia williamsoni.

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