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The mounds built by Lasius flavus F. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) reflect the history and age of the grasslands in which they occur. An index based on ant-hill size was sucessfully used to estimate the dates at which thirteen chalk grasslands in Wiltshire, England, were last ploughed. The mean volumes of the five largest and-hills out of a thousand increased linearly with the actual age of the grassland, in fields last ploughed 54-164 years ago. Other evidence which supports the hypothesis that large ant-hills only occur in old grasslands is discussed.
Journal of Biogeography © 1981 Wiley