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Island Biogeography of Ants
Edward L. Goldstein
Vol. 29, No. 4 (Dec., 1975), pp. 750-762
Published by: Society for the Study of Evolution
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2407082
Page Count: 13
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A survey of ants was conducted on a small chain of coastal islands and in nearby mainland areas in New Haven County, Connecticut in 1971 and 1972. Ecological data collected with each ant colony in 1972 show that the diversity of exposure to the sun of habitats occupied by ants is the best predictor of the number of species in study areas up to 4 ha in extent. The total area of the study area is a relatively poor predictor of the number of species a site will contain. The plant area of the study areas is a far better predictor of species number, although not as good as the diversity of exposure of habitats. Thus a habitat characteristic which has been identified as crucial to ant species distributions-the temperature regime associated with a given range of shadiness-is of predictive value in explaining the speciesarea relationship for ants. The hypothesis that species absent on the islands are missing due to problems of overwater dispersal (isolation-by-distance) is rejected based on collections of alate ants from the most isolated island, and on other nuptial flight observations. The six smallest islands which contained one to three species of ants and were judged to be marginal ant habitats, were comprehensively surveyed in 1971 and 1972. These were found to have the very high average species turnover rate of 33% in one year suggesting that the earlier judgement that these are marginal ant habitats is correct.
Evolution © 1975 Society for the Study of Evolution