Ant communities are well suited for monitoring changes in ecosystems. Although numerous studies have examined the responses of ant communities to environmental disturbance, relatively few long-term studies on ant communities have been undertaken in urban environments. We examined species richness in nine urban parks in Hiroshima, Japan, and compared the survey results with data collected at the same sites by using the same methods in 1999. In both surveys, total of 25 species was recorded: 23 species in 1999 and 20 species in 2012. Non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis revealed that the ant communities consisted of two distinct groups, which could in turn be characterized by three patterns of ant community changes in between the two groups. The first of these community change patterns was characterized by a shift within group 1, but the number of species remained constant (approx. 10 species). The second pattern was characterized by a shift within group 2, but the number of species remained low (approx. 4 species). The third pattern was characterized by a shift from group 1 to group 2 as the abundance of Linepithema humile (Mayr) increased over time. Unlike the first and second patterns, the number of ant species in communities of the third type decreased significantly. These findings suggest that L. humile has a marked effect on the species diversity of indigenous ant communities in urban environments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics