Long time without posting and many things to report…
May 10, 2010, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Database additions, Maps explanations

Long time without posting and many things to report.

As some of you might now, I spent the beginning of this year in Costa Rica and did a little excursion in Panama. Of course, I took a lot of pictures of ants and other invertebrates, plants, amphibians, lizards … but about 3 weeks ago my computer feel on the ground and since then I have not been able to get my pictures back, at least most of them (hard drive broken). I still have about 250 pictures left, but some series are entirely gone unfortunately.

Now that I started with the bad news, I can continue with the good news. Of course that trip was fantastic and the return was of course a little bit sad. Sometimes, you feel good somewhere and would like to stay longer, much longer…

During my trip at Barro Colorado Island (BCI), I had the chance to meet David Donoso, PhD student in Mike Kaspari’s laboratory. Of course, we talk about ants and David‘s work on BCI, where he is interested by the effect of specific tree presence on the structure of leaf litter ants. David is also interested to develop the knowledge and the taxonomy of ants from Ecuador, where David comes from, and at this effect, he orientates me to some of his work (published in a French journal!).

David also works on a revision of the very interesting genus Tatuidris (pictures on Antweb). It was the first time that I had the chance to see this beautiful ant under a microscope and they are totally amazing! David provided me some records that I did not know about Tatuidris, and so the new map is now updated!

Let’s continue with the new additions of the database, and let me thanks Dr. Mostafa Sharaf from Riyadh who provides me some of his articles and new discoveries about the ants of Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.  Among the main additions, notice the presence of Carebara and Solenopsis in Saudi Arabia; the potential presence of Leptanilla in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and the removal of Lasius from Egypt (probably a misidentification).

Also, note that in the last paper of Omid Paknia and collaborators published a new article on the ants of Iran in Asian Myrmecology. They provide new generic records for DolichoderusMyrmecina, Proformica, Pyramica, Stenamma and Strongylognathus, as well as a total of 32 new species records.

Here is an overview of the new records:

What have changed since the last major update (12th Decembre 2009):

–          59 new records representing 43 genera

–          10 new interpolations for 6 genera

–          6 records of genera that have been introduced in a region

–          5 records removed (misidentification in the original paper) for 2 genera (Lasius and Dicroaspis)

Note that the change of Paratrechina into Nylanderia, Paraparatrechina and Paratrechina is not yet effective on the maps.

Finally I would like to thank those of you who read this blog and communicate with me to improve the maps. It is always a pleasure, thank you!

Maps update-2
December 12, 2009, 1:30 pm
Filed under: Database additions, Maps explanations

Despite the busy schedule of the past two months (see previous post), I have been able to find some new records and filled a few gaps. Here is a summary of the new modifications realized on the maps (and so in the database):

A total of 86 new records (green), 9 interpolations (blue), 2 exotic presence  (orange) and one removal have been included.

Most of the new records are scattered around the globe, and for their majority turned out to be confirmation of our interpolations (blue on the maps). Two regions in particular have been improved. Tthe first one is Acre in Brazil  (+32 new records; + 1 exotic) which has been covered those past years by Dr. Marco Antonio de Oliveira during his PhD.

The second main addition is for Pennsylvania (USA) which curiously despite his big size and large human population did not seemed to have been covered by myrmecologists pretty well in the past. Antweb now offers a list of ants for this state compiled by W. Barkley Butler (+7 new generic records).

A revision of the oriental Anillomyrma in the online earlier of Myrmecological News by Katsuyuki Eguchi, Tuan Viet Bui, David M. General, and Gary D. Alpert provides a new record for the Philippines, and the removal of this genus from Madagascar. Some incertitudes about the potential presence of this genus in Africa remains with a potential record from Tanzania by Dr. Hamish Robertson. However the authors could not have confirmation from Dr. Robertson (and neither do I). If anyone has some information about it, please let me know.

Finally, an interesting new record of the Neotropical genus Gracilidris has been brought to me by Alex Wild (see his excellent blog Myrmecos). A new record is available on Antweb for Colombia. This record represents the western and northern record for the genus and is disjunct with the rest of the range distribution which could be qualified as east-central South America.

I also want to thank Dr. Martin Bollazzi for some of the new records he provides me for Uruguay.

If some of you, dear readers has new data, as always, do not hesitate to contact me. Everybody will benefit from new additions and accurate maps.

Exotic ant genera
October 12, 2009, 11:28 am
Filed under: Maps explanations | Tags:

When I started monitoring the generic distribution of ants I had two goals: 1) obtain an idea of the generic richness and assemblage by regions, and 2) obtain a distribution map as accurate as possible for each extant genus. Well, very quickly I have been confronted to a major problem in those two goals with the presence of exotic genera around the globe. Humans have been extremely successful (not necessarily a good thing) in dispersing exotic species all around the planet; and this is a now a problem when we try to understand patterns of diversity if we don’t discriminate between native and exotic taxa.

So beside the generic database, I have created a second one for the exotic species. Some good reviews have been made in the past on the frequency of ant introductions (McGlynn 1999, Suarez et al. 2005, Ward et al. 2006), on exotic species of specific locations (take a list of ants in Hawaii that are all introduced, list for Florida, Netherland,…), or on specific species (Wetterer 2007, 2008, Wetterer et al. 2009, …). However, there is still a few cases where boundaries, native regions are not clearly identified (e.g. Tapinoma melanocephalum, see Wetterer 2009). To add to the confusion, some exotic species or some tramp species have been described from their introduced range prior to be identified in their native range.

My goal, as I said was to identify the native range of genera and not to make a catalog of all the introduced regions for a given taxa (even if I expect to reach such result in the future). So the generic map have to be handle with precaution concerning the exotic genera. Here is in a few point what information is irrelevant and which one is not.

– If you look for all the locations where a genus has been introduced, those maps will provide part of information but the referencing in this case was not exhaustive.

– The maps are at the generic level, so the presence of native species in a region (in green) will eclipse the potential presence of an exotic genus (in orange). For example, you can notice that no regions of the South East USA are in orange, where Solenopsis invicta has been introduced because native species such as Solenopsis molesta are found in the same regions.

Distribution of the Solenopsis genus

Distribution of the Solenopsis genus

– At the opposite, in a few case, the genus might be present, but not found yet (or I should say that I did not find a record for it), but an exotic species have been found. So the region is in orange, but could also be in blue.

I hope that this post will clarify the extant to which the exotic genera can be perceived in the distribution maps, and as I update the maps regularly, the gaps for exotic presence should be filled progressively.

Opening of Ant Genera of the World
October 1, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Database additions, Maps explanations | Tags:

Well, here is the first post of Ant Genera of the World’ blog edition. This blog is related to the website: http://www.antmacroecology.org/ant_genera/index.html

On Ant Genera of the World, the website, we present our maps of distribution of the 297 extant genera of ants. On this blog, I will present the new updates made on the maps, the new genera added (5 new genera have been described since we launch the website last April, pretty impressive!), the acknowledgments to contributors and to all the people that have play a major role in this project (I can start now with a first thank you), and any other topics related to our knowledge on ants distribution.

Since we started the website, the 5th May 2009, we have received a lot of supportive messages and many people have expressed their interests for such maps. Well, this is to me the best reward to know that this work has been and will be helpful to the myrmecologist community.

Before to start will the different posts, I would like to give some special acknowledgments for those of you who have helped to add data, to correct some mistakes, or who provided me with literature.  Thank you so much for your contribution.