Efficiency of sampling methods for capturing soil-dwelling ants in three landscapes in southern Cameroon
Keywords:sampling techniques, ants, epigaeic, hypogaeic, land management, Cameroon
Soil-dwelling ants are the most diverse and abundant groups of animals in most terrestrial ecosystems. However, reliable techniques for assessing the abundance and diversity of ant communities with respect to land management remain poorly studied. The present study aimed to evaluate the efficiency of three trapping procedures (Pitfall trapping, quadrat sampling and baiting) in three habitats (urban, upland and littoral). A total of 169,934 ant workers belonging to 7 sub-families, 51 genera and 198 species were recorded in the three habitats. High species richness and abundance were recorded in upland habitats, compared to urban and littoral habitats. Similarly, contribution diversity approach based on species richness and Simpson’s index was high in upland habitats and low in littoral and urban habitats. Quadrat sampling was more efficient and reliable technique (138 species) than pitfall trapping (133 species) and baiting (126 species). Ant pitfall trapping was less efficient in urban and littoral habitats, but significantly effective in upland habitats. All techniques recorded more predominantly epigaeically foraging species than hypogaeically species. Ant community composition significantly varied among habitats, but no between sampling methods. These results highlight the influence of habitat traits on ant trapping success and indicate that sampling techniques used seem to be more suitable to sample a specific stratum, particularly the epigaeic ant fauna. Additional methods are therefore needed to increase the likelihood of recording hidden ant fauna and obtaining an adequate impression of the local ant fauna.
Key words: sampling techniques, ants, epigaeic, hypogaeic, land management, Camer
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