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Record: oai:ARNO:506146

AuthorNeal A. Weber
TitleAnts from the Leeward Group and some other Caribbean localities
JournalStudies on the Fauna of Curaçao and other Caribbean Islands
AbstractThe smaller islands of the Caribbean Sea support relatively few species of ants. Even in the largest island in the West Indies, Cuba, there were in 1934 only about 90 forms (species, subspecies and „varieties”) known and this number has not been greatly increased since. During the 1930’s there were recorded in the entire West Indies some 450 forms and at the present time the number can hardly much exceed 500. By way of comparison, the most recent enumeration of ants of the United States (1947) shows 742 kinds. The larger proportion of these West Indian ants occur on such islands as Hispaniola which offer varied and stable habitats. The small islands have relatively few species and these are in the large part common tropicopolitan forms which tend to drive out the endemic species. Few endemic species appear to remain in the Lesser Antilles, for example.
Although dr HUMMELINCK told me he was not trying to gather representative material — especially on the islands of Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire, in which collecting has been done in 1930 by dr H. J. MACGILLAVRY and the late dr L. W. J. VERMUNT — the present collection is of particular interest since it was made on many small islands whose ant fauna was hitherto completely unknown. A few records from the adjacent mainland and some other localities are also included (see Table 7). The value of the Caribbean records is enhanced by the fact that ant populations on small islands may tend to vary from time to time or to be replaced by populations of other species, not to speak of the possibility of speciation itself taking place in geographically isolated places. They also record the presence of specific cosmopolitan „vagrants” on specific islands and some of these ants are still spreading.
Document typearticle
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