Date of this Version
The Prairie Naturalist 44:1 (June 2012), pp. 17-29.
We documented distribution and diversity of ant genera in four of the six level III ecoregions across Nebraska. We sampled ants using bait cards, pitfall traps, and by opportunistic sampling, including direct collection and in carrion-baited pitfall traps. We identified 22 genera from five subfamilies, which were further classified into six functional groups. In common with other Great Plains states, Formica Linnaeus and Lasius Fabricius occurred most frequently in our samples, and overall ant genus-level richness was comparable to surrounding states. We compared genera similarity using Jaccard’s similarity index within and between the High Plains (western-most) and Western Corn Belt Plains (eastern-most) ecoregions. We found higher mean similarity index values within the ecoregions than between the two ecoregions. Comparisons of ant genera and functional groups indicate similar patterns in estimating diversity and identifying assemblage differences across habitats. Taxonomic sufficiency is less when using functional group rather than ant genus because identification to subgenus is needed for some functional group designations. Our study provides baseline information useful for developing protocols for monitoring or assessing habitat changes and contributes the first list of ant genera across the state of Nebraska.