Impact of Argentine ant on the native ant community in fynbos: spatial distribution and bait station dynamics
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This study examines the impact of the invasive Argentine ant on the spatial distribution of the native ant community in fynbos plots in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Both the fine scale distribution and temporal bait colonisation patterns were examined. Two invaded and two uninvaded 50x50 m plots of 50 tuna-baited traps were used to sample the ant fauna (baits left out for between 5 min to 1 h). Results show that where the Argentine ant is present, species richness of native ants is significantly reduced. It also found that with the presence of this invader there are areas which are depleted of ants and two hypotheses are suggested to explain this. It also considers temporal dynamics at bait stations. Native ants shared a bait station with the Argentine ant on only two occasions, and in these cases there were very few Argentine ant individuals present. This study shows that the Argentine ant has a significant effect not only on native ant richness, but also on the distribution and abundance of individual ants at a fine scale.