Ants of the Panga Ecological Station, a Cerrado Reserve in Central Brazil

Gabriela Procópio Camacho, Heraldo Luis Vasconcelos


Species lists are an invaluable tool for a more comprehensive analysis of diversity patterns. Such lists, when derived from a comprehensive sampling effort, can indicate the presence of rare, threatened, or ecologically important species. This study aimed to generate a species list of the ants of the Panga Ecological Station, a protected Cerrado reserve in southeastern Brazil. This list was generated through taxonomic identification or through unification of the morphospecies codes of all specimens collected at the reserve in ten different studies since 2003. Information about the types of habitat and strata of occurrence of each species or morphospecies was also compiled. The data presented here represents one of the most intensive ant inventories conducted in the Brazilian Cerrado. We recorded 277 ant species belonging to 58 genera and nine subfamilies. This number is 1.63 to 3.69 times higher than the number of species recorded in other Cerrado localities surveyed so far. More species were collected in the savanna (249 species) than in the forest habitats (108 species), and more species were collected on ground (226 species) than in arboreal vegetation (117 species). Taxonomic identification was possible for 171 of the 277 species collected. Three of the named species are recorded for the first time in Brazil. Among the 106 unidentified species, at least six of them represent new, undescribed species. Together, these results highlight the conservation potential of this Cerrado reserve.


ant inventories; ant diversity; Formicidae; species distribution; Neotropical savannas

Full Text:



Alonso, L. E. & Agosti, D. (2000). Biodiversity studies, monitoring, and ants: an overview. In D. Agosti, J. D. Majer, L. E. Alonso & T. R. Schultz (Eds.), Ants standart methods for measuring and monitoring biodiversity (pp. 1 - 8). Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Andersen, A. N. & Majer, J. D. (2004). Ants show the way Down Under: invertebrates as bioindicators in land management. Front. Ecol. Environ. 2: 291-298. doi: 10.1890/1540-9295.

Andersen A. N., Parr C. L., Lowe L. M. & Müller W. J. (2007). Contrasting fire-related resilience of ecologically dominant ants in tropical savannas of northern Australia. Diversity Distr. 13: 438-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2007.00353.x.

Andersen, A. N., van Ingen, L.T. & Campos, R.I. (2008). Contrasting rainforest and savanna ant faunas in monsoonal northern Australia: a rainforest patch in a tropical savanna landscape. Aust. J. Zool. 55: 363-369. doi: 10.1071/ZO07066.

AntWiki. (2014). (Date accessed: 20 December, 2014).

Bolton, B. (2014). An online catalog of the ants of the world. (Date accessed: 20 December, 2014).

Bruhl, C. A., Gunsalam, G. & Linsenmair, K.E. (1998). Stratification of ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in a primary rain forest in Sabah, Borneo. J. Trop. Ecol. 14: 285-297.

Calcaterra, L. A., Cuezzo, F. Cabrera, S.M. & Briano, J.A. (2010). Ground Ant Diversity (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Ibera Nature Reserve, the Largest Wetland of Argentina. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 103: 71-83. doi: 10.1603/008.103.0110.

Camarota, F.C., Powell, S., Vasconcelos, H.L., Priest, G. & Marquis, R. J. (2015). Extrafloral nectaries have a limited effect on the structure of arboreal ant communities in a Neotropical savana. Ecology 96: 231-240. doi: 10.1890/14-0264.1

Campos, R. I., Lopes, C.T., Magalhaes, W.C.S. & Vasconcelos, H.L. (2008). Vertical stratification of ants in savanna vegetation in the Serra de Caldas Novas State Park, Goias, Brazil. Iheringia Ser. Zool. 98: 311-316. doi: 10.1590/S0073-47212008000300004.

Campos R. I., Vasconcelos H. L., Andersen A., Frizzo T. L. M. & Spena K. C. (2011). Multi-scale ant diversity in savanna woodlands: an intercontinental comparison. Austral Ecol. 36: 983-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2011.02255.x.

Cardoso, E., Moreno, M.I.C., Bruna, E.M. & Vasconcelos, H.L. (2009). Mudanças fitofisionômicas no Cerrado: 18 anos de sucessão ecológica na Estação Ecológica do Panga, Uberlândia - MG. Caminhos de Geografia 10: 254-268.

