Conservation value of road verges in the semi-arid Karoo, South Africa: ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) as bio-indicators
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 8, Number 12, December 1999 , pp. 1683-1695(13)
Abstract:Ground-foraging ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) were used to assess the conservation value of road verges in a semi-arid region around Prince Albert, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Ant communities were sampled using pitfall traps on 50 sites along two roads. Four transects were sampled at each site, two in the road verge and two in adjacent rangeland. A total of 43,298 individual ants of 34 species were caught, with 31 and 32 species in the road verge and adjacent rangeland respectively, but on average road verges were the more species-rich. Road verges also contained relatively more rare species (i.e. those species that occurred in <10% of the traps. Ant species richness appeared to be influenced by food availability. Although ants appeared to be negatively impacted by higher grazing intensities in the rangeland, there was no difference in species richness between fenced and unfenced road verges. Species in the road verge may benefit directly from road kills, and indirectly from lower grazing pressure on plants, increased surface run-off and differences in soil surface temperatures. No alien ant species were observed or captured at any of the sites.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: 1: Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa; Present address: Zoology Department, University of Venda, P/Bag X5050, Thohoyandu, Venda, South Africa 2: Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa 3: Life Sciences Division, South African Museum, P.O. Box 61, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa
Publication date: 1999-12-01