Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (11): 23168.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2023168

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Ant species diversity along the vertical zones of the east slope of Ailao Mountain National Nature Reserve, Yunnan Province

Mengqiao Zhao1,2, You Chen3, Zhenghui Xu1,*(), Xubo Wang1, Zhongliang Zhao1, Wenchuan Xu1, Zonghui He1, Wenhua Wang1   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Forest Disaster Warning and Control in Yunnan Province, College of Biodiversity Conservation, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224
    2 Xianyang Institute of Surveying and Mapping, Xianyang, Shaanxi 712000
    3 Chongqing City Management College, Chongqing 401331
  • Received:2023-05-25 Accepted:2023-08-24 Online:2023-11-20 Published:2023-12-09
  • Contact: * E-mail:


Aims: Ailao Mountain is located at the intersection of three major geographical regions, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Hengduan Mountains and Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. This study aims to explore the diversity of ant communities that reside within this distinctive region and to understand how variations in ant community structure and diversity are influenced by climate difference arising from altitude.

Methods: To address these aims, we surveyed ant species diversity along the elevational gradients on the east slope of Ailao Mountain National Nature Reserve by using transect and plot sampling and diversity index methods.

Results: In total, 150 species from 47 genera and 7 subfamilies of Formicidae were identified. Lasius himalayanus emerged as the dominant species in the ant community, accompanied by two common species, 20 relatively common species, 55 relatively rare species and 72 rare species. The rare species constituted 48% of the total species surveyed. The sequence of Shannon-Wiener diversity index of ant communities across the four vertical zones on the east slope are as follows: middle-south zone > north zone > middle-north zone > south zone.

Conclusion Ant species numbers, diversity indexes, and individual densities are significantly negatively correlated with altitude, implying these indexes are mainly controlled by altitude and air temperature. Concurrently, the main indexes were found to frequently express multi-domain effect phenomenon and occasionally exhibit mid-domain effect phenomenon, indicating that ant species assemblies have adapted to the various climate types from different altitudes on the slope. Moreover, human activity and the dry-hot valley climate have disrupted the ant communities, and the ant species richness on the east slope of Ailao Mountain National Nature Reserve was lower than the west slope due to humidity. According to similarity coefficients, ant communities residing in different habitats of the nature reserve were significantly differentiated and possess various ecological functions and protection value.

Key words: Formicidae, community, biodiversity, nature reserve, vertical zone