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Type: Article
Published: 2021-01-28
Page range: 1–14
Abstract views: 207
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Effect of anthropogenic modifications on homogenization of ant community composition along elevational gradients in Cameroon

Département de Biologie et Physiologie Animales, Faculté des Sciences, Université de Yaoundé 1, BP : 812 Yaoundé, Cameroon
Département de Biologie et Physiologie Animales, Faculté des Sciences, Université de Yaoundé 1, BP : 812 Yaoundé, Cameroon
Département de Biologie et Physiologie Animales, Faculté des Sciences, Université de Yaoundé 1, BP : 812 Yaoundé, Cameroon
Département de Biologie et Physiologie Animales, Faculté des Sciences, Université de Yaoundé 1, BP : 812 Yaoundé, Cameroon
ant communities disturbance similarity mountain Cameroon


Anthropogenic modifications are recognized as one of the main factor threatening native fauna diversity and may lead to biotic homogenization. This ecological process has been described for some groups of organisms, but little is known in ants. In this study, we investigated the relationship between diversity, similarity and level of disturbance among ant communities in two mountain types (disturbed and less disturbed) from November 2017 to April 2019. Ants were sampled in four elevational levels (800 m, 900 m, 1000 m and 1,100m) using pitfall trapping and hand collection. Overall, 138 species corresponding to 2,445 occurrences were found in the two habitat types. In disturbed sites, ant species richness and occurrence were more than seven-fold higher in disturbed sites (131 species and 2,354 occurrences) than in less disturbed sites (19 and 91, respectively). Myrmicinae and Ponerinae were the most common subfamilies in disturbed and less disturbed sites respectively. The generalist ant Anoplolepis tenella was the most frequent ant species in disturbed sites whereas the specialist predator Paltothyreus tarsatus was the most common in less disturbed sites. Consistent with previous studies, this study demonstrates an increase in species richness and occurrence of generalist species with an increase in human disturbance. Likewise, our findings indicate that human disturbance is driving declines of dissimilarity among ant community thereby affecting the biological differences in ant communities. This study has implications for the management of montane forests and restriction of anthropogenic activities in these vulnerable tropical ecosystems.


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