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Comparison of leaf litter ant communities in woodlands, lowland forests and montane forests of north-eastern Tanzania

Comparison of leaf litter ant communities in woodlands, lowland forests and montane forests of north-eastern Tanzania

Biodiversity and Conservation 11(9): 1637-1652

ISSN/ISBN: 0960-3115

DOI: 10.1023/a:1016883901065

Ants were extracted in Winkler bags from sifted leaf litter sampled in a range of forest and woodland types in and around Mkomazi Game Reserve in north-eastern Tanzania, including the Eastern Arc Mountains of South Pare and West Usambara. A total of 87 ant species were recorded, of which 32.2% were only recorded from montane forests (1400-1850 m altitude), 6.9% only from lowland forest (540-810 m), 19.5% only from woodland (300-1080 m), and 16.1% in all three forest types. Of the 28 species recorded only from montane forests, 12 species were only found in the Mkomazi forests, four only in the Pares and seven species only in the Usambaras. Sites of similar altitude grouped together in a cluster analysis, and species richness decreased with an increase in altitude. The lowland forest and closed woodland sites did not form distinct communities. To ensure preservation of ant species, forests from a full range of altitudes need to be conserved. This study confirms the status of the West Usambara forests as having a highly endemic biota, and the critical need to adequately conserve the remaining vestiges of montane forest within Mkomazi Game Reserve.

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Accession: 003687630

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