North Queensland Naturalist
North Queensland Naturalist 49: 65-77
The ants of Talaroo Station: diversity, composition and habitat associations of a tropical savanna insect assemblage
Donald C. Franklin and Scott C. Morrison
The rich diversity of ants in the tropical savannas of northern Australia has been sampled extensively in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, but rarely in Queensland. We present a survey of the ants of Talaroo Station in the Einasleigh Uplands, north Queensland, Australia, with 24 sites sampled across a range of habitats, and explore the relationship between assemblage composition and habitat. One hundred and thirty-three ant species were recorded representing 24 genera, six sub-families and seven functional groups. Five genera contributed 83% of all records. Two non-native species, while recorded, were uncommon. Assemblage composition was related to land zone, but aligned more strongly with vegetation along a soil gradient that may reflect moisture-holding capacity and fertility. There was a negative spatial relationship between Dominant Dolichoderinae and non-dominant Opportunists. In its generic and functional group composition, the ant fauna of Talaroo is similar to that of other northern Australian savannas. We suggest that: vegetation at local scales reflects subtleties of soil properties that underlying geology does not adequately encapsulate; ants respond to the same edaphic features as vegetation; and vegetation mapping that hierarchically reflects land zone above floristics has limited value for explaining ant community composition.