+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ PDF Full Text Service
How our service works
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Rainforest ants of the Tiwi Islands a remarkable centre of endemism in Australia’s monsoonal tropics

Rainforest ants of the Tiwi Islands a remarkable centre of endemism in Australia’s monsoonal tropics

Insectes Sociaux 59(3): 433-441

The small and isolated rainforest patches that are embedded in the predominantly savanna landscape of Australia s monsoonal tropics support a highly distinctive and biogeographically significant ant fauna. This fauna features shade-tolerant taxa of Indo-Malayan origin, in contrast to the arid-adapted, endemic Australian taxa that dominate the surrounding savanna. The Tiwi Islands north of Darwin in the Northern Territory (NT) receive the highest mean annual rainfall (up to 2, mm) in monsoonal Australia, and have a particularly extensive rainforest estate that has been poorly surveyed for invertebrates. Here we describe results from intensive ant surveys at 17 sites representing the full range of Tiwi rainforest types, using subterranean traps, Winkler sacs, pitfall traps and arboreal traps, supplemented by opportunistic hand collections. Our surveys yielded a total of 87 species from 37 genera, with the richest genera being Pheidole (9 species collected), Polyrhachis , Camponotus , Rhytidoponera and Strumigenys . The overall structure and diversity of the Tiwi rainforest fauna is comparable to that of rainforest ant faunas on the Australian mainland. However, the species have exceptional biogeographic significance. At least 21 species across 12 genera have apparently never previously been collected, three species from subcoastal northeastern Australia are recorded for the first time in the NT, and the genera Mesoponera and Onychomyrmex are documented for the first time in the NT. There was a very low incidence of exotic species, which further highlights the conservation values of this remarkable fauna.

Please choose payment method:

(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 036440191

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1007/s00040-012-0238-6

Related references

Biogeography of the ant fauna of the Tiwi Islands, in northern Australia's monsoonal tropics. Australian Journal of Zoology 52(1): 97-110, 2004

Multilocus phylogeography reveals nested endemism in a gecko across the monsoonal tropics of Australia. Molecular Ecology 25(6): 1354-1366, 2016

Conservation status of ants in an iconic region of monsoonal Australia: levels of endemism and responses to fire in the eastern Kimberley. Journal of Insect Conservation 18(1): 137-146, 2014

Historical Rainforest Contractions, Localized Extinctions and Patterns of Vertebrate Endemism in the Rainforests of Australia's Wet Tropics. Proceedings: Biological Sciences 264(1382): 709-716, 1997

Historical rainforest contractions, localized extinctions and patterns of vertebrate endemism in the rainforests of Australia's wet tropics. Proceedings. Biological Sciences 264(1382): 709-716, 1997

The distribution of ants on the Wessel and English Company Islands, in the seasonal tropics of Australia's Northern Territory. Australian Journal of Zoology 466: 557-578, 1998

Contrasting rainforest and savanna ant faunas in monsoonal northern Australia: a rainforest patch in a tropical savanna landscape. Australian Journal of Zoology 55(6): 363-369, 2007

Patterns and levels of endemism in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest: evidence from flightless insects. Invertebrate Systematics 16(4): 605-619, 2002

The termite (Isoptera) fauna of a monsoonal rainforest near Darwin, northern Australia. Australian Journal of Entomology 44(2): 152-157, 2005

Direct seeding to restore rainforest species: microsite effects on the early establishment and growth of rainforest tree seedlings on degraded land in the wet tropics of Australia. Forest Ecology and Management 234(1/3): 333-343, 2006

The ants of northern Australia: a guide to the monsoonal fauna. Unknown, 2000

Methods and approaches to support indigenous water planning; an example from the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory, Australia. Journal of Hydrology 474, 2012

Endemism in tasmanian australia cool temperate rainforest alternative hypotheses. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 95(2): 113-124, 1987

Conservation value of low fire frequency in tropical savannas: Ants in monsoonal northern Australia. Australian Journal of Ecology 36(5): 497-503, 2011

Ants on a mountain spatial, environmental and habitat associations along an altitudinal transect in a centre of endemism. Journal of Insect Conservation 16(5): 677-695, 2012