›› 2017, Vol. 60 ›› Issue (10): 1226-1234.doi: 10.16380/j.kcxb.2017.10.013

• RESEARCH PAPERS • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Changes in the functional diversity of ground-dwelling ants during land use change

LU Zhi-Xing, CHEN You-Qing*   

  1. (Research Institute of Resources Insects, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Kunming 650224, China)
  • Online:2017-10-20 Published:2017-10-20

Abstract: 【Aim】 To reveal the protection roles of artificial plantations for ecosystem function. 【Methods】 The ground-dwelling ants were investigated in plots of seven habitats, i.e., secondary natural forest, eucalyptus plantation, rubber plantation, lac insect plantation, lac insectcorn agroforest, corn dryland and farmland, by pitfall traps in Lüchun County, Yunnan Province. Head length, head width, Weber’s length and femur length of hind leg of 82 ant species were measured. Differences in functional richness, functional evenness and functional divergence were compared among different habitats. 【Results】 There were significant differences of ant functional richness FRic among different habitats (rainy season: F=4.475, P=0.002; dry season: F=7.717, P<0.001). Secondary natural forest, eucalyptus plantation and rubber plantation during the rainy season and lac insect plantation and lac insect-corn agroforest during the dry season had higher levels of ant functional richness, and farmland had the lowest ant functional richness. There were no significant differences in ant functional evenness FEve among different habitats (rainy season: F=2.106, P=0.078; dry season: F=2.093, P=0.079). There were significant differences in ant functional divergence FDiv among different habitats (rainy season: F=2.577, P=0.036; dry season: F=3.969, P=0.004). Rubber plantation had the highest ant functional divergence during both rainy and dry seasons, while secondary natural forest and farmland had the lower ant functional divergence. Functional richness of ground-dwelling ants were significantly correlated with ant species richness (rainy season: Pearson=0.461, P=0.002; dry season: Pearson=0.854, P<0.001; liner model: rainy season: F=10.533, P=0.002; dry season: F=107.387, P<0.001). Functional evenness and functional divergence of ground-dwelling ants were not significantly correlated with ant species richness. In rainy season, ant functional richness increased with increasing of leaf-litter thickness. In dry season, ant functional richness decreased with increasing of bare ground coverage, and first decreased then increased with increasing of leaf-litter thickness, and first increased then decreased with increasing of plant coverage. 【Conclusion】 Reduction of habitat heterogeneity caused by land use change and alternation of rainy and dry seasons can lead to the decrease of ant functional richness but has no significant effect on ant functional evenness and functional divergence. More ant living space will be provided by reducing disturbance to artificial plantation and increasing habitat heterogeneity artificially. This will reduce the competition between different ants, and be helpful to ecosystem function diversity and protection.

Key words: Ants, ant community, functional diversity, artificial plantation, land use change, ecosystem function, season