MyrmEcoDex

Introduction

Ants (Formicidae) are a globally dominant group of social insects that are present in nearly all ecosystems other than the polar ice caps and are particularly diverse in the tropics. There are approximately 12,500 species around the world with many more yet to be described. All occupy a multitude of different ecological niches, from cryptic subterranean hunters to metropolis-like fungus growing herbivores to commanding arboreal predators.  

MyrmEcoDex, a work group of BINCO, aims to catalogue ant richness and diversity from habitats across the globe including threatened ecosystems of conservation priority, through the use of standardised field surveys and the study of museum collections. The collected information will contribute to ongoing global mapping projects (e.g. antmaps). Particular interest goes to further optimising the taxonomy of ants, including the description of new species.

MyrmEcoDex is initiated by three ant-enthusiasts; Frederik de Wint, Dominik Oorts and Matthew Hamer. We are always on the look to extend our network and keen to meet people with an interest in ants to join our projects – click the button or contact us at myrmecodex@binco.eu.


Current project: Ants of Cusuco National Park

Cusuco National Park (CNP) – Honduras  

 2018 – now  

 Frederik De Wint, Matt Hamer, Dominik Oorts

 Web article: MyrmEcoDex in CNP

Ants are found in a variety of habitats throughout CNP and diverse collecting methods are needed to gain a good understanding of what species are present. The only thorough study of ant fauna in CNP until now was the LLAMA project in 2010 (Longino et al., 2014). This study provided a valuable baseline looking mostly at ants that dwell in the leaf-litter with Winkler traps. We build on this baseline and use different collecting methods such as bait-trapping together with pitfalls amongst other methods to get a more complete view of what species are present. We also target some of the more difficult-to-access locations in CNP and cover most of the altitudinal range. We hope with this project to assemble an ant species checklist for CNP that can be a base for further monitoring.


Vacancies

  • Several volunteering positions on ant identification – more info (Dutch only)
  • More opportunities can be found on the platform

Collaborators

Wouter Dekoninck – Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS)