Community structure of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a series of habitats associated with citrus.

Published online
30 Mar 1984
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Samways, M. J.

Publication language
Africa South of Sahara & South Africa


A transect of 44 pitfall traps passing through 11 point habitats associated with citrus in South Africa captured 10 488 individuals comprising 23 genera and 49 species. The dominant species accounted for as much as 95.7% of individuals in the young orchard and as little as 17.6% in sparse grassland. Overall, Pheidole was the dominant genus. In all but one habitat, one or other Pheidole species dominated. In grassland, but not so much in the orchards, there was a 2-dimensional mosaic distribution of ants. At the nominal level, most habitats shared the majority of species. The results suggested that habitat modification would be unsuitable as a primary method of ant management. Instead, trunk banding, which cuts off the ants' nests from the honeydew source in the tree, is an ecologically more appropriate method of management.

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