Asian Myrmecology, Volume 4, pages 89-98
Influence of the arrival of Anoplolepis gracilipes (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on the composition
of an ant community in a clearing in Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia
DIRK MEZGER* & MARTIN PFEIFFER
Institute of Experimental Ecology, University of Ulm, Germany
© D. Mezger & M. Pfeiffer
Abstract: The yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes is a common and important invasive ant species in all parts of tropical Asia, including Borneo. We studied the impact of this ant species on the chronological development of an ant community in an artificial clearing at the edge of the alluvial forest in the Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia, in the years 2006 to 2009. We used 20 pitfall traps each year to monitor the ant community, in which we found 42 species altogether and 19–23 species in a given year. After the arrival of A. gracilipes in 2007 ant community structure changed and diversity (effective number of species and Simpson-diversity) declined, even before species richness itself went down. Ecologically-similar species to A. gracilipes, like Dolichoderus affinis, were the first species that disappeared. Abiotic factors like the occurrence of irregular flooding events may also have influenced community composition in this clearing. This factor may impact invasive species more heavily than native species, which may be better adapted to these conditions.
Keywords: Anoplolepis gracilipes, invasive species, community structure, edge habitat, inundation, Borneo