Colwell, R.K., Chao, A., Gotelli, N.J., Lin, S.Y., Mao, C.X., Chazdon, R.L., Longino, J.T.(2012). Models and estimators linking individual-based and sample-based rarefaction, extrapolation and comparison of assemblages. J Plant Ecol 5: 3 – 21.

Deyrup M. & Trager J. (1986). Ants of the Archbold Biological Station, Highlands County, Florida (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Fla. Entomol. 69: 206-28.

Fernández, F. & Sendoya, S. (2004). Synonimic list of Neotropical ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Número monográfico: Lista sinonímica de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colomb. 5(1): 3-105.

Fisher, B. L. (2010). Biogeography. In L. Lach, C. L. Parr & K. L. Abbott (Eds.). Ant Ecology (pp. 402). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fittkau, E. J. & Klinge, H. (1973). On biomass and trophic structure of the Central Amazonian rain forest ecosystem. Biotropica, 5: 2-14.

Hudson, T. M., Turner, B.L, Herz, H. & Robinson, J.S. (2009). Temporal patterns of nutrient availability around nests of leaf-cutting ants (Atta colombica) in secondary moist tropical forest. Soil Biol. Biochem. 41: 1088-1093. doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2009.02.014.

Klingenberg C. & Brandão C. R. F. (2009). Revision of the fungus-growing ant genera Mycetophylax Emery and Paramycetophylax Kusnezov rev. stat., and description of Kalathomyrmex n. gen. (Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Attini). Zootaxa 2052: 1-31.

Klink, C. A. & Machado, R.B. (2005). Conservation of the Brazilian Cerrado. Conserv. Biol. 19: 707-713.

Koch, E. B.A. (2014). Variações ontogenéticas na estrutura de comunidades de formigas e na interação entre formigas e planta em Caryocar brasiliense. Master´s Dissertation. Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Uberlândia.

Lee, K. E. & Foster, R.C. (1991). Soil fauna and soil structure. Aust. J. Soil Res. 29: 745-775.

Longino, J. T., Coddington, J. & Colwell, R.K. (2002). The ant fauna of a tropical rain forest: Estimating species richness three different ways. Ecology 83: 689-702. doi: 10.1890/0012-9658(2002)083[0689:TAFOAT]2.0.CO;2.

Longino, J. T. (2003). The Crematogaster (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae) of Costa Rica. Zootaxa 151: 1-150.

Longino, J. T. & Colwell, R.K. (1997). Biodiversity assessment using structured inventory: capturing the ant fauna of a tropical rain forest. Ecol. Appl. 7: 1263- 1277. doi: 10.1890/1051-0761(1997)007[1263:BAUSIC]2.0.CO;2 .

Lopes, C. T. & Vasconcelos, H.L. (2008). Evaluation of three methods for sampling ground-dwelling ants in the Brazilian cerrado. Neotrop. Entomol. 37: 399-405. doi: 10.1590/S1519-566X2008000400007.

Lopes, C.T. & Vasconcelos, H.L. (2011). Fire increases insect herbivory in a Neotropical Savanna. Biotropica 43(5): 612-618. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2011.00757.x.

MacKay W. P. & MacKay E. (2010). The systematics and biology of the New World ants of the genus Pachycondyla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). New York: Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston.

Mayhé-Nunes A. J. & Brandão C. R. F. (2006). Revisionary notes on the fungus-growing ant genus Mycetarotes Emery (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entom. 50(4): 463-72.

Myers, N., Mittermeier, R.A., Mittermeier, G.G., da Fonseca, G.A.B. & Kent, J. (2000). Biodiversity Hotspots for Conservation Priorities 403: 853-858.

Ness, J., Mooney, K. & Lach, L. (2010). Ants as Mutualists. In L. Lach, C. L. Parr & K. L. Abbott (Eds.). Ant Ecology (p. 402). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ouellette G. D., Drummond F. A., Choate B. & Groden E. (2010). Ant diversity and distribution in Acadia National Park, Maine. Environ. Entomol. 39: 1447-56. doi: 10.1603/EN09306.

