North Queensland Naturalist 49: 65-77

Abstract

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.