Ant diversity on the largest Mediterranean islands: on the presence or absence of 28 species in Sicily (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

Abstract

The ant fauna of Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean basin, has been significantly overlooked over the time. Drafting a reliable Sicilian ant checklist requires extensive field surveys, a careful review of the literature and of museum specimens, as well as the taxonomic investigation of some problematic issues. As a part of these ongoing efforts, we present our results on the presence or absence of 25 species. By analyzing specimens collected during the last 35 years across the island and reviewing old records in the light of present-day taxonomy, we provide evidence of the presence of 9 species (Camponotus ruber, Lasius myops, L. platythorax, Plagiolepis schmitzii, Ponera testacea, Solenopsis orbula, Temnothorax clypeatus, T. nylanderi, and T. ravouxi), while suggesting the absence of 19 others (Camponotus ligniperda, C. sicheli, C. spissinodis, Formica lugubris, Lasius alienus, L. flavus, L. niger, L. paralienus, Messor minor, M. wasmanni, Monomorium monomorium, Myrmica scabrinodis, M. spinosior, Nylanderia sp. 2 sensu Schifani & Alicata 2018, Solenopsis fugax, Temnothorax luteus, T. tuberum, Tetramorium caespitum, and T. indocile). Similar studies are necessary across Italy, as a significant portion of the existing ant records is outdated due to the evolved taxonomic framework.

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Published
2021-05-28
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Keywords:
myrmecofauna, Italy, biogeography, species distribution.
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How to Cite
Schifani, E., Csősz, S., Viviano, R., & Alicata, A. (2021). Ant diversity on the largest Mediterranean islands: on the presence or absence of 28 species in Sicily (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Natural History Sciences, 8(1), 55-70. https://doi.org/10.4081/nhs.2021.532