Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR) Ant distribution in Hawaii

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HEAR home > Ants in Hawaii > Ant distribution

Ants occupy most Hawaiian habitat types, from coastal strand (near sea level) to subalpine shrubland over 9300 feet (2850 m). Most ant species in Hawaii are limited to elevations below approximately 2950 feet (900 m).

Ant distribution in Hawaii Site-specific Hawaii ant information Global ant distribution information Ant survey techniques

Ant distribution in Hawaii

Species Location Website
little fire ant
 (Wasmannia auropunctata)
Kauai and the Big Island (Hawaii) Little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) locations in Hawaii

Site-specific Hawaii ant information

Linepithema humile: map of estimated distribution in Haleakala National Park (Maui) (1995-1996)
The distribution of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) in Haleakala National Park (Maui) is mapped as of 1995-1996.

Global ant distribution information

Ant distribution data
Global specimen-based collection information by ant species is available from Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research (New Zealand). (Additionally, New Zealand-specific distribution information is presented.)

Study targets possible climate change effect on ant ranges
"We don't have a handle on the magnitude of climate change or its effects.... We hope that studying ants will help us understand more about answers to these types of questions. We can't manipulate the temperature entire populations of birds or bears are exposed to, but we can do it for ants and the other smaller species. And in the end, most species on earth are insects, so ants may be far more representative of the general response to climate change than are the--relatively speaking--enormous species like rats and birds."

Ant survey techniques

The presence, density, and range of an ant infestation can be determined through various survey techniques. A number of techniques have been developed, including but not limited to:
  • pitfall trapping;
  • non-insecticidal bait stations;
  • timed searching; and
  • searching specific habitats.
Often the technique which is most useful in finding the greatest number of species and their ranges is through simple visual searches of the habitat (Romero and Jaffe, 1989). This involves walking through the habitat and turning over stones and logs, etc. and looking for ants on the soil and leaf litter. The other techniques are more appropriate for determining ant and colony densities, foraging patterns, and other factors. If time and resources allow, then a combination of searching with pitfall trapping and/or placement of bait stations will be more rewarding.

The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR) is currently funded by grants from the Hau'oli Mau Loa Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service with support from PCSU (UH Manoa). Historically, HEAR has also received funding and/or support from the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), PIERC (USGS), the USFWS, HCSU (UH Hilo), and HALE (NPS).

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This page was created on 04 July 2007 by PT & LF, and was last updated on 19 October 2007 by PT. Valid HTML 4.01!