Pacheco R. & Vasconcelos H. L. (2007). Invertebrate conservation in urban areas: Ants in the Brazilian Cerrado. Landscape Urban Plan. 81: 193-9. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2006.11.004.

Pacheco R. & Vasconcelos H. L. (2012). Habitat diversity enhances ant diversity in a naturally heterogeneous Brazilian landscape. Biodivers. Conserv. 21(3): 797-809. doi: 10.1007%2Fs10531-011-0221-y.

Parr C. L. & Chown S. L. (2001). Inventory and bioindicator sampling: Testing pitfall and Winkler methods with ants in a South African savanna. J. Insect Conservat. 5: 27-36. doi: 10.1023/A:1011311418962.

Parr C. L., Robertson H. G., Biggs H. C. & Chown S. L. (2004). Response of African savanna ants to long-term fire regimes. J. Appl. Ecol. 41: 630-42. doi: 10.1111/j.0021-8901.2004.00920.x.

Philpott, S. M. & Armbrecht, I. (2006). Biodiversity in tropical agroforests and the ecological role of ants and ant diversity in predatory function. Ecol. Entomol. 31: 369-377. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2311.2006.00793.x.

Powell, S., Costa, A.N., Lopes, C.T. & Vasconcelos, H.L. (2011). Canopy connectivity and the availability of diverse nesting resources affect species coexistence in arboreal ants. J Anim. Ecol. 80: 352-360. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2010.01779.x.

Powell, S., Del-Claro, K., Feitosa, R.M. & Brandão, C.R.F. (2014). Mimicry and eavesdropping enable a new form of social parasitism in ants. Am Nat 184: 500-509. doi: 10.1086/677927.

Ratter, J. A., Ribeiro, J.F. & Bridgewater, S. (1997). The Brazilian Cerrado vegetation and threats to its biodiversity. Ann. Bot. 80: 223-230.

Silva R. R. d., Brandão C. R. F. & Silvestre R. (2004). Similarity between cerrado localities in central and southeastern Brazil based on the dry season bait visitors ant fauna. Stud. Neotrop. Fauna E. 39: 191-9. doi: 10.1080/01650520412331271783.

Silvestre R., Brandão C. R. F. & Rosa da Silva R. (2004). Grupos funcionales de hormigas: el caso de los gremios del cerrado. In: F.C. Fernández (Eds.) Introducción a las hormigas de la región neotropical (pp. 113-48). Bogotá: Instituto Humboldt. 424 p.

Sithole H., Smit I. P. J. & Parr C. L. (2010). Preliminary investigations into a potential ant invader in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Afr. J. Ecol. 48: 736-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2028.2009.01171.x.

Talbot M. (1975). A list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Edwin S. George Reserve, Livingston County, Michigan. Great Lakes Entomol. 8: 245-6.

Van Pelt A. F. (1956) The ecology of the ants of the Welaka Reserve, Florida (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Am. Midl. Nat. 56: 358-87.

Vasconcelos, H. L. & J. M. S. Vilhena. (2006). Species turnover and vertical partitioning of ant assemblages in the Brazilian Amazon: A comparison of forests and savannas. Biotropica 38: 100-106. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2006.00113.x.

Vasconcelos, H. L., Araújo, B.B. & Mayhé-Nunes, A.J. (2008). Patterns of diversity and abundance of fungus-growing ants (Formicidae: Attini) in areas of the Brazilian Cerrado. Rev. Brasil. Zool. 25(3): 445-450. doi: 10.1590/S0101-81752008000300009.

Vasconcelos, H. L., Pacheco, R., Silva, R.C., Vasconcelos, P.B., Lopes, C.T., Costa, A.N. & Bruna, E.M. (2009). Dynamics of the leaf-litter arthropod fauna following fire in a Neotropical woodland savanna. PLoS One 4(11): e7762. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007762.

Wild, A. L. (2005). Taxonomic revision of the Pachycondyla apicalis species complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 834: 1-25.

Wilkie, K. T. R., Mertl, A.L. & Traniello, J.F.A. (2010). Species diversity and distribution patterns of the ants of Amazonian Ecuador. PLoS One 5(10): e13146. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013146.

Wilson, E. O. (2003). Pheidole in the New World: a dominant, hyperdiverse genus. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 794 p.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

JCR Impact Factor 2018: 0.504