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Asian Myrmecology, Volume 4, Distribution

The Formicidae of Borneo (Insecta: Hymenoptera): a preliminary species list

Martin Pfeiffer 1,2, Dirk Mezger 2, Shingo Hosoishi 3, Bakhtiar Effendi Yahya 4 and Rudolf J. Kohout 5

1 Department of Ecology, School of Biology and Biotechnology, National University of Mongolia, Baga toiruu 47, Ulaanbaatar 210646, Mongolia
2 Institute for Experimental Ecology, University of Ulm, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, 89081 Ulm, Germany
3 Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, 812-8581 Japan
4 Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Jalan UMS, 88400 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
5 Biodiversity Program, Queensland Museum, PO Box 3300, South Brisbane, Qld, 4101, Australia

Abstract: More than ninety years after Wheeler’s 1919 “Ants of Borneo,” we present a comprehensive list of the Bornean ant fauna, recorded in the states of Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak (Malaysia), and Kalimantan (Indonesia). Our critical review of ant literature resulted in a catalogue of 97 ant genera with 717 valid species and 52 additional subspecies of ants from 12 subfamilies, including eight genera for which, up to now, only morphospecies have been recorded in Borneo. The subfamilies Myrmicinae (315) and Formicinae (213) comprised the most species; the most speciose genera were Polyrhachis (98) and Strumigenys (71), followed by Pheidole, Camponotus and Crematogaster. However, half of the Bornean ant genera included only one or two species, for example, the endemic monotypic genera Anomalomyrma, Bregmatomyrma, Ishakidris, Loweriella, Secostruma and Tetheamyrma. Ant taxonomic research in Borneo dates back to the nineteen century and has resulted in 418 type descriptions, of which 390 are currently valid. Since many habitats of Borneo have still not been effectively sampled, the actual number of Bornean ant species may be much higher; we estimate that at least 1,100 species are to be expected. As destruction of natural habitat on Borneo is accelerating, great conservation efforts must urgently be made if current ant diversity is to be saved.

Keywords:ants, biodiversity, conservation, checklist, endemism, faunistic similarity, Indonesia, Malaysia, species classification, taxonomic history

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