A Preliminary Survey of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from the Terengganu National Park, Terengganu, Malaysia

Summary by Muhammad Hafiz Sulaiman, Wahizatul Afzan Azmi, Johari Mohd Nor and Chong Ju Lian (contact: julian@umt.edu.my, johari@umt.edu.my)

A preliminary survey of ants was conducted during a scientific expedition of the Environmental Research Group (ERG) under the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu Special Interest Group (SIG) at the Terengganu National Park, Terengganu, Malaysia from 28 to 30 April 2010 and from 14 to 17 October 2010.

The study area focused on mainland areas namely the Tanjong Mentong and Gua Bewah trails. Three different methods for ant collection were employed namely baiting, litter sifting and hand-collecting.

In total, 49 species of ants of 25 genera and 7 subfamilies were collected and identified. The subfamily Formicinae shows the highest number of species collected with 19 species (38.77%) followed by Myrmecinae with 15 species (30.61%) and Ponerinae with 7 species (14.29%), while Aenictinae had the lowest species collected with only a single species (2.04%). Polyrhachis was recorded as the most speciose genera with 10 species (20.41%) followed by Camponotus and Crematogaster of 4 species (8.16%) respectively, Monomorium and Tetraponera with 3 species each (6.12%).

This survey produced the first checklist of ants from the Terengganu National Park. As one of the most abundant and diverse groups of animal in tropical ecosystems with at least 9000 species have been described worldwide, ants play various  functions at many levels in the forest such as detritivores, predators, preys, mutualist, herbivores and others. At the present time, there is not much information regarding ant populations in Peninsular Malaysia although ants are threatened by forest degradation. Hence, information acquired through scientific expeditions such as this one are of significance and crucial to understand the roles of ants in the Kenyir ecosystem.

Key words: Ants, checklist, Formicidae, Terengganu National